by Chris Lewis.
When people ask 'Which degreaser should I use?', I usually end up staring at them for a few seconds, waiting to hear why they need it. You see, degreasers are a mighty thing, but it's really important you first know what you want to do with them.
They are versatile, yes, you can do so much with them, from cleaning to lubricating, but their versatility has its limits - some are too strong, or too weak for example. Know your degreasers before you use them.
The formulas we've got these days are awesome, but not every formula works on every material.
It's always better to read the specifications yourself if you don't know whether the stuff will lube your brass hinges, but I've decided to make you a starter list of the best degreasers I or the people I trust have in our garages and sheds.
|Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter Metal Primer |
|4.5 / 5.0|
|Spray Nine 22701 Grez-Off |
|4.8 / 5.0|
|Simple Green 19128 Crystal Industrial Cleaner/Degreaser |
|4.5 / 5.0|
Now, this here is a rust converter and metal primer, not your standard degreaser, but it might be a better option than your standard degreaser if you want to remove the rust and protect the material from further rusting.
Rust converter turns rusted surface into magnetite, which can't rust, and the surface will get black from the protective layer.
It also serves as a primer, which means you can paint the stuff after you're done with the rust converter. This makes it great for all kinds of marine, automotive, and household applications, and even beyond that.
To make sure the rust doesn't come back, prepare the surface well - metal brush, sandpaper for removing loose rust, but also a needle-gun or a chipping hammer if you need to remove layered rust (not doing this usually ends in failure).
Clean it well, but don't use an oil cleaner here, double rinse. After it dries, and give it time, it's really good you paint the surface since this will make an additional layer of protection.
This little baby will make all your grease nightmares with a swipe of a cloth! Well, it really depends how greasy the stuff is, but you get the picture. It's one of the best true water-soluble solvents degreasers out there.
You can use it in the kitchen, outside, in and for your garage, heavy equipment, light equipment, you name it. It's good for removing heavy dirt and heavy car grease and grime, it's used for heavy machinery and farming equipment.
You need your clams degreased - it's good. You wanna remove the grime off your tractor - it'll eat it. Motorcycles? No problem. Boats? Yeah. Off-road or all-terrain? Yes.
You can use it to degrease kitchen tiles, it doesn't smell bad, and I've known people used it on microwaves - washed them well after, needless to say. For heavy stove-top grease you might use it twice.
It doesn't need mixing with anything, and can be used straight from the tank. Just pay attention how long it works on the surface - 20 minutes tops, don't let it dry on there. Rinsing it with water is easy, just do it well. One way to degrease your bike-chain and your Rover.
This best degreaser for heavy equipment has no color, no smell, and it's highly rinsable, and strong. You can use it for built up grime, grease, oil, dirt, and fat.
It's perfect for kitchens, it's even used in the food industry (passes all standards). I have a friend that bought a restaurant a few years back, a small joint he wanted to turn into a waffle house.
He didn't need most of the stuff he got with the place, so he wanted to sell those by-piece on E-bay. But man, the stuff was dirty - stoves, ovens, cooling appliances, walls and floors.
He managed to wash it all off with Simple Green, and sold everything within months, and some things were so dirty he needed to wash them twice (of course you have to, when they left it unattended for so long).
The best thing about it - no smell. The place was like a hospital. But don't let this story narrow your expectations - it can be used for bike chains, floors, concrete, even for clothes (but I'd watch out for the colorful).
It's greasy, you can probably put it on, except for the more gentle materials I guess, like silk or those synthetic clothes. You get the picture.
First of all - it's orange. I like orange. The color comes from these citric solvents and stuff that will remove your grease and dirt, caked-on mud... It's good for metals, like aluminum, stainless steel, chrome, but it can also be used for shops, tires (works wonders), and of course vehicles, especially from below.
This stuff is strong, comes highly concentrated, so needless to say you have to follow the instructions. Works very fast, in less than a minute for most cases, and it cleans really good.
It has an appealing packaging as well, really good design, so I always feel bad-ass and modern when I use it. It's something anyone should have in their shop.
You apply it by spraying it, and rinsing it well. And the fact it's concentrated just raises the versatility of the stuff - big dirty: Orange strong; small dirty: orange meets water and dirty zero in both cases.
Remember, this one is not really a toy, so don't use it outside metal, tires, ceramic tiles (you can use it for bathrooms), and similar stuff. Plastic, leather, plasti dip, and so on won't be undamaged.
This is basically the same formula, but in a spray bottle. Why mention this one, you ask? Well, not everyone likes to buy it big.
Some people live in apartments, remember? Some people don't need to use this kind of stuff more than a few times a year. And Orange is super-concentrated. On the other hand, you can use it in your car.
What if you were just off your camping trip in Colorado and your significant other tells you their parents made a surprise visit? You can keep it diluted and at hand for any urgent situation, conveniently ready to be sprayed on any bugger that's on your way to that great football match with your father in law.
Needless to say, it's great for camping trips or any kind of getaway, it can be used on old grill bars, but remember to rinse it and then fry it well before you put that Angus to sizzle.
Again in smaller spaces like apartments it's compact, and even though you need to dilute this one too you'll always have a spray head particularly for Orange, so it doesn't spoil or bite on anything else (a window-wash formula for example).
POR-15 40101 Cleaner and degreaser is a potent water-based formula that can be diluted up to 10 to 1 in some cases, usually 3 or 4 to 1. It cleans lots of stuff - metal and ceramics (porcelain sinks for example) but also canvas, vinyl, rubber and nylon.
It was formerly known as marine clean, so it's good for removing the bad stuff from all things marine - it removes algae, mildew, and stuff like soap films and wax, apart from all the grease and oil you need to be cleaned.
It's quite odorless and it can also remove certain types of musty and damp smells. Its rinsability is very high so it can be used on metal as a paint prep, it leaves no residue.
It has so many applications. Since it smells not bad or anything, you can even use it in closed areas and systems, air conditioning for example.
However, be mindful of the materials you use it on. This stuff is not good for anything, and not anything that looks like steel is just plain steel. For example, I made a mistake and used a wrong degreaser on a nickel-alloy table and it left stains.
Back to Spray Nine and another very good product in their inventory. Marine Cleaner is not only what its name tells you - there is an untold story of it turning the tides for the grease and debris AND GERMS in places far from the coasts and boats.
This thing, among its many uses, is also a disinfectant. This so much broadens its use, having in mind it can be used on carpets, vinyl, fiberglass, and other hard surfaces.
Its formula kills many viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungus, as well as removing their odors. All this is the reason why Spray Nine Marine Cleaner was great for all things maritime. Great? Make it perfect.
You went fishing in the open sea? Splash that bait bucket with this and you won't smell a thing. You wanna prepare your rig for a new spring run after a winter break?
This will remove all the nasty stuff that occupied your baby during that time. This is not only for ships and boats, mind you. Use it on jet skis, life jackets and such on and off shore.
But, don't let the name of the product fool you - use it for car trailers, swimming pools, garage floors, work benches, sheds… you can even freshen up tents and other camping equipment. Stuff like dog-houses and similar things which need to be disinfected can also be done by Marine Cleaner actually, with the right amount of rinse.
Yes, the time has come, ladies and gentlemen, for WD40. In my hometown, there are more jokes and puns and cool stories about this baby than knock-knocks and walk-into-a-bars. And for a good reason. When I was a kid, growing up with a dad that worked in a car shop, I used to help my dad around. The smell of WD40 is the smell of work, for me. I love it.
WD40 brings its products near perfection. The Specialist is a professional product that does the job so well it's ridiculous.
First of all, its formula is non-invasive, so you can use it on copper and other alloys on which you couldn't use the stronger stuff. It reaches to all kinds of places, lubing and cleaning the unreachable surfaces between hinges and other friction components.
I don't know how they made it, but this works both ways in terms of benefits to the surface - it can clean the toughest of grease and grime, and it'll keep the surface safe. Pour it all you want on iron, it won't rust.
On the contrary, it will provide a protective layer, which should be re-added from time to time. It does remove rust, as well.
The list of materials that can be applied goes on and on - apart from all the above-mentioned, it can go on aluminum, glass, plastic, leather, paint. It's so gentle, yet so powerful. WD40, I love you.
For heavy equipment, it all comes down to two things:
1. What kind of stuff catches on your machine?
2. What kind of material will you be treating?
Here we have some simple answers, and some more complicated answers. The simple answer goes to the toughest grime and oil you can imagine built on the best stainless steel engine - use almost anything to your heart's desire, the stronger the better (mind the diluting instructions).
Now, the problems arrive when we get the compound materials, alloys and other stuff that some of the degreasers would definitely ruin. In that case a trade-off for strength is sometimes necessary.
This only means you'll have to go over the surface a few times until the last piece of grease and grind is removed, but this way you'll save yourself a headache for damaging the delicate surfaces. So, the tougher the built on stuff, the tougher the degreaser. The tougher the material, the tougher the degreaser, and vice versa.
The other thing you might consider is usability - it would be a waste if the product lays in your garage for years. Consider other applications for your product if the cleaning you do on your machinery is not that frequent.
It depends on the product, its concentration and the toughness of the dirt. Read the instructions carefully, dilute it accordingly if necessary, and don't keep it for too long, it can make it worse. Take a few tries to get it right.
Of course, but mind you, the chain might lose all its lubrication after the cleaning, so lubing it again might be necessary.
Sometimes, if the surface was not mentioned on a label, like linen, you won't know. If you have an old piece of the material you don't need, try putting some of the stuff on it, and see the results.
Keep it in the original packaging, bottles, cans, whatever, and close them well. Keep away from heat and direct sunlight, and it should be good.
WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser, 1 Gallon - Walmart Link
Simple Green 19128 Crystal Industrial Cleaner/Degreaser, 1 Gallon Bottle - Walmart Link
CC Concrete Coatings EZ-Clean - Concrete Acid Stain Neutralizer, Degreaser, Light - Walmart Link
Spray Nine 26901S Marine Cleaner - 1 Gallon - Walmart Link
WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser, 1 Gallon - eBay Link
Simple Green 19128 Crystal Industrial Cleaner/Degreaser, 1 Gallon Bottle - eBay Link
CC Concrete Coatings EZ-Clean - Concrete Acid Stain Neutralizer, Degreaser, Light - eBay Link
Spray Nine 26901S Marine Cleaner - 1 Gallon - eBay Link
Starting with a good degreaser won't be easy for beginners, but I hope this guide does you the job. Whether you're starting a new farming venture, setting sales, making a restaurant or a waffle joint (invite me over if you do!), it's good to know what to do and what to use when things get nasty.
On the final notes, I always recommend you regularly clean and maintain your equipment, and not wait for the things to go south for too long. Stay safe, and happy… whatever you're doing, man degreasers are versatile!
About Chris Lewis.