Carburetors are a necessary component of an engine and are essential to the combustion process, and a dirty one can affect the engine performance and fuel economy. Most carb cleaners or carburetor cleaners are created expressly with cleaning and degreasing capabilities to clean carburetors by removing carbon residue, grease, clogged-up dirt and anything else that can cause dirty carburetors.
One key example is a lawnmower where the engine gets caked in clumps of grass cuttings. Market-available carb cleaners come in various forms, including sprays, soaking solutions, and even gels specifically designed to clean the different parts of your carb.
Methyl ethyl ketone, paint thinner, and acetone are some of carb cleaners’ main ingredients. These above ingredients are powerful cleaners, but they do have some drawbacks. You’ll need to use them in a well-ventilated area, and because of the cleaner’s ability, some cleaners can harm non-metal parts.
In addition, you may need one before you can get to the store. In our guide, you can learn more about what is the best small engine carb cleaner alternative. You may be surprised to find you have many ingredients around the home you can use to make a DIY homemade carb cleaner substitute. (Learn How Many Miles Is Half A Tank Of Gas)
What is a Carburetor Cleaner?
Any small engine maintenance program must include a carb cleaner, often known as carburetor cleaner. It helps preserve the carburetor’s optimal condition, ensuring that your engine operates smoothly and effectively.
When using carb cleaner, you’ll find it essential for small engine maintenance, where it is commonly referred to as carburetor cleaning. Many people use this method to maintain their car engines and clean the components of their carburetors. Or, if you have any garden machinery, these can get covered in gunk you need to get off using a carburetor cleaner.
Although carburetor cleaners make light work of a messy job, you must follow some safety measures when using many carburetor cleaners. Carburetor cleaners have a potent stench and are highly combustible when applying them. So, it would help if you used them in a well-ventilated area away from any naked flame or heat source.
Additionally, if using any commercial carburetor cleaner, always wear protective gloves and goggles because some strong carb cleaner chemicals could irritate your skin or eyes.
Why Do I Need A Carb Cleaning Solvent?
Using a carb cleaner is crucial for preserving your engine’s optimal performance; carbs are how air and fuel mixtures get into the engine, and there is a fine line between working correctly or a buildup affecting your car performance.
The combustion process can easily be hampered by residue in a dirty carburetor. Using a specifically designed carb cleaner removes dirt, grime, greasy deposits, and other dirt that is broken down by carb cleaning products’ chemicals, leaving surfaces clear and clean.
This guarantees more streamlined operation, better fuel efficiency, and faster acceleration. Regular use of a good carb cleaner aids in reducing buildup in challenging engine locations, avoiding potential performance issues.
Using high-quality products on a sure basis can assist in maintaining your engine functioning at its peak for longer lengths of time. (Read Gas Coming Out Of Exhaust – What To Do)
What Is A DIY Homemade Carb Cleaner Alternative?
If you want to use something less harmful than a commercial carburetor cleaner, you can opt for a DIY carburetor cleaner that can also work. Not only is making homemade carb cleaner substitute cheaper, but it can also be less harmful.
So, here are some of the best carb cleaner alternatives you can find around your home.
- Brake cleaner (Used by some individuals, yet brake cleaners can harm other materials, and not an ideal substitute).
- Homemade carb cleaner (uses a mix of key ingredients such as pure acetone, paint thinners, and pure ethanol).
- WD-40 (a light lubricant that helps remove dirt and grime from the outside of your carb).
- Methyl ethyl ketone (a strong solvent, which is effective for cleaning carburetors. You will need some caution because of the flammable nature)
- Premium gasoline (using premium gas helps clean carburetors internals as it burns)
- Paint thinner (a solvent you can use to remove dirt and grime, but this cleaning solvent can damage rubber parts.
- Solvents like propane or diesel (very effective for cleaning carburetors, but use with caution because of the flammable nature)
- Oil (which can help loosen dirt and grime, making it easier to clean the carburetor)
Each of these carb-cleaner alternatives offers unique characteristics and restrictions, so keep in mind that they might not be suitable for every cleaning process.
Alternatives To Find, Carb Cleaner Cleaning Solutions
Small engine owners need carb cleaners, but sometimes it might be challenging to find the correct one or get access to a store that offers them. Fortunately, you can find a good substitute where the key ingredient is harmless as they are used in the home.
Here are a few alternatives for people looking for a different technique to clean their carburetor and small engines that won’t damage their car or plastic engine parts like other solvents would. (Read What Problems Can A Loose Gas Cap Cause)
Baking Soda and Vinegar Carburetor Cleaner
One option is making your own carb cleaner at home using ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
Rubber parts can be challenging to clean using other solvents, yet they can be cleaned easily with this solution.
- To complete the cleaning process, mix 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cup of white vinegar in a bowl of warm water.
- After you soak the part in the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse off with clean water and dry well.
Carb Cleaner Dish Soap Carburetor Cleaning Agent
Dish soap and other ordinary chemicals can be used as a small engine carb cleaner for individuals looking for an alternative to the conventional carb cleaner. Dish soap is among the best substitutes since it has essential components that aid in liquifying and removing dirt, grease, and grime from surfaces.
Dish soap also includes surfactants, which help break down these pollutants when they come into contact with food. Many people may claim to add dish soap to their gas tank as a carb cleaner, although these common chemicals are made to wash dishes, not clear carbon deposits inside an engine.
However, you can use it to clean the outside of your carburetor. Soak the carb in a dish soap and water solution and let the cleaning surfactants attack the grime and oil buildup. After, you can rinse and dry, and the buildup should have gone. You can also soak an old toothbrush and carefully scrub the outside of your carb for stubborn dirt.
Dish soap and other common household chemicals can help you save money while reducing the environmental damage that typical carb cleaners and brake cleaners do.
Clean Carburetor With Clear Vinegar Solvent
As an alternative to small engine carburetor cleaner, white vinegar is a multipurpose and versatile household product. It is present in acetic acid, the main component that makes this natural cleaning solution an effective cleaner for surface dirt, grease, and grime.
When you don’t have a readily available professional carb cleaner, white vinegar has potent degreasing characteristics that make it a great replacement.
In just a few simple steps, it may restore proper air-fuel flow throughout the small engine’s parts by breaking the carbon deposits built inside the car carburetor. Some individuals mix in regular gas or diesel to make this soak or spray cleaner more effective.
WD-40 For Carburetor Plastic Cleaner
For more than six decades, WD-40 has been a widely used lubricant. When its most well-known uses are to unstick trapped parts and prevent rust and corrosion, may it be used as an alternative for carb cleaner?
Carb cleaners are specially developed deposits to remove gum, varnish, and carbon buildup from the carburetor in small engines.
WD-40, made up of several different ingredients, also includes petroleum distillates that could damage the carburetor’s plastic parts. Additionally, it has been noted that using WD-40 instead of a small engine carb cleaner causes emissions from engines to increase when other ingredients, like kerosene, are added. Using this carburetor cleaning spray on the outside rather than on the inside is better. (Learn How To Unfreeze A Gas Line)
A brake cleaner An increasingly common alternative for small engine carb cleaners is the brake cleaner. It is simple to find and reasonably priced, making it a fantastic option for people trying to conserve money without sacrificing quality. Brake cleaner is also versatile and has a variety of uses, including cleaning small engines and their parts.
Brake cleaner primarily breaks grease, oil, and other deposits that can amass over time on or near your engine parts.
Sticky residues from gaskets, O-rings, and spark plugs that are typically challenging to remove without harming them can also be easily removed with the help of brake cleaner.