Article | Engine degreaser ingredients

Engine degreaser is used to safely remove dirt, oil and grease from engines. An unclean engine can cause serious problems that are costly and sometimes impossible to correct.

Damage (including overheating and engine failure) are common effects of unclean engines.  Using degreaser is, therefore, an essential part of routine engine maintenance.


Heavy-duty engine cleaners and degreasers are likely to contain the following ingredients:

Organic Co-Solvents

Co-solvents such as esters, ethers, ketones or alcohols work together to dissolve soils and dirt. These materials would otherwise accumulate in engine bays and cause engines to run hotter and become less fuel efficient.

Halogenated organic solvents

Solvents such as kerosene, white spirits and halogenated hydrocarbons are used for their degreasing properties.

Aliphatic solvents

Solvents such as n-hexane, n-heptane, pentane, cyclohexene, cyclohexane and petroleum ether are widely used for industrial cleaning solutions – they provide a high strength dielectric property to the degreaser.

Aromatic solvents

Aromatic hydrocarbons such as naptha, toluene and xylene are used as a thinning agent in degreasers. They have a high rate of solvency and are used as corrosion inhibitors.


Emulsifiers allow the water in the degreaser to mix with oils to create an emulsion or paste-like substance that sticks to the dirt, oil and grease. This provides a superior cleaning action (and is easier to rinse off).


Water is used to reduce the level of harmful chemicals and works to improve the rate of emulsification. The amount of water can vary depending on the application the degreaser is used for.

Degreaser has evolved over the years to improve its effectiveness and ease of use. Previously, engines would have been removed from the vehicle and immersed in a solvent solution. However, engines are now easily cleaned with a simple aerosol or pump-spray application.

Water based degreaser

Solvent based degreaser

View NCH Asia’s range of water based and solvent based industrial degreasers.

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