In this article, you will learn:
Degreasers can be a helpful tool for cleaning your car. Chemically formulated to break up the toughest oils and grease, they deliver heavy-duty performance for hard-to-clean areas. Think car engines and engine bays and, in some extreme cases, exceptionally dirty wheels. Beyond these spots, you likely won’t need a product that’s as aggressive as a degreaser. And, in fact, using a degreaser on the wrong surfaces can create more work for you than it saves. For example, some cleaner degreasers leave stubborn residues on surfaces such as upholstery. Use a degreaser on your driver’s seat and you might find yourself using one cleaning product to clean up the mess and another cleaning product to clean up the first cleaning product. That’s hardly a time saver.
As we do with most car care products, we recommend starting with the least aggressive option first and progressing to other, stronger formulas only if the gentler ones don’t work effectively. Do this and you’ll rarely need products that are as aggressive as engine degreasers.
Degreaser or not, if you’re cleaning, we can assume you’d like to see a sparkling finish when you’re done. Check the labels of any cleaning products you’re about to use, especially degreasers, to make sure they promise residue-free cleaning. Many can leave a white haze on semi-porous surfaces like rubber and plastic. Or, to make your choice simple, just reach for M.A.X Power Car Wash. Mixed with water at its highest concentration, it breaks up the toughest, oiliest, greasiest messes and rinses away cleanly.
Degreasers aren’t necessarily unsafe for the paint on your car, but they will strip the wax from its finish, leaving the clear coat and paint unprotected from harsh, environmental elements. This makes degreasers ideal if you plan to strip any old, remaining wax from your car before laying down a new protective barrier. But, if your goal is simply to remove a greasy stain from your paint, it’s smart to re-wax any area where you apply degreaser or choose a less aggressive car wash product, like M.A.X. Power Car Wash mixed at its lowest concentration.
Also, if allowed to dry on painted surfaces, some degreasers will dull your car’s finish. If you use a degreaser to spot-clean your car or strip the wax, choose an overcast day and be sure to rinse the surface clean before any degreaser product dries.
A clean engine is one thing, but, outside the engine compartment, you can clean almost any greasy mess with something milder than a full-power degreaser. The easiest way to choose a product is to consider the surface that needs cleaning more than the mess itself. If you have grease or oil embedded in your carpet, use an automotive carpet cleaner. If the stain is on your upholstery, pick an automotive upholstery cleaner. If it’s on your steering wheel, use an automotive interior cleaner. Each of these should be formulated to break up oily, greasy stains in a form factor that works best for the material or surface you’re cleaning.
As with all cleaning jobs, acting fast is the best first step to getting rid of an oily, greasy mess. If you make a mess inside your car with something like oily fast food, take action fast. Even if you don’t have any cleaning solution with you, you can still make cleaning easier later on. Pull over if you’re driving, or, when you arrive at your destination, remove and throw away any oily solids inside your car. Use a cloth, towel or even a napkin to blot up the oil before it has a chance to set in. Then, when you get home, use an appropriate cleaning product for the soiled surface.
If the mess is from thick, mechanical grease, use a dull edge like the back edge of a plastic knife to scrape away as much grease as possible from the surface. Then, follow the instructions for the cleaning product you’ve selected. Again, if the stain is on the seat, use an upholstery cleaner. If it’s in the carpet, use an auto carpet cleaner. You many need to allow the cleaning solution to dwell momentarily as it breaks down the grease.
With a cotton or a paper towel, blot the area to absorb any oily residue. Using a soft scrubber brush or microfiber cloth, work a liberal amount of automotive carpet, upholstery or multi-purpose cleaner into the stain. Blot firmly and wipe the area back and forth with a clean, dry cotton cloth to remove the cleaning solution and oils. Repeat these steps 2 or 3 times if necessary until you’ve removed all oil from the material.
Once the stain is gone, spray the entire upholstery panel or carpeted area lightly. Scrub, blot and wipe again. This will ensure a consistently clean finish, not just an isolated clean spot. Rinse the dry towel with water, wring it out and blot and wipe the entire area clean. Lastly, dry the entire area with a folded cotton towel.
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