How to Clean Car Engine Without Water – 7 Easy and Safe Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton


Cleaning a car’s engine is a must to keep it running in good condition. But people may question, “Won’t water damage the engine’s components?” While there is a possibility of water damage when the cleaning is not practiced carefully, there’s a much safer option: cleaning with a waterless engine cleaner.

That brings us to another question: “How to clean car engine without water?” In a nutshell, it requires

  • Cooling the engine down
  • Removing loose dirt and debris
  • Protecting delicate components with plastic bags
  • Applying an engine degreaser
  • Scrubbing the grease and dirt off
  • Wiping the engine dry and adding protectant

Without further ado, let’s dig into the details.


What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

how to clean engine bay without water

  • Cleaning engine bay without water is an easy process that requires only a few things. They are listed below:
  • Plastic Bags – Water may not be used in the process, but you’re still using a liquid formula, so you must still be careful not to damage any delicate component in the engine. So you will need plastic bags to cover those delicate components.
  • Engine Degreaser – An engine degreaser can allow you to clean your car’s engine without water. So using it lessens the risk of damaging some of your car’s engine components due to moisture.
  • Degreasing and Cleaning Wipes (Optional) – An alternative to an engine degreaser is degreasing and cleaning wipes. They can allow you to clean your engine – no water no scrubbing involved. With them, all you need to do is wipe the engine.
  • Brush – Along with the engine degreaser, a brush would help to remove grease and dirt from your car’s engine. You can also use this to initially get rid of loose dirt and debris before cleaning with the engine degreaser or degreasing and cleaning wipes.
  • Microfiber Cloths – Microfiber cloths are very absorbent and can be used to dry your car’s engine thoroughly.

Step by Step Instructions


It’s great that engine degreasers and degreasing and cleaning wipes allow car owners to clean their car’s engine without risking damaging some of the engine’s components. Apart from that, they also prevent engine runoff, which has harmful effects on our environment that result from cleaning the engine with water. Know how these miracle workers are used in the process of waterless engine cleaning below:

Step 1: Wait for Your Car’s Engine to Cool Down

Especially when you have just been driving prior to cleaning your car’s engine, you must let it cool down first. You wouldn’t want to get blisters on your hands from a hot engine. A hot engine would also quickly dry out the engine degreaser, not giving it enough time to take effect on the engine’s surfaces.

Step 2: Remove Any Loose Dirt and Debris Found on the Engine

Over time, dirt and debris like leaves, sticks, pebbles, and bugs can accumulate in the engine. You need to remove them before working the degreaser onto the engine. You can get rid of them by using the brush.

Step 3: Protect Delicate Components With a Plastic Bag

It’s always good to take precautions, especially when you’re cleaning an area with delicate components. Even if you’re going to clean car engine bay without water, you should still try to be cautious and protect the delicate parts in your car’s engine from being damaged by moisture.

There’ll still be moisture from the formula, so you must cover delicate components such as the exposed electrical components and air intake with plastic bags.

Step 4: Apply Engine Degreaser on the Engine and Scrub off the Grease

Once the engine has been protected in the necessary parts, spray the degreaser on the engine, making sure to cover every surface.

Then let the formula sit on the engine for at least a minute to allow it to take effect on the grease and dirt on the engine. After the degreaser takes care of the grease and dirt, it’s time for you to scrub them away from the engine.

Or you may also use the degreasing and cleaning wipes to clean off the grease and dirt from your car’s engine instead of applying a degreaser and scrubbing on your car’s engine. Just use them to wipe the surfaces of the engine clean.

Step 5: Wipe the Engine Dry

With some microfiber cloths, wipe the engine dry, ensuring every part is wiped, and no moisture is left behind. Also, check every section and especially under hoses, for any leftover degreaser. You can also use an air compressor for drying, especially in areas that are hard to reach.

Step 6: Apply a Protectant on the Engine

If you want more than just a clean engine and want to add some shine and a layer of protection to the engine’s plastics and rubbers, you can apply an engine protectant on them. Although engine protectants usually come in a spray bottle, you must not spray protectant directly on the engine to prevent accidental over splatter. Instead, you should apply it with a microfiber towel.

Step 7: Uncover the Delicate Components and Start the Engine

When the engine is finally clean, uncover the components you have covered. Then start the engine to see if it is properly running. This would also help dry out more moisture to get the engine to completely dry.


Knowing how to clean car engine without water can come with a lot of benefits. With the method, you’ll be able to get a smoother, safer ride while having a low risk of damage and lessening pollution in the environment. On top of that, it’s easy to do with only a few simple steps. But remember to do it with caution since you’re dealing with delicate parts.

I hope you like this tutorial on how to clean engine bay without water. If you do, share with us your successful task in the comments, and feel free to share this article as well.

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