My aluminium cylinder head is caked with oil and carbon. I’m going to be cleaning that along with other steel/iron parts. I’m planning to make a DIY hot tank to boil the parts in but what can put in the water that won’t damage the metal that would also clean effectively? Would Clean Green be fine? What about washing power, easily available, would that damage the metal?

  • Here in the USA, all cleaning of engine parts is done in ovens now, they literally cook off the carbon, then they shot peen or sand blast the parts to bring back the metal luster. Carbon is hard to remove using chemicals, the ones that do an excellent job also attack the aluminum unfortunately. They make carburetor cleaner in a 5 gallon pails, in the past I have bought several of these to fill a cold tank to soak aluminum heads, works well without damaging the aluminum finish but it is expensive these days.
    – Moab
    Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


I tried many normal household products to clean engines and parts...

And for 1 off then petrol, thinners etc may work, but the best solution by far was to take my disassembled engine block, heads, crank etc to the local machine shop and then put it in their washing machine.

The parts come out like new except now you can see the wear marks and scoring etc. Cost was so cheap, but that was probably because I got all my crank grinding and machine work done there. Also, I always gave them plenty of time for my work - never "I need this done in 2 hours..." makes a big price difference :)

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