Engine Steam Cleaner

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Engine Steam Cleaner

Are you even asking the right questions?

The best way (and most fun) to clean and detail a car engine would seem to be with an engine steam cleaner. You have probably seen hundreds of videos in which professionals use a steamer to detail and clean a car engine.

A few years ago, I was lured into getting a steam cleaner by all the hype surrounding these devices. It’s true that they’re pretty cool to have and sure that they can make you feel like a pro, but are they really the best way to clean a car engine, or are you just naturally inclined to think so.

Steam and cleaning car engines seem to go hand-in-hand. Despite this, the more I discover people who have come to wrong conclusions or were misled by this industry when they say they want a steam cleaner for their engine.

Best Engine Steam Cleaner

Let me tell you right now that the best engine steam cleaner does not exist! My professional opinion is that it doesn’t.

There is no doubt that you could find a quality steamer to clean your engine, but it is one of the least efficient ways to do so.

It’s All About the Details

I can clean my house in just 15 minutes with a home pressure washer and a degreaser, but with a steamer, it will take me an entire day.

Honestly! It is true that engines can be cleaned effectively and safely with a machine such as a sander, but this is a very inefficient way to clean the entire engine.

I don’t personally know too many people who simply want to spot clean a small area of their engine. Cleaning and degreasing the entire engine bay and engine is a popular request.

How To Steam Clean A Car Engine:

Steamers are not a good choice for several reasons

I know there is a better way to wash engines, even though you probably thought I would sell you the best engine steam cleaner. I have been cleaning and detailing engines for over 30 years, so I know there is a better way.

To that end, I want to take you through a deep dive into this topic in order to empower you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about your life and car.

How Do You Steam Clean An Engine

The majority of the time, whenever I am asked this question, I know that the person is asking this based on outdated information. They are also asking this question from someone who has probably never used an engine steam cleaner.

There used to be professional services that combined a pressure washer with superheated water to steam clean engines about 30 years ago.

However, those days are gone. To clean and detail car engines, professional detailers like myself typically use a pressure washer and degreaser.

Mechanics used high pressure with high-temperature water for steam cleaning engines in order to avoid using chemicals.

Not only are these types of machines not available for home use, but the businesses that used to perform this type of service are no longer around (I have not seen this being done in over 30 years with one of the industrial steam cleaners)


Steam cleaning a car engine is safe

Definitely. At least in most situations.

There are thousands of different components in car engines and engine bays. Although I might have exaggerated a little bit, you get the point.

The true vapour steamer, such as the modern-day vapour steamers you can buy for home use, uses very small amounts of hot water that is turned into a superheated vapour that cleans the majority of surfaces without the use of traditional cleaning chemicals.


High heat vapour washes and disinfects at the same time since the vapour is hot enough to kill many germs, viruses, and pathogens.

Water getting on a car engine usually causes most people to become instantly paranoid. This is, however, mainly due to a lack of knowledge and experience.

Most modern cars have extremely water-tight engines. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to a layperson, water is completely safe to use to clean a car engine. Simply follow basic common sense. If you want to see the exact process and tools I use professionally, you can view my full tutorial on how to clean a car engine.

When engines were designed, certain areas or components had to be taken extra care of around water, but modern engines are so water-tight that you would be very unlikely to damage them with an engine steam cleaner or pressure washer.

How Does A Steamer Work To Clean A Car Engine

It is clear that engine bays and car engines themselves are extremely intricate areas of any car. It is nearly impossible to thoroughly clean and details a car engine without the use of water and a degreaser, given the endless nuances, surfaces, materials, and components of car engines.

Superheated water is used in vapour steam cleaners in order to quickly and efficiently clean and degreases anything, particularly a car engine. Vapour steamers use very little water, and their tips are very small, so they are inefficient for cleaning an engine consisting of many surfaces, tight spaces, and crevices.

Steamers take a lot longer to clean than pressure washers and some effective engine degreasers which you can use in a few minutes.

Steam cleaner for engines:

A better way to achieve your goals

The point where you realize steam cleaning a car engine is not practical is when you realize the time involved is purely a waste. With the right equipment and products, you can clean a car engine in a fraction of the time.

This process can be accomplished with just basic brushes, a degreaser, and a garden hose as described on numerous pages. See car engine cleaning for more information.

See what I recommend as being the best electric pressure washer if you’re interested in enhancing your car engine cleaning capabilities and having a handy piece of equipment that you can use around the house for other cleaning duties.

Your detailing efforts will be a great success!