Your engine bay is where the magic happens. Where fuel and air are turned into fire, grunt, and oomph propelling you down the road and to your destination. It’s also one of the most overlooked areas when detailing or cleaning your car.

Underneath your glimmering hood is a festering boil that’s never been excised. Grease, oil, dirt, grime, and all manner of bug carcasses are plastered to the inner fairings and radiator fins. It’s a disgusting mess. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little soap, water, and determination, you can have it clean enough to cook carne asada on. Let’s get that engine looking factory-fresh.

Man power washing cleaning car engine bay

How to Clean an Engine Bay?

Here’s how to clean an engine bay.

  1. Open the car’s hood.
  2. Inspect the engine bay for loose wires or safety concerns.
  3. Spray down any greasy spots with a degreaser.
  4. Using a power washer or hose with spray function, rinse the engine bay.
  5. Keep the power washer on a lower pressure as you don’t want to damage the engine bay. Be careful and avoid any single, small wires as they could become detached.
  6. For any area that doesn’t look factory-new, wipe down with a towel or rag.
  7. Work your way through the rest of the engine bay until it’s spotless.

Cleaning an Engine Bay Basics

Aside from the natural inclination to just spray your engine bay down and be done with it, here are a few more things you’ll need and need to consider to clean your engine bay.


As with anything car related, there are risks. Though washing your engine bay may seem harmless, chemicals can be sprayed into your eyes and loose wires can short due to coming into contact with water. Don’t end up on America’s Funniest Home Videos or in the emergency room. Be cautious and only wash the engine when the engine is no longer hot.



Cleaned engine bay of a BMW

Engine Bay Cleaning FAQs

Q: How Much Does It Cost To Clean an Engine Bay?

A: A lot of the cleaning cost comes down to supplies, but many of those are one-time purchases. To clean your engine bay, you’ll likely spend about $20 if you do it yourself. Professional cleanings will cost more.

Q: Is It Safe To Spray Your Engine With Water?

A: Your engine bay gets wet whenever it rains, so yes, it’s perfectly safe to spray your engine with water.

Q: Can You Pressure Wash an Engine Bay?

A: You can, however, you should pay close attention to the pressure you use as if it’s too high, it could loosen or cut into some of the engine’s hoses and plastic parts. Use your common sense.

Engine Bay Cleaning Tips & Tricks

There are always tips and tricks to learn and CarBible’s editors want to give you all theirs. Here are our tips and tricks for cleaning an engine bay.

  • You can get a power washer attachment for your regular hose from any home improvement store.
  • If you want to cut your time under the hood, clean the engine bay after it’s rained. A hard rain will have worked a lot of the gunk and grease out of the bay.
  • If you don’t have any degreaser, simple car soap lathered on and left for a few minutes will take a lot of the grease out once you rinse the engine bay.