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Aluminum-safe degreaser for use with power washer?

Posted By:
Paul Hathaway
Warbirds of America Member
#1 Posted: 3/31/2011 20:09:05

Hi all,

Can anyone recommend a locally available (i.e Lowes, Home Depot) degreaser / cleaner that can be used in a power washer and is proven to be aluminum safe?

I have to blast out the years of grime from the gear wells of my L-29 project....



Pat Donovan
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#2 Posted: 4/4/2011 18:04:10


There is an aluminum safe version of Simple Green although I've never heard anything about using it with a power washer.  Samples have been given away at OSH. This version is NOT typically available in your local hardware store; it's available via Aircraft Spruce in up to 55 gallon drum quantities.

I use a diluted mixture for cleaning my Comanche belly and gear wells. 


Steven Olson
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#3 Posted: 4/8/2011 09:02:49

Hi Paul,


Not sure how many have responded.  I am the VP of Ops at a chemical manufacturer.  We primarily make car cleaning care products but I've been asking our chemists for products we can safely use on our GA aircraft.  (I and the local airport maintenance love the engine degreaser we made and I use it in the spring to get the winters worth of oil and grim cleaned off).

We made a degreaser/cleaner last year that we tested on the Aluminum Wheels over at Airworthy Aerospace, the facility that refurbishes and cleans commercial aircraft wheels.  I know it was aluminum safe. 

In short its not something from Home Depot but I use these on my Mooney.  Not sure if that answers your question but I can find out more if you'd like me too.

Email address is olsonseo@aol.com.


Steve Olson

Spencer Gould
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 4/12/2011 22:34:24


I’ve done a few aircraft & car degreasings of aluminum block engines & have tried most of the off the shelf products. If the grime is not to thick or for the final cleaning stages, I would recommend “engine brite” gel by gunk, let it soak in for about a half hour then you can hit it with a power washer / pressure washer (with just water) or just a hose. Almost all the general auto stores & walmarts sell gunk brand. I have not read or encountered adverse reactions with aluminum with this product. The main thing to watch out for is electrical items are protected from cleaning chemicals and water spray.


The 2 common cleaners to avoid on Aluminum is Chlorine (bleach) and oxy clean!    


I’m using a Corvair engine on my project, when I got the core it was coated in a thick oily sludge, I scraped off all the thick stuff with wood & plastic scrapers, then went after it with a brush then I tried all the degreasers, simple green, soaps and even carb cleaner to get off the sludge in the end I found the gunk gel the best performing followed up by a pressure washing.


Here is some product info






Hope this helps




EAA Technical Counselor (composites / powerplant) TC # 5426