During the winter, ‘cleaning your car’ means shoveling off the snow so you can see where you’re actually going.
On the other hand, the summer is all about attention to detail, as thighs like pollen, dirt, bird droppings, and even tree sap (yes, really, tree sap. We’re not kidding) are just some of the things that can prevent your car from looking its best.
Having some of the products from this list of the best degreaser for car paint at your disposal is guaranteed to make your life a lot easier, regardless of whether you’re a serious collector, an auto workshop, or just an average Joe caring for his car.
7 Best Degreaser for Car Paint Picks:
1. Chemical Guys CWS_104 Concentrated Bug and Tar Remover
If your car wash routine at home includes using the liquid soap from the kitchen, that’s… no, that’s just wrong. Instead, check out this heavy-duty Concentrated Bug and Tar Remover product from Chemical Guys that’s popular for how easy it makes to clean bugs and dirt from your car.
Made from a new, patented formula that cracks down hard on dirt, debris, and tar, the Bug and Tar Heavy Duty Car Wash Shampoo easily removes even the most set-in stains. Because of how smooth and easy to apply it is, we recommend this degreaser for that casual Sunday car wash.
It’s great for cleaning vehicles like cars, trucks, and RVs because it gets the job done without needing too much product to be applied. However, we do recommend using a microfiber pad of at least equal quality if you want to save your smooth chrome surfaces from damage.
According to Chemical Guys, this product can also be used when diluted in a spray bottle, which we thought was a perfect way of saving on the product used per cleaning.
- Works really well for both clear coat and single stage paint
- Safe for being used on glass, chrome, aluminum, plastic, and more
- The heavy-duty formula quickly washes away bugs, dirt, tar, and heavy grime
- Diluting the product isn’t the best idea because its effectiveness takes a sharp plummet when mixed with even a little water.
- It’s also a little more expensive for a gallon-sized bottle than most degreasers.
2. 3D Orange Degreaser – Organic Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner
Are you a serious car enthusiast who loves to spend time cleaning and taking care of his vehicle? Or maybe you’re taking out the old RV and going on a camping trip with the family? Regardless of the car, you won’t find a product that’s better at cleaning oil and grime than the 3D orange degreaser.
From our tests, this premium-grade organic degreaser works for cleaning everything from dirt deposits on rims to assorted bugs and other nasties off your windshield.
Because of its organic nature, it’s also safe to be applied on various surfaces, like chrome, plastic, leather, and glass.
The 3D orange degreaser comes with a combination of Prop 65 approved components to provide an extensive, thorough wash, is what 3D says. Of the different products we tested, this was the best for cleaning tree sap and oil, so we’re not disagreeing either!
- Degreaser works surprisingly well for cleaning stains off leather
- Organic ingredients inside quickly take off caked-on tree sap
- Unlike a lot of other cleaners, it works perfectly when diluted in a spray bottle
- The 3D Orange Degreaser falls behind when it comes to cleaning grease off tire rims and hubs.
- We could find no dilution ratios on the labels, which can get confusing.
3. Goo Gone Automotive Spray Gel
Indeed, Goo Gone’s line of cleaning products hasn’t always been the best. However, their Automotive Spray Gel is a step in the right direction, as this product has gathered thousands of good reviews for its surprising effectiveness.
Like 3D’s organic orange cleaner, this product can be used on the plush leather seats inside your car. It’s slightly more potent than the orange cleaner but has no chance of harming your car’s interiors.
The best thing about the Goo Gone Automotive Spray Gel is that it shines at cleaning and degreasing wheels, rims, and hubs, which are often the hardest to clean thoroughly.
Brake dust, assorted bugs and other nasties, grease, and plastic-dip from rims can be taken out easily using this, though we recommend getting a lint-free microfiber cloth if you don’t want to leave dirty finish marks.
- Performed the best at removing adhesive out of everything we tested
- It contains oil to get rid of globs of hardened concrete easily
- No strong chemical smell makes it safe to use inside the house
- Has problems removing sap that’s been sitting for a year or more
- Easily outclassed by any mid-grade degreaser for removing organic contaminants
4. Custom Shop Restoration KW901 – Automotive Grease and Wax Remover
One of the best products on this list for serious car hobbyists, the Custom Shop Restoration KW901 degreaser is extremely fast-acting and practical. It comes highly rated by at-home users and professional auto garages.
The Custom Shop Restoration KW901 degreaser is ideal for cleaning vehicle surfaces before primary panel and bodywork. Its heavy-duty performance removes any trace of dirt, grease, adhesive, tree sap, or other contaminants from the surfaces.
It’s the most potent product that we’ve tested so far, which means that while it may not be the best choice for in-house uses, you can’t beat this degreaser when you need something to clean years of dirt and grease off a surface.
Another neat little feature of this product is that if you use a lint-free pad for cleaning the surface, this degreaser functions very well as an anti-static cleaner.
- Functions exceptionally well for cleaning car parts before remodeling
- The smooth and easy application prevents the formation of streak eyes after the finish
- Dries very quickly to ensure you can get back to work
- Strong enough to burn through layers of wax or adhesive without problems
- Not suitable for using inside a garage because it produces a strong chemical smell
- The packaging needs to be handled carefully because of its brittleness
5. POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser
“The applications are endless” is what POR-15 says about their cleaner/degreaser product, and with how effective it’s proven to be at removing a wide range of dirt and debris, we aren’t inclined to disagree.
One of the only actual industrial-grade products on this list except for the Custom Shop Restoration KW901, the POR-15 Non-flammable Cleaner can efficiently remove tire grease, brake dust buildups, oil, soap films, and even algae from boat hulls.
A feature we rather liked is that this cleaner gets rid of oxidation in the blink of an eye, keeping your precious engine and side panels from corroding after a thorough wash with water.
You’ll be surprised to hear that this highly rated cleaner and degreaser is water-based instead of solvent-based. It’s also the only water-based degreaser we found that doesn’t leave annoying residue on the surface after wiping with a strong microfiber cloth.
- Easily removes corrosion to keep your parts from rusting
- You don’t need much product per cleaning to do a thorough job
- Can be diluted up to 15 parts water and 1 part cleaner without problems
- Cost-effective, and if stored properly, lasts for a long time
- It prevents the paint from sticking over it, which means you have to wait for it to dry off or wipe the coat off yourself.
- Stains clothes very easily, so be careful while you’re using it and don’t get it on your clothes!
6. Dupli-Color EPS100000 Prep Grease and Wax Remover
Before you paint anything, surface preparation is essential to ensure there’s no inconvenient debris on the surface. Created specifically as a prep greaser, the Dupli-Color EPS100000 Prep Grease and Wax Remover is an easy-to-apply product suitable for use by both casual car owners and professional auto workshops.
It’s much more robust than it looks and is nearly industrial-grade, but it doesn’t give off the toxic smells that are unique to industrial cleaners.
This prep grease works great for simple cleaning, but like advertised, it’s meant for prepping surfaces before painting them, which is why it’s so popular with auto workshops and garages. As advertised, it also promotes paint adhesion to ensure the coat of paint comes out beautifully.
For cleaning purposes, wash the bare dirt, grime, and debris off the car and then use this prep grease for the final buff to get a squeaky clean exterior. If applied carefully, you can use it for interiors too.
- A powerful product that burns through most organic contaminants like sap
- Works great for removing older waxes before applying a fresh coating
- It comes in wipe-based, aerosol, quart, and quart soy-based varieties
- Helps paint bond firmly to surfaces like metal, plastic, and fiberglass
- It can quickly melt plastic surfaces if you’re not careful where you apply it
- Wipes are only good for a few minutes after the initial package is opened
7. CAR CARE HAVEN Wheel Cleaner X
It might be the final product on this list, but the CAR CARE HAVEN Wheel Cleaner X is nowhere near being the least. This professional-grade cleaner comes with a wide range of uses.
You can use it to clean anything from surface contaminants like tree sap and bird doo to deposit buildups like brake dust and corrosion from tires and rims, and it doesn’t need a lot of product per application either.
The CAR CARE HAVEN Wheel Cleaner is a non-acidic product, which means it has no chance of harming either your rims or the expensive rubber tires on them. Like the 3D Orange Cleaner, its best use is for cleaning tires, though it does an excellent job with car panels and boat hulls as well.
If we’re honest, we were pretty surprised by this cleaning product. There isn’t much information available upfront about it, but it cleans most things like a charm and will leave your tires looking new when you’re finished cleaning them.
- Powerful cleaning formula
- It doesn’t need a high-quality microfiber pad for proper application
- Non-acidic nature means it has no chance of harming your precious tires
- The premium-grade formula restores shine to tires, rims, and car panels
- Doesn’t shine at anything and can be outclassed by more expensive degreasers.
- There’s a startling lack of available information about this product, and from what we saw, Car Care only responds to a small number of queries.
How to Choose the Best Degreaser for Car Paint
You wouldn’t think that there is any difference between the many grease removers on the market, but it turns out that some are better than others. If you want to keep your car paint looking shiny and new for as long as possible, you will need to choose a degreaser with these qualities:
1. Able to remove tough stains
The first criteria to choose a degreaser is the ability to remove tough stains from the car paint surface. So, when picking a product for your car, make sure it is effective at removing greasy stains.
A cleaner that can effectively remove any kind of stains, be it from bird dropping, tree sap, road grime, or bugs, will make a big difference in your car’s appearance.
If you can get one that is also mild enough not to damage the paint but still cut through tough grease and oil stains, even better!
2. Non-toxic and safe for use
It is important to choose a degreaser that is non-toxic and safe for use.
This will make sure you don’t cause any damage or run the risk of poisoning yourself or others if it’s used around children or pets (and, in some cases, even plants).
You especially do not want to use anything with harsh chemicals around the exterior paint as it could cause damage.
In addition, you will want a degreaser that is safe for use on all surfaces with no unpleasant odor.
That way, if there is any overspray or splashing onto other components like wheels and tires (and even your windshield) you won’t run into problems with them being damaged.
It should not only be safe for the paint but also gentle enough that it won’t strip wax or any other protective layer away.
Look for degreasers that are non-toxic and biodegradable if you can find them. That way they will cause no harm to the environment when used either in a professional setting or at home.
3. Effective against both oil and water-based substances
Oil and water-based substances are the two types of contaminants that you need to remove from your car’s paint.
The best degreasers will be able to cut through both oil stains as well as other tough stains, like dirt or mud that contain water.
You don’t want to have one product for each type because then it becomes a hassle to have two different products lined up for use.
Instead, you want something that can cut through any type of dirt or grime so it will be quick and easy to clean your car with one product.
That way, there are fewer steps involved in the process which is both time-saving as well as less likely to cause harm to your car’s paint due to the use of a cleaner that is not intended for it.
4. Form factor
You can choose from degreasers available in both aerosol and trigger spray varieties, depending on what you prefer.
Some people like having an easier time directing the product with an aerosol while others find it more convenient being able to control the flow with a trigger spray.
You can also choose to go for degreasers in liquid form, though it will be harder to control when applying them this way.
However, they are much cheaper than sprays or aerosols so if you want to save money on your purchase then going with something like this might make sense too.
No matter which format you choose, just make sure that it is easy to use with a power washer or microfiber towel and won’t cause any problems when working on your car.
Make sure the product comes in an appropriate size for how much of it you expect to go through too so there are no unnecessary leftovers or wasted products cluttering up drawers at home.
5. Degreaser Price
Price is another important factor to consider when looking for a degreaser.
You don’t want to spend more than you need on something like this since it isn’t always necessary and some of the cheaper options will work just as well, if not better.
However, even with the most affordable option, there are still some that do cost more than others.
It is important to find one that has the quality and effectiveness that you need without overpaying for it since many of them are similarly priced when looking at things like this.
If possible, try out a few different ones with varying prices to see which works best before settling on something more expensive or less expensive in case you don’t need the most expensive option on the market.
We promised we’d help you pick out the best degreaser for car paint you’d find, and after testing out hundreds of products, we’ve picked out these seven as the best choices.
The winner, though, is the Custom Shop Restoration KW901 – Automotive Grease and Wax Remover.
The other products on this list are all fantastic, but nothing quite matched up to both the performance and the affordability of the Custom Shop Restoration KW901. It’s cheap, comes in gallon-sized containers that can last you for a long time, and above all, works fantastic for removing every kind of debris we could think of.
Just don’t use it inside your house unless you want a weird chemical smell floating through it!