Ever wondered what you can and can’t clean in your engine bay? This detailing guide will take you through the process so you can be sure.

The engine bay is probably one of the most often forgotten areas of car detailing. That’s mainly because you can’t see it. But even if you’re not planning on popping your bonnet and displaying your engine, it’s absolutely worth spending a bit of time to get your engine bay looking smart. It’s also easier than you think. Besides, if you’ve gone so far as to clean the rest of your car, why wouldn’t you clean your engine bay?

Our subject is a rather mucky-looking Renault Clio engine bay. We’ve got leaves, there’s dirt and oxidation on the metal parts and plenty of dusty. Time to get to work.

Vacuum leaves from engine bay

1. Remove leaves or big pieces of grime from your engine bay

It might get some funny looks from your neighbors, but there’s nothing wrong with cracking out the vacuum cleaner on the engine bay. It’s a useful tool for getting rid of leaves or pollen that’s stuck in places where your hands just won’t fit.

Be sure to check out our guide to the best car vacuums in 2023

Spraying multi purpose cleaner on engine bay

2. Clean your engine bay with multi-purpose cleaner


You can go so far as snow-foaming and pressure-washing an engine. However, it’s far easier and safer to simply go in manually with some heavy-duty multi-purpose cleaner. Use gloves because it’s strong stuff, and get spraying.

You can use the cleaner across the whole bay, so don’t be afraid to use it on plastics and let it dwell for a little bit.

Using a brush to work in product cleaner

3. Use a brush for hard to reach areas in your engine bay

Work it into intricate areas and nooks and crannies with a brush to let it get to work in all those hard-to-reach spots.

Wipe the product off after you’re done working it in.

Cover plastics in engine bay

Give your engine cover a liberal dousing with the multi-purpose cleaner, and work it into the various areas and surfaces with a brush as before.

Carry on working your way around the engine bay, using the cleaner on the various different areas, such as this intake hose and the black trim panel at the front of the engine, working it in and wiping it off once you’re done.

Wipe off product on engine bay

4. Wipe away excess product

Give it a good wipe once you’re done. With just a little bit of effort, your engine bay will be looking a lot more presentable, and it’ll be a pleasure to open the bonnet.