While many modern vehicles use fuel injectors, plenty of cars and motorcycles are still equipped with carburetors that require regular maintenance and cleaning to perform in top condition. The best carburetor cleaners remove material deposits and rust to ensure that the correct air-to-fuel ratio is maintained.

If you ask a shop to clean your carburetor, a professional mechanic will most likely use a sonic cleaner. This is the quickest, most efficient means to restore a filthy carburetor. However, the DIY mechanic is not likely to have access to such expensive equipment. It’s possible to adequately maintain a carburetor without an ultrasonic cleaner, however.

#1 Editor’s Pick: Berryman Chem-Dip Carburetor Parts Cleaner

Berryman Chem-Dip is the go-to method for cleaning a dirty carburetor. Unless you have a sonic cleaner, soaking your carburetor in a chemical solution is the best way to clean it out completely. Berryman’s product is excellent for carburetor cleaning and even comes with a sieve which you can use to soak your carburetor straight in the bucket.

This solution is safe for use on plastic, rubber, and painted components, meaning you could soak your carburetor without a full disassembly, though you may want to disassemble your carb first for easier cleaning.

Our Rating: 5 out of 5

Pros Deep cleans every nook and cranny
Cons Time-consuming Must remove from vehicle

Key Features

  • Cost: ~$34
  • Cleaner type: Soak
  • Safe for use on plastic, rubber, and vinyl
  • VOC compliant

What Customers Are Saying

Nearly  1,470 Amazon ratings give Berryman Chem-Dip an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. A high 91 percent of consumers rate this carburetor cleaner 4 or more stars.

The vast majority of reviews come from people who give the product 5 stars and claim that it works exactly as advertised.

Some long-time users have noted that the most recent Berryman formula is less aggressive than the older version and complain it does not work as well. There are also complaints about cans arriving dented. The instructions say to let items soak for 30 minutes, but most claim it takes at least a day for Berryman to completely work its magic.

What Is It Good For?

Berryman is the best option for those who want to deep clean their carburetor. By soaking your carburetor completely, this chem-dip can dissolve gum, sludge, varnish, oil, carbon deposits, and grease. You’ll also want some brushes or wires to scrub injectors and valves.

#2 Value Method: Pine-Sol All Purpose Cleaner

Yes, Pine-Sol® can be used as a carburetor cleaner. The method is the same as using Berryman: Disassemble your carburetor and soak it until debris is loosened so you can scrub it away with a wire brush. Unlike Berryman, Pine-Sol can erode rubber, vinyl, and plastic components, so only soak the metal parts of your carb in this solution.

Pine-Sol may also take longer than Berryman to be effective, but you will want to soak for at least 24 hours to achieve a clean carburetor.

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros Deep cleans Inexpensive
Cons Time-consuming Must soak for several days Must remove carburetor from vehicle

Key Features

  • Cost: ~$13 (for two 40.0-ounce bottles)
  • Cleaner type: Soak
  • Fresh pine scent
  • Can be used around the house as well

What Customers Are Saying

Pine-Sol has a high average Amazon rating of 4.8 out of 5 based on more than 8,900 reviews. Of course, most reviewers aren’t using Pine-Sol as a carburetor cleaner and review it as a multi-purpose cleaner. Many do comment that the cleaner is strong and excellent at removing grime, grease, and gunk.

Most of the complaints reference the scent, which is apparently different (and worse, according to reviewers) than the old formula.

What Is It Good For?

This is a good option for those who want a deep carburetor clean at a low cost. You may already have some Pine-Sol in your house. Using Pine-Sol may require a longer soak than using a purpose-made carburetor cleaner like Berryman Chem-Dip.

#3 Best Aerosol Cleaner: Gumout Jet Spray

If you’re looking for a faster way to maintain your carburetor, try an aerosol spray like Gumout® Jet Spray. Gumout can quickly remove deposits from clogged air intake valves and fuel injection chutes. Even if you soak your carburetor, you may need an aerosol cleaner like Gumout to help dislodge the heaviest deposits.

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros Quick Can clear out clogs Can be used without removing carburetor from vehicle
Cons Not as effective as a soak

Key Features

  • Cost: ~$3
  • Cleaner type: Aerosol spray
  • Quick drying
  • Can be used without removing carburetor

What Customers Are Saying

Gumout Jet Spray has an average Amazon rating of 4.7 based on more than 6,600 ratings. An emphatic 95 percent of reviewers rate this carburetor cleaner 4 or more stars.

There are numerous reports from consumers who successfully unclogged or restored their carburetors using Gumout. Keep in mind, however, that this type of spray cannot fully clean a carburetor. For that, you will need to soak your carburetor. What Gumout can do (and is good at according to reviewers) is unclog small buildups and clean the carburetor exterior of grime and oil.

What Is It Good For?

Gumout is the best carburetor cleaner for those in a hurry. If you need to dislodge gunk and don’t have time to take apart your carburetor to let it soak for a day, use an aerosol cleaner. These cleaners will not cleanse at the same level as the soaking method but they’re effective at removing major blockages as well as maintaining your carburetor.

The biggest benefit of using an aerosol spray is that you do not need to remove the carburetor to apply it, though you may find the best results if you remove your carburetor first and clean each part with a brush or wire.

We could not find any product specs from Gumout claiming that this product is safe for rubber, so be careful not to apply this spray to any parts of your carburetor where there are rubber or plastic components.

#4 Best Fuel Additive Cleaner: Sea Foam SF-16 Motor Treatment

This fuel additive cleaner works to clean your carburetor and other engine parts as fuel flows through your system. A fuel injector cleaner is mostly good for maintaining your car and keeping it in good condition after it has been deep-cleaned. The cleaner will flow through not only your carburetor but also your fuel lines and may improve fuel economy. Don’t expect an additive cleaner to unclog or fix an especially dirty carburetor, that will require more work on your part.

However, additives like Sea Foam SF-16 are effective at keeping a carburetor clean and increasing the time you’ll need to soak it again. Using this product a few times a year can prevent large buildups of gunk in the first place, saving you work down the road.

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros Easy to use Quick Reduce buildup as it occurs Improves engine performance
Cons Will not fully clean a carburetor, better for regular maintenance

Key Features

  • Cost: ~$10
  • Cleaner type: Fuel additive
  • Liquifies gum and varnish
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered
  • 100 percent pure petroleum

What Customers Are Saying

Around 19,000 ratings give Sea Foam SF-16 an average rating of 4.8 stars. An impressive 95 percent of reviews rate SF-16 4 or more stars overall.

Many happy customers say that their engine rattled and they experienced some performance issues that were cleared up with a can of Sea Foam. The nice thing about this product is that it can be used to clear out your entire fuel line and not only the carburetor.

Negative reviews come from people who seem unsure if the product is effective. They mention using it to no discernible effect. Many report receiving dented cans.

What Is It Good For?

A fuel additive like Sea Foam SF-16 is the easiest means to clean and maintain a carburetor. All you do is add it to your fuel tank a few times a year and you can help keep your jets clear of gunk and blockages. This type of cleaner may also help improve fuel efficiency and improve emissions.

Sea Foam can help prevent gunk from accumulating in your carburetor, but it cannot cleanse an already backed-up carburetor. For that, you’ll need to soak your carburetor in a solvent dip.

#5 Also Consider: WD-40 Specialist Body & Parts Cleaner

WD-40 makes a reliable aerosol can carburetor cleaner that shares many of the same benefits as Gumout Jet Spray. If you’re looking for an aerosol cleaner, both WD-40 and Gumout are reliable picks and it may be worth trying each to learn which you prefer.

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros Fast way to remove clogs and buildup Can be used without removing carburetor from vehicle
Cons Not as effective as a soak

Key Features

  • Cost: ~$12
  • Cleaner type: Aerosol spray
  • Will not harm oxygen sensors or catalytic converters
  • All-in-one cleaner for carburetor, throttle body, and unpainted metal parts

What Customers Are Saying

WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner has over 2,300 ratings on Amazon and an average score of 4.7 stars. With 94 percent of reviews rating this cleaner 4 or more stars, it’s proven to be easy to use and provide a lot of value for a low cost.

Most found success using this spray can cleaner to restore their carburetor exterior. It’s a reliable product for maintaining a clean carburetor, though it isn’t a miracle product that can make your carb pristine.

Complaints come from users who complain that this spray is not able to dissolve large buildups of contaminants. Few carburetor sprays are effective for such a task, and a chemical soak is recommended if you need a deep clean.

What Is It Good For?

Like any aerosol spray, WD-40 will not totally clean out your carburetor. These sprays are best used for exterior cleaning and removing major blockages or in conjunction with a chemical soak. If Gumout doesn’t offer the results you want from a spray, you might try WD-40 as an alternative.

Buyers Guide: Best Carb Cleaner

Before you use any carburetor cleaner, be sure that you have the proper safety equipment to handle caustic chemicals. At the very least, you should have or purchase protective gloves and eyewear.

Other tools you may want are a stiff brush for scrubbing parts and some wire or a wire brush for cleaning out small holes such as the pilot jets. In a pinch, you can use guitar strings if you have any lying around, or you could order a set of carburetor brushes. If you’re using the soak method, you’ll need a large bucket or tub.

Broadly speaking, there are three popular methods for at-home carburetor cleaning: soak, spray, or use a fuel additive. To keep your carburetor in the best shape, you’ll want to employ all three.

Soaking

To remove the majority of buildup in your carburetor and get it operating like new, you’ll need to soak it in a chemical solution. Soak – or dip – cleaning methods use a corrosive chemical to remove rust and deposits in all of your carb’s crannies.

Soaking is time-consuming and can be a frustrating operation for those who aren’t mechanically inclined. You can’t simply dunk your carburetor in the solution as the chemicals that clean the carburetor can erode the rubber seals. You’ll need to disassemble your carburetor before its bath, then reassemble it afterward.

After soaking only the metal components (typically for at least a day, if not longer), you’ll need to scrub out your carburetor to remove any excess gunk. Here you may also want to use an aerosol spray to dislodge any material that remains.

Aerosol Spray

An aerosol spray uses pressure to dislodge gunk and apply the chemicals that can clean out your carburetor. Used in conjunction with a brush, this can be a good means to dislodge major blockages in your carburetor and quickly get it working. Keep in mind this will not clean your carburetor as fully as the soak method.

You can remove your carburetor before using an aerosol spray, or use it without removing your carburetor from the vehicle at all.

Fuel Additive

You can find fuel additives that you pour directly into your gas tank to clean your carburetor without ever removing it from your vehicle. This is the fastest and simplest way to clean your carburetor. The additive mixes with your fuel and cleans the carburetor and fuel system.

While a fuel additive is the easiest method to apply, it is also the least effective means to clean a carburetor. Fuel-additive cleaners are useful for maintaining a carburetor and slowing the speed at which it becomes clogged. However, if your carburetor is already clogged, loud, or not functioning properly because it needs to be cleaned, a fuel additive is unlikely to offer a fix.

Types Of Carburetor Cleaners 

If you are a customer seeking to buy a carburetor cleaner, be aware there are several types available: 

  • Dipping can: As we mentioned above, this method is for the more demanding vehicle owner that has time completely disassemble a carburetor and soak different parts. 
  • Chlorinated: Chlorinated cleaners are the go-to option for heavy sludge clean up. That said, the chemicals that make them heavy-duty cleaners also make them banned for sale in California.  
  • Non-chlorinated: Non-chlorinated cleaners are a less toxic option, and are gentler on plastic parts. These are the most widely available carburetor cleaners. 

 

How To Clean A Carburetor

If your carburetor is in need of a deep clean, either take it to a shop or clean it with a soak cleaner. The steps below offer a general outline of what you’ll need to do.

  1. Remove the carburetor(s) to be cleaned. Be sure to separate and label each carburetor and its parts so they do not get mixed up.
  2. Take apart the carburetor(s). If you are not familiar with your carburetor’s parts, you may want to take pictures as you go to help with reassembly.
  3. Remove all of the non-metal components from the carburetor. These you do not want to soak as the caustic chemicals can deteriorate rubber seals.
  4. Soak the metal components in a carburetor cleaner chem dip. Soak for at least 24 hours, but you can soak longer.
  5. Use a brush (and gloves and goggles) to clear out all of the holes and jets.
  6. Reassemble the carburetor(s).
  7. Reattach the carburetor(s).

After completing cleaning, you may want to use an aerosol cleaner around the intake for good measure, this is also a good time to add a carb-cleaning fuel additive to your fuel.

Best Carburetor Cleaners: Bottom Line

We chose Berryman Chem-Dip as our top pick for its aggressive cleaning formula that is still safe to use on non-metal parts of the carburetor. Stil,l we acknowledge that this is the most involved route for cleaning a carburetor. 

Folks seeking the best carb cleaner that doesn’t require disassembly should look at aerosol or fuel additive options. It may not offer as thorough a cleaning as a soaking method, but it is fast-acting.

Our Review Standards

To select the five carburetor cleaners in this review, our team searched Amazon and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors like customer ratings, prices, superlatives, and Prime shipping eligibility. We also scoured enthusiast message boards to learn people’s favorite methods for cleaning their carburetors.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we review over 1,000 auto products. Our team of product experts thoroughly researches top products and tests items on real vehicles when possible before making our recommendations.

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Carburetor Cleaners: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.