Cleaning your car’s engine bay may seem like a delicate and daunting process. Splash and Go Car Wash is here to walk you through how to clean your engine bay. Cleaning your engine bay will help remove thousands of miles’ worth of dirt, dust, and grime, make your car’s engine bay look like new, and increase the resale value of the vehicle. Cleaning your car’s engine bay at home isn’t difficult with a little planning, thought, and effort on your part. Cleaning the engine bay of your vehicle brings numerous benefits. 

Benefits of Cleaning Your Car Engine Bay

Most car owners don’t know the importance of periodically cleaning the engine bay of their vehicle. They never see the engine bay at all. Hence, it hides loads of dirt, dust, and grime for long periods of time. Important engine components degrade over time with the accumulation of dust and grime. Cleaning the bay will ensure that grease and dust don’t accumulate within the important engine components of the vehicle. 

On the other hand, dirt and grime collected in the bay can lead to engine malfunction over time. You can easily spot any leaks and corrosion when there are not loads of dirt and grime hiding in the bay. Because of these reasons, learning how to clean your engine bay regularly will keep your vehicle looking new for many years to come. This article provides information on how you clean the car’s engine bay in the comfort of your own home.

How to Clean Your Car Engine Bay – Materials Needed and Step-by-Step Process

Materials To Use

First, you need to collect the materials required to clean the engine bay at home. Here are some of the materials required for the job:

  • Engine degreaser
  • Bucket
  • Water hose
  • Drip pan
  • Plastic shrinkwraps or plastic bags
  • Car wash mitt
  • Absorbent pads & wash brush
  • Car wash soap
  • Plastic cleaner
  • Metal cleaner
  • Metal polish
  • Microfiber cloth towels
materials needed to clean car engine bay

The Step-By-Step Process


The first step is to prepare and protect important engine components from water by covering them with plastic shrink wrap or plastic bags. Cover the battery, alternator, distributor, and carburetor with protective materials. The parts you need to cover may depend on the type of car you have – whether a classic model or a modern car. If you have a modern car, you should not spray too much water around the fuse box & coil packs. 

Initial Hose-Down

The next step is to give the car’s engine bay an initial hose-down. This should be done once the engine is cool. If the engine is hot, make sure to leave the hood up for at least an hour before you start the process. This step helps get rid of dirt and grime in the engine bay. You may put down some absorbent pads and drip pans to prevent the chemicals that you use from getting everywhere in the garage or garden.

Adding the Degreaser

The next step is to add the degreaser. It helps cut through the oil in the engine bay. Apply the degreaser on the oiliest parts of the engine such as the starter and oil pan. Let the degreaser sit there for several minutes so that it acts on the grease. Use a soft-bristled wash brush to clean the parts. Rinse the degreaser using low water pressure. If the engine bay hasn’t been cleaned for many years, you may have to repeat the degreasing and rinsing process a couple of times.

cleaning the car engine bay step-by-step

Cleaning the Bay

Now, fill the bucket with soapy water and clean the bay with automotive soap. Use the car wash mitt to get everything cleaned properly. By now, the degreaser should have removed the worst of the oil in the engine bay. Use low water pressure and rinse the bay once again. Now, you can remove the plastic shrink wrap or plastic bags from the engine components because you won’t be rinsing it with water anymore.

Polishing the Bay

Use a plastic cleaner to polish the plastic parts inside the bay. Use the microfiber cloth for cleaning these parts. Use metal polish to polish the metal parts of the engine bay. Read the instructions on the label of the product and follow the directions when cleaning the bay.

Final Step on How to Clean Your Engine Bay

The next step is to dry out the engine bay. You may use a blower to dry out the extra water in the bay. To dry out the remaining water from the engine bay, start the engine or turn on the AC of the car. Once the engine has cooled down, you can apply an engine dressing to make it look really nice. It will add shine to the engine parts and make the engine bay look as good as new. 

How Often Should You Clean The Engine Bay Of Your Vehicle?

It depends on many factors such as the weather in your area, where you live, how often you drive, and more. If your area has low snowfall and low dust levels, cleaning the engine bay once or twice a year would do. But, if you live in harsh weather conditions, you should consider cleaning the engine bay every two to three months depending on how much dust, grime, and dirt have accumulated in the bay.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Cleaning The Engine Bay

  • Don’t be quick to take things apart when it comes to cleaning the engine bay of your car.
  • Do take a “before” picture to know where the hoses in the engine were attached. 
  • Don’t use too much engine cleaner because it can cause corrosion in engine parts over time.
  • Do use chemicals that are appropriate for the job.
  • Don’t use too much pressure when washing the engine bay.
  • Do use the garden hose for the job. If the garden hose doesn’t do the job, use low water pressure to rinse the engine.
tips for cleaning the car engine bay

Last Thoughts on How to Clean Your Engine Bay

Cleaning a car’s engine bay may seem a daunting task for many car owners. But with the right planning and effort, it can be done at home. Cleaning the engine bay will improve the resale value and appearance of your car. Additionally, It will prolong the lifespan of some of the important engine components. Clean the bay at least once or twice a year depending on the condition of your engine bay. We hope the above tips will help ease your mind on learning how to clean your engine bay right at home. Splash and Go Car Wash is here to help you keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.