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Can I use oven cleaner (composition: 5-15% aliphatic compounds, 2-aminoethanol, butane and propane...) to clean the carbon off the cylinders and pistons of my BMW R80GS 1991 Motorbike (without damaging it)? I believe they are Nikasil coated, the rest aluminium?

Also, what other household utensils can be used? Brass brush too hard? Toothbrush, steel wool?

  • In most oven cleaner, the main active ingredient is sodium hydroxide. Are you sure yours doesn't contain that? Sodium hydroxide is quite caustic and I'd worry about its effect on your metal parts. – Nate Eldredge Jun 2 '16 at 21:51
  • It doesn't say it on the tin that's why I was asking about the other ingridients... :S Don't know. – Max Jun 3 '16 at 4:41
  • For not much more than the price of oven cleaner, you can purchase the correct chemicals and tools for the job. – PeteCon Jun 3 '16 at 17:53
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Why chance it when some carb cleaner will do the trick for you. It should take carbon off of the piston without any worry of damage to the piston. Use an old, broken piston ring to clean out the ring lands.

  • Interesting, why don't people just pull their spark plugs and spray carb cleaner directly onto the piston heads to clean them? Or do people actually do that? – Robert S. Barnes Oct 7 '18 at 8:56
  • @RobertS.Barnes - Sort of, it's called SeaFoam :o) – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 7 '18 at 12:21
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Dude spend the extra 3 bucks and buy a proper engine cleaner. Spraying sodium hydroxide on aluminum is a bad idea.

I would use a nylon brush drill bit to clean off carbon.

Although it's technically not an automotive product, I use CLP to clean gunk and carbon off automotive parts. It's great stuff IMO.

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