How to Steam Clean a Car Engine: Step-by-Step With Videos

Have you ever wondered where all the grease comes from? Or how to remove these grease stains on your engine? Engine cleaning is a very essential part of car maintenance.

Over time, grime and gunk build up on the engine surfaces and form black coatings over the engine.

Fortunately cleaning your engine is pretty simple with a steam cleaner. In this post we’ll show you how to steam clean your car engine so it sparkles like new.

Let’s get started...

Tools For Steam Cleaning Your Car Engine

Maintaining a clean engine is not a matter of just cleanliness; it’s also associated with safety. A clean engine bay allows you to observe any leaks if there are any and prevent combustion that may cause engine fires. It’s all about prolonging the engine's shelf life and maintaining the cars value.

There are different ways to go about cleaning your engine bay. This article is going to address how to steam clean a car engine, giving a complete description of the tools and procedures required to accomplish this task.

Before you begin the process of steam cleaning a car engine, first ensure that you wear the necessary protective clothing; gloves, eye wear in case of chemicals that may fly out, and protective clothing. The tools required for these activity include:

  • Plastic bags

  • Water

  • Engine degreaser

  • Steam cleaner

  • Rag

  • Metallic wax

  • Leaf blower

  • Drip pans

  • Absorbent pads

If that sounds like a lot, consider that you probably have almost everything already laying around the house and garage.

Steps to Clean Your Engine

Below are the step-by-step instructions for cleaning your car's engine. Follow them closely and pay attention to the instructions of your steam cleaner and any chemicals you’re using.

Step 1: Assess Whether Your Engine Needs Cleaning

It’s important that you inspect your engine regularly and you clean it every 3 to 6 months depending on the frequency of car usage. Keeping it clean helps to prevent corrosion and makes it easy to spot hose leaks or seal breaks that should be addressed.

Step 2: Prepare Your Engine

Never clean a hot engine. Always let it to cool down for about two hours to avoid damaging any internal parts or burning yourself. The electrical parts to be covered include the alternator, fuse box, the distribution unit, and any other sensitive components before steaming the engine. Furthermore, because steam is just evaporating water, detach the negative terminal of the battery to avoid electrocution.

Step 3: Ensure There's No Loose Debris

Use the leaf blower to push off all the dust and solid particles that may have found their way into the engine bay. In case of large debris such as huge leaves or sticks on the engine, remove them by hand.

Place the drip pans and absorbent pads under the Engine bay to prevent any chemicals and oily water from finding its way to your driveway. This move helps to conserve the environment and avoid driveway staining.

Step 4: Apply The Degreaser

Using a reliable degreaser such as Chemical Guys CLD-201-16 Signature Series Orange which is rated highly and is very affordable. Spray it on areas around the engine. Go heavy on parts that come into contact with petroleum products, such as the starter and oil pan.

Even though a steam cleaner can remove these stains, it’s an important addition to get a professional finish. The degreaser loosens the gunk which makes it easier for the steam cleaner to finish up the job.

Step 5: Use The Steam Cleaner On Your Engine

You can use a video tutorial to learn your way around a steam cleaner. They're not very expensive and you can find them on Amazon pretty easily.

Start at the top of the engine and remove all the grime from your engine block, radiator top, etc. before working your way down into the engine further.

Step 6: Rinse & Wipe Water Off the Engine

Rinse off the remaining grease and cleaning products and then use the rag wipe off any water you can reach. If you can’t reach certain areas, you can leave it to air dry.

As an added finish, you can apply metallic wax to act as another protective sheath from the elements and create a great finish. Ensure that you reconnect the negative terminal on your battery once it's all dry and you’re good to go!


Steam cleaning an engine is great for keeping your engine looking great and detecting leaks early. It’s a very simple process that’s easy to add to your Saturday morning yard and house work. And if you spring for a decent steam cleaner, you can use it to steam clean all kinds of things around your house (oven, fridge, floor stains, etc.). Here’s a quick recap...

Steps to steam clean your car engine:

  1. Check your engine regularly and determine if it requires a wash.

  2. Cover up all the electronic parts carefully to avoid electrocution.

  3. Ensure that you have the necessary clothes, gloves, and eye wear.

  4. If the engine is hot, give it some time to cool down.

  5. Ensure that you follow instructions while operating the steam cleaner to avoid accidents.

  6. In case of any problems, contact the a professional.