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When you clean your car, you probably pay more attention to the interior and exterior of the car. However, your car’s engine bay could use some love from time to time. After all, it’s most likely the dirtiest part of the car, aside from the tires. One way to clean an engine bay is to use a steam cleaner to get rid of all of the dirt and grime. But is that really a good idea?

Steam cleaning your car’s engine bay might not be the best way

Man steam cleaning a luxury car on a home visiting valet service.
Man steam cleaning a luxury car on a home visiting valet service. | Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While you can clean your car’s engine bay with a household steam cleaner, it might not be the safest idea. This is due to the fact that a steam cleaner uses highly pressurized hot water to do the cleaning. And while that hot water pressure is great for cleaning up germy messes, like in your bathroom, it can also cause issues with your car’s engine, specifically when it comes to electronic parts and wiring.

Of course, you can still use a steam cleaner on your car’s engine bay in a safe manner by avoiding spraying parts like the battery, alternator, fuse box, and any other electrical components. However, by doing so, you might not get the full cleaning effect that you’re looking for.

If you really want to steam clean your engine, professional help may be necessary

If you decide that steam cleaning your car’s engine bay is the best way to get it clean, but don’t want to run the risk of damaging anything, then you can have it professionally done. Many professional detailers use steam to clean engines, however, they also have the experience and training necessary to ensure it’s done so in a safe manner.

But if you would rather throw caution to the wind and do it yourself, then, by all means, do it. Just don’t say that we didn’t warn you. One steam cleaner option that’s recommended around the Internet is the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty steamer. For a fair price of $139, you can steam clean your engine bay, bathroom, and your household hardwood floors for many years to come. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

There’s a safer way to clean an engine bay

There are plenty of other ways to clean your car’s engine bay without using a steam cleaner. One popular way is to use an engine degreaser, water, a brush, and microfiber towels. Here are the steps to the process according to Best Auto Detailing Tips:

  • Use an effective engine degreaser like Simple Green or Meguiar’s Super Degreaser
  • Apply the degreaser to the engine bay
  • Agitate the heavily soiled areas using a detailing brush
  • Spray the engine off with water hose, not a pressure washer
  • Blow off the excess water with a leaf blower
  • Dry the remaining wet areas and tight spaces with a micro fiber towel

While using a steam cleaner to clean your car’s engine bay does work, there is the possibility of some of the electrical components getting damaged. If you don’t feel safe using a steam cleaner, then have it done professionally or simply use a degreaser and water.


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