Top 6 Best Degreasers for Heavy Equipment

Insight - 46 Min read

April 17, 2024

Heavy equipment is the backbone of construction, industrial, and manufacturing operations. With great power comes a great amount of grease, oil, and grime. Keeping your heavy-duty equipment fresh is crucial for both safety and performance. That's why a key part of a heavy equipment operator's job is to clean and maintain their machines to prevent costly repairs and downtime by using a high-quality degreaser.

It is much easier to regularly degrease your heavy equipment than it is to break through a large amount of grease that's built up over a long period. A machine cleaned every couple of weeks will greatly increase its resale value.

This quick guide will help you determine which degreasing method and materials are right for your team.

The Best Degreaser for Heavy Equipment:

  1. Purple Power Industrial Strength Cleaner/Degreaser

  2. SuperClean Degreaser

  3. Schaeffer Citrol 266 Citrus Cleaner and Industrial Degreaser

  4. ZEP Industrial Purple Cleaner and Degreaser

  5. Spray Nine Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser

  6. Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser Professional Grade Concentrate

Here's what you need to know about each of these brand options.

Purple Power Degreaser for Excavators and Heavy Equipment

1. Purple Power Industrial Strength Cleaner/Degreaser

This is one of the most ubiquitous names in degreasers for heavy equipment. It is ready available from most hardware stores and comes at a reasonable price point (about $7 per gallon). It is biodegradable, non-abrasive, non-flammable, and phosphate-free while tackling the toughest grease and grime problems.

This heavy duty degreaser should not be used on exterior car surfaces, glass, surfaces with paint, or wheel rims.

SuperClean Heavy Equipment Degreaser

2. SuperClean Degreaser

Another popular option for dissolving grease and removing dirt and oil is Castrol SuperClean. This one is a bit more expensive at about $10 per gallon.

You can watch Castrol SuperClean eat away the grease right before your eyes--before even wiping it away. It does the job while also being biodegradable and phosphate-free.

3. Schaeffer Citrol 266 Citrus Cleaner and Industrial Degreaser

Citrol degreaser has a loyal customer base that swears this stuff works great. Even when it's just some Citrol and a microfiber cloth. This citrus-based degreaser will cut through heavy grease, dirt, oil, and grime the competition can't handle.

Citrus-based degreasers run on the expensive side. A gallon of the concentrate is about $80. Another citrus alternative is D-Limonene, which costs around $55 per gallon.

4. ZEP Industrial Purple Cleaner and Degreaser

This industrial degreaser was specifically engineered for cleaning heavy machinery, engine parts, tools, shop floors, work surfaces, and metal. One gallon of concentrate runs about $15 per gallon, though you can likely find it for less with a bit of shopping around.

ZEP degreaser solvent dissolves stubborn grease so it can be easily rinsed or wiped away. It is also available in 32-ounce spray bottles or aerosol cans for getting into small spaces.

ZEP's citrus-based option and ZEP Truck and Trailer Wash are also popular degreaser options.

5. Spray Nine Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser

Spray Nine Heavy Duty is designed to clean, degrease, and disinfect. It does not use corrosive chemicals which makes it safe to use on painted surfaces, treated metal, and aluminum.

Spray Nine Heavy Duty comes highly recommended by mechanics and heavy equipment operators across the USA. You can purchase Spray Nine Heavy Duty for approximately $12 per gallon, but it is also available in smaller sizes for easy maneuvering in crevices.

6. Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser Professional Strength

The final construction equipment cleaner on this list is Oil Eater Cleaner. This heavy duty degreaser costs about $14 per gallon.

While listed as a best degreaser for heavy equipment and industrial machinery, we should note that Oil Eater Cleaner does not wash away oil stains on porous surfaces like unfinished concrete or driveways.

What You'll Need to Degrease Machinery:

  • Industrial strength degreaser

  • A pressure washer with Turbo Tip

  • Rags or microfiber towel

  • Gloves and eye protection

These are the standard essentials for cleaning heavy-duty machinery.

Degreasers for heavy equipment are typically purchased by the gallon, so you will need to determine how much degreaser is required based on the size and number of the machines you need to clean.

Once you've gathered your supplies, you can begin the cleaning process.

Here's a table summarizing the information about the top 6 best degreasers for heavy equipment:

This table provides a quick overview of the top 6 degreasers for heavy equipment, including their price per gallon and key features.

Here's a countdown for the top 6 best degreasers for heavy equipment:

1.Name: Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser Professional Grade Concentrate
Price: $14 per gallon
Features: Professional strength degreaser effective on heavy equipment and industrial machinery. Not suitable for removing oil stains on porous surfaces like concrete or driveways.

2.Name: Spray Nine Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser
Price: $12 per gallon
Features: Designed for cleaning, degreasing, and disinfecting. Non-corrosive formula safe for painted surfaces, treated metal, and aluminum. Recommended by mechanics and heavy equipment operators.

3.Name: ZEP Industrial Purple Cleaner and Degreaser
Price: $15 per gallon
Features: Specifically engineered for heavy machinery, engine parts, tools, and more. Available in multiple formats, including concentrate, spray bottles, and aerosol cans. Effective solvent for stubborn grease. Citrus-based options also available.

4.Name: Schaeffer Citrol 266 Citrus Cleaner and Industrial Degreaser
Price: $80 per gallon
Features: Citrus-based, suitable for heavy grease, dirt, oil, and grime. Expensive compared to other options. Alternative citrus-based option D-Limonene available at a lower price ($55 per gallon).

5.Name: SuperClean Degreaser
Price: $10 per gallon
Features: Biodegradable and phosphate-free. Effectively dissolves grease and removes dirt and oil. Observable action. Not suitable for use on all surfaces.

6.Name: Purple Power Industrial Strength Cleaner/Degreaser
Price: $7 per gallon
Features: Biodegradable, non-abrasive, non-flammable, phosphate-free. Suitable for tackling tough grease and grime. Not recommended for use on exterior car surfaces, glass, surfaces with paint, or wheel rims.

This countdown provides a brief overview of each degreaser, including its name, price, and key features.

Steps to Using A Degreaser for Heavy Equipment:

There are many opinions on the best way to degrease machines that wield the power of excavators, cranes, and trucks. Below is the most commonly used approach for cleaning grease off of heavy duty equipment.

To save yourself some hassle, clean from the top down so that you won't have to re-clean any parts. It is also important to test degreasers on a small out-of-site area to make sure it doesn't damage the surface--especially if the surface is painted or aluminum. This stuff is strong so don't let it touch your skin.

  1. Prepare the area for cleaning. Choose a well-ventilated area on flat ground and away from any surface that will be ruined by heavy duty degreaser like paint or carpets.

  2. Use your fingers and a rag to wipe off the excess grease. This step will prevent extra cleanup from grease being sprayed around your job site when you come in with the power washer.

  3. Spray industrial degreaser on the areas you want to clean. There are a number of degreaser options to choose from, and we'll list a few of the best degreasers for heavy equipment down below. Follow the brand's instructions on how to appropriately dilute the degreaser if required. If you're working in a space that won't allow for use of a pressure washer, some folks opt for using brake cleaner instead.

  4. Let the degreaser set for five to ten minutes. Again, test the degreaser on a small area first to see if more or less time is required. Beware that some industrial degreasers can eat away at paint and aluminum if left to rest too long. Soak the area sufficiently so that the degreaser is still wet (not dry) when you wash it off.

  5. Rinse with a pressure washer. Many say that hot water sprayed at a somewhat milder pressure level is a "sweet spot" in cleaning grease build-up from machinery. Keep reading to find a list of our favorite water tools for degreasing heavy duty equipment.

And, voila! Sit back and enjoy the satisfying before-and-after transformation of a crisply cleaned machinery.

The Best Pressure Washers for Degreasing Heavy Equipment

You can have the best degreaser for heavy equipment out there, but you're unlikely to get the crisp clean results you're looking for without the use of a pressure washer.

Hot or Cold Water?

Opinions vary on the best temperature and pressure level heavy duty machine maintenance. Generally speaking, a high temperature with medium to high pressure will do a lot of the heavy lifting and allow you to conserve degreaser. Water is also non-hazardous and less abrasive than any degreaser brand, so powering your cleaning with a solid washer will help protect the integrity of your equipment for longer.

Whether you prefer a hot or cold method, there are two main players when it comes to manufacturers. You can buy the highest strength industrial degreaser and still not get the results you hope for without an adequate water tool to quickly penetrate the build-up.

Hotsy Hot Water Pressure Washer

This "Hot Systems" washer heats the water with fuel oil, diesel, natural gas, or propane. According to Hotsy, cold water only moves grease, grime, and oil around--heated water is essential to achieving a true clean. These tools are the saving grace of countless tough cleaning assignments.

Construction equipment and agricultural equipment operators swear by the Hotsy brand.

Hy-Flo Pressure Washer

These machines are available with electric, diesel, or gas engine drive. Purchasers can also choose between electric, diesel, or natural gas/propane-fired burners. This powerful piece of equipment busts through tough grease, engine oil, and dirt without hesitation.

Water Attachments

Dirty heavy duty equipment calls for water tool attachments that target the water's pressure against tough grease and grime. Turbo and NorthernStar are two popular tip manufacturers.

Construction Workshop Greasy Engine Parts


Even the best degreaser for heavy equipment is only as effective as the user and supplies it's paired with. Your heavy duty equipment doesn't stand a chance against grease, dirt, oil, tar, and grime without a quality degreaser and water tool. In addition to the industrial degreaser and water tool options listed in this guide, the industry is now developing new eco-friendly alternatives that are also worth exploring.

When degreasing, don't forget to do a spot test to make sure the chemicals don't damage your equipment's paint or aluminum metal and instead focuses on the job of removing dirt, engine oil, and grease stains from a dirty heavy duty machine. If you wait too long before you wash off the degreaser it could cause irreversible damage.

Maintaining clean and grease-free heavy equipment is essential for safety, performance, and longevity. Following the appropriate steps and safety precautions for best degreasers will help you keep your heavy equipment in top-notch condition. Choose the method and degreaser that best aligns with the specific grease challenges your equipment faces, and ensure regular cleaning to maximize its efficiency and lifespan.

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