What are products that can be used, and which ones should be avoided, for cleaning the spark plug well and seat?

eg. brake cleaner, carb cleaner, throttle body cleaner, etc

Intention is to clean oily residues:

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1 Answer 1


You can use carb cleaner, brake cleaner, acetone, or possibly IPA (isopropyl alcohol). All of the should work peachy for cleaning your oil residue without causing issues for your engine.

  • Great! I read some concerns about brake cleaner removing lubrication from the cylinder walls as it will likely flow in there. Also that if chlorinated brake cleaner is used it will create toxic fumes when combusted. Are these real concerns? And then there are those who say carb cleaner leaves an oily film and is harsher than brake cleaner on rubber, though I don't see how that is a concern in the engine. There are so many internet rumors and opinions whose veracity and significance are difficult to parse without experience and technical reasons.
    – adatum
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 23:35
  • 1
    Carb cleaner can be hard on paint (IIRC). You should only be using any of these products in well ventilated areas, especially when you start your vehicle after doing the job. Also, you don't want to soak it, just enough to clean it. If you use any of these products in moderation, you shouldn't have any issues. None of these products should be harsh on rubber. Even in their "natural" environment, there are going to be rubber seals present. As far as the carb cleaner I've used, I've never seen an oily residue. It pretty much evaporates clean as far as I've seen. Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 23:39
  • The brake cleaner container mentions to avoid rubber. Yes the garage door will be open while doing this work, and I will use compressed air to blow out debris and dry residual product, though I expect they will evaporate quickly on their own. Some videos discussing differences in these products: youtube.com/watch?v=8s0jk5dwgU4 and youtube.com/watch?v=kWVFk-SY-3Q among others. Though not clear how it relates specifically to engine parts. As you state, seems like any of these options should be fine in moderation.
    – adatum
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 23:51

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