Oven Cleaner is an effective car parts cleaner but here are some potential dangers and safety tips you should know before attempting to clean parts with it.

So you’ve thought to yourself if Easy-Off Oven Cleaner can clean an oven surely it can clean car parts. You’ve probably even heard from your friends that they’ve gotten great results from using the stuff under your sink. And it’s true and they’re right but since Oven Cleaner was designed for ovens and not for car parts, here are a few things you should know.

Do not use on aluminum parts

Read the directions on a can of Easy-Off Oven Cleaner and you’ll see that their products should not be used on aluminum. Period.

The active ingredient in Oven Cleaner is sodium hydroxide more commonly known as caustic soda.

According to an actual chemist when the question was asked on Grassroots Motorsports, 

…The non-wuss version is all essentially lye based – pH above 11.5, will eat aluminum and paint with time, dissolves eyeballs at an ALARMING rate and skin somewhat slower (fun fact, it’s turning your subcutaneous fat into SOAP! YAY!) So wear heavy gloves and eye protection, and a respirator in enclosed spaces. For the love of all that’s holy, DON’T BREATH THE SPRAY ITSELF!

Do not use on painted surfaces

Do not use Oven Cleaner on any engine parts that have paint on them. As mentioned by that chemist above, the strong alkaline nature of Oven Cleaner will strip the living heck out of any paint, even if you put the stuff on for a couple of minutes.

Consider the experience this Chevelle owner had when he sprayed Oven Cleaner on the engine bay of his Chevelle.

I sprayed it on the engine & before I could go get the water hose to rinse it off, the foam was starting to turn orange, I finally got it rinsed off, less than 5 minutes total time, it removed the paint from the top of the engine, intake, valve covers. this was on a factory motor that was about 10 years old at the time.

But, if the part you’re cleaning has paint and you don’t mind it being stripped to bare metal, by all means, go ahead and use Oven Cleaner.

What kind of results can I expect

If the part your using it on is not aluminum, does not have paint (or you don’t mind getting paint stripped) and you’re 100 percent sure oven cleaner will not react with the metal, the results speak for themselves. Check out how clean this guy’s transmission got thanks to Oven Cleaner.

Here’s the before and after pictures.

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According to this transmission owner, there was 30 years of grease, oil, and caked on diesel covering this transmission. The oven cleaner was left on for six hours.

What if I have $3, some time on my hand, and don’t want to risk damaging my engine parts with oven cleaner?

If you’re considering using oven cleaner, chances are Wal Mart is closed and you’re pressed for time. But, if you do have a bit of time and $3 (Yes, $3), just buy the tried and true Gunk Engine Degreaser or any number of engine degreasers specifically made to clean car parts.

According to the Safety Data Sheet on these degreasers, the active ingredient is Petroleum Distillate Aliphatic. This stuff is safe to use on almost all car parts and their related surfaces including aluminum and painted finishes. That’s why they call it “Engine degreaser!”

And, the last time I checked on, a can of the stuff only costs $2.97 before tax.

So, if you’re in a pinch, go ahead and use Oven Cleaner. If you’ve got some change in your sock drawer and want to be safe, just use proper engine degreaser.


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