The Engine Steam Cleaning Process

Those with older cars that are prone to oil leaks, as well as those who frequently drive on gravel or dirt roads, may want to consider an engine steam cleaning. This process uses high powered steam cleaning equipment to thoroughly wash away dirt, oil and debris that piles up in and around your car's engine. The process can be performed at home, but it is often advisable to hire a professional to do the cleaning to make sure it is done safely and properly.

Products Needed for DIY Cleaning

Those who have experience working on cars and who feel confident enough can embark on the engine steam cleaning process themselves. Before beginning, however, it is necessary to invest in the right materials and products. For instance, individuals doing the cleaning will need to wear protective clothing, goggles and gloves. For the actual cleaning work itself, workers will need rags, a baking soda and water solution for cleaning the batter, a brush and blower, a water-based degreasing product and an actual steam cleaner for the main portion of the cleaning process.

The Preparation

Those embarking on the do-it-yourself steam cleaning method should follow the same preparation steps as any professional would. Before cleaning, make sure the engine is completely cool. If it is not, cleaners risk injuring themselves or damaging the engine itself. Then, be sure that all nearby electrical outlets or materials are completely covered in a waterproof material; do the same for any cables and fuses under the hood of the car that should not get wet. Most automotive service workers recommend tin foil as a viable material for these purposes.

The Cleaning Process

Professional auto body shops should adhere to the following steps when cleaning an engine, as should anyone trying it on their own. First, a brush is used to remove dirt. Then, the steam cleaning equipment is used for high-powered cleaning; this should get rid of almost all dirt and oil. Immediately thereafter, the degreaser is applied to remove any remaining oil and grease. Finally, the steam cleaning equipment is used once more to remove the degreasing agent.

Environmental Awareness

Whether drivers intend to steam clean their own engines or take them into an auto body shop to be professionally cleaned, it is important to be aware of the environmental repercussions of the steam cleaning process. Those embarking on a DIY cleaning will need to find a place where they can legally dispose of the oil and water solution that will be left over after the cleaning. When taking a car to a shop for a steam cleaning, ask the owner where they dispose of their waste water. It is illegal to simply dump it down a drain or gutter, so avoid those places where workers cannot or will not reveal their disposal method.

Generally, it is advisable to have an engine steam cleaning done by a professional. Unless drivers already own steam cleaning equipment, doing this at home will not necessarily save money, nor will it save time. However, those who simply enjoy working on their cars can complete this process by following the above steps, so long as they have patience and access to a fairly large area where they can perform the inevitably messy job.