An In-Depth Look at Automotive Cleaners, Degreasers, and Solvents

Automotive Cleaners

Auto repair techs face many types of cleaning situations, from mildly dirty gear to equipment coated with grease. Additionally, there are different levels of acceptable cleanliness for surfaces. For example, an exhaust component might be fine with a light coat of oil, whereas the same contamination will cause paint failure on a metal body panel. As a result, most shops carry three classes of cleaning products: cleaners, degreasers, and solvents.

All-Purpose Automotive Cleaners

Some cleaning tasks are pretty basic. They don’t need the tough cleaning power of harsh chemicals, but you also need a little more strength than a standard household cleaner might provide. This is when you can reach for all-purpose cleaners, which are available as sprays, wipes, and tablets.

When to Use Cleaners

General-purpose cleaners are an excellent tool when you need light cleaning of surfaces. In addition, they can help with detailing applications on many interior components.

  • Components that are dirty, but not greasy
  • Shop surfaces, some tools, and equipment
  • Removing adhesive or other everyday contaminants
  • Removing glue from windows or other surfaces
  • Wiping your hands after completing a repair

Heavy-Duty Degreasers

Degreasers (sometimes called mechanical solvents) are designed to remove tough grease, dirt, and grime from various surfaces. Thanks to ingredients that break down grease particles, they work well on their own without a lot of extra scrubbing or abrasive action.

When to Use Degreasers

Degreasers are perfect for more demanding jobs around the shop. Products labeled as brake, engine, or carb cleaner are often degreasers designed for a precise type of application. It’s generally a good practice to reach for a degreaser in any of the following situations:

  • When you need quick removal of grease without excessive scrubbing
  • To remove old anti-seize on fasteners before applying a new coat
  • To clean pneumatic and hydraulic tools and assemblies
  • For removing surface grease on prepped material (such as washing fingerprints on a panel before reapplying paint)
  • Removing old gaskets and their residue before reapplying a new one

Automotive Solvents

Solvents are some of the toughest cleaners available in an automotive shop. These use chemical action to break down contaminants and leave a clean surface. The use, storage, and disposal of solvents are highly regulated, so be sure to follow label instructions and established safe handling procedures if you need to use them.

When to Use Solvents

Solvents can be used to prepare metal surfaces for additional work, such as painting new body panels or damaged ones that received bodywork. When faced with one of these tough cleaning jobs, solvents are going to be your best approach to get the job done:

  • Removing tar from finished surfaces
  • Prepping body panels for paint
  • Removing accidental overspray

Shop Rogo Fastener for All of Your Automotive Cleaning Needs

ROGO Fastener is a leading supplier of professional-grade supplies for automotive repair shops. They have been serving the industry for over 30 years, bringing quality products at reasonable prices. No matter what type of automotive cleaner you need, ROGO Fastener has it.

Shop their online store to find a great selection of cleaners, degreasers, and solvents for every possible auto shop application.


Safely Using Solvents in Auto Repair Shops