person driving heavy equipment

Choosing the Best Degreaser for Heavy Equipment

When working on and around heavy machinery, safety for the operator and others on the worksite is a real matter of life or death. Safety on a job site can take many forms most of which are as obvious as a hardhat. But one of the most important ways to keep safe many would not think of at first is hidden in plain sight.

Keeping machinery clean.

Dirty machinery is dangerous to the operator and reduces the lifespan of equipment, unreliable equipment quickly becomes unpredictable and dangerous. The cost of dirty equipment can be measured in time and money lost for unexpected breakdowns, injuries, or even in human lives - so if degreasing excavator engine bays sounds like a crap job, remember that it's vital.

Choosing the right degreaser to clean your machinery is just as important as choosing the right tool for any other job - a hammer is great, but not when you need a wrench.

We chose three of the best degreasers that we hope will help you choose the best degreaser for heavy equipment, keeping in mind effectiveness, cost, and materials it can be used on.

Best Choice - Oil Eater Cleaner and Degreaser

Oil Eater Cleaner and Degreaser is a very effective lemon-scented, water-based biodegradable degreaser. It can be used at full strength or diluted and though it should not be used on glass, it can be used with caution on Aluminum and painted or coated surfaces. Cost is low at around $15 per gallon on Amazon.

Lab testing showed that Oil Eater Cleaner and Degreaser removed 98% of oil and 69% of grease.

Reviewers on Amazon love this degreaser, with an average score of 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 7,000 ratings. Most reviewers mention how well Oil Eater works on everything from removing oil stains from a driveway to degreasing cylinder heads.

CRC Hydroforce Industrial Degreaser

CRC Hydroforce Industrial Degreaser is a potent cleaner and also one of the least hazardous. It is water-based and biodegradable and can be used undiluted or diluted on painted and soft metal surfaces. The cost for this is high, at around $46 per gallon on retail websites, which is why we placed it second after Oil Eater.

CRC Hydroforce is non-abrasive and can be used in pressure washers. Lab testing showed this degreaser removed 96% of oil and 87% of grease, making Hydroforce the best performer of the three.

Reviewers love CRC Hydroforce Industrial Degreaser for its effectiveness, but many say it gives off a strong odor and should be used outdoors or indoors with ventilation.

Simple Green Industrial Strength - For Select Tasks

Simple Green Industrial Strength is an extremely popular water-based degreaser, it's non-hazardous, biodegradable, can be used in power washers, and is one of the cheapest degreasers at just under $10 a gallon. It can be used at full strength on most surfaces.

However, what you save in price you may lose in performance: lab testing showed that Simple Green removed over 99% of oil but only 7% of grease.

Reviewers who have used Simple Green like it for its safety, low cost, and high effectiveness. Considering the environmentally conscious world we find ourselves in, and how hazardous other degreasers are, the effectiveness of Simple Green compared to its relatively low danger is extremely important.

Prices and user reviews were determined at the time of writing this article using Amazon and third-party reseller websites and manufacturer websites. Testing information was gathered from, which commissioned an independent lab to test degreasers in 2013.

Lab testing was done at ASTM G-121 and G122 Standards using Mineral Oil and Cortec CorrLube on 1010 carbon steel as testing mediums.

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