How to Clean Spark Plugs Effectively?

Engines have many parts, one of which is the spark plug. It can become dirty or corroded, and this can harm engine performance. Cleaning it is easy, but knowing how to do it is essential. To avoid damaging the plug and leaving it unclean, here’s a guide on how to clean spark plugs correctly. It also gives helpful tips for effective cleaning.

What You Need

Cleaning spark plugs are essential. For your car to perform at its best, clean spark plugs are a must! So, what exactly is needed? Here’s the scoop…

Spark plug cleaner

A spark plug cleaner is a tool you can use to clean your spark plugs. It has a brush and bellows-style mechanism. It can remove dirt, grime, fuel deposits, and other contaminants from the electrodes. It also includes fine-grit sandpaper to buff the electrodes for a thorough clean.

Using a spark plug cleaner is easy. Put the spark plug in the cleaner and press down on the bellows. Rotate it against the electrode bristles. This will loosen the dirt, which is scraped away by the hairs.

Next, use sandpaper to remove rough patches or significant scratches. This will help good contact between the spark plugs and coil packs. Check for debris before reinstalling them.

Socket wrench

You’ll need a socket wrench matching its size to clean spark plugs effectively. Socket wrenches come in various sizes, so you must measure the spark plug first and get the correct size. When working in awkward directions or reaching difficult plugs, the socket wrench should have a universal joint drive head. Plus, it needs an extension to reach hard-to-reach areas. Depending on the spark plug’s form and size, certain adapters might be necessary.

Invest in a universal set of magnetic tools to ensure a secure grip when cleaning and changing spark plugs. Before use, ensure all devices are clean and check for loose rivets or wires to avoid further harm.

Safety goggles

Be ready to clean spark plugs? Put on safety goggles! Shield eyes from any debris that could become airborne. Work in an area with good ventilation. Avoid hazardous fumes if possible. Take safety precautions when using compressed air or chemical cleaners.


Before you begin the cleaning process for your spark plugs, it’s vital to get ready. Ensure you have a well-ventilated spot and the correct tools. Gather spark plug cleaner, rags, and gloves. Put them near you for easy reach. This will grant you successful spark plug cleaning!

Disconnect the spark plug wire.

Before cleaning your spark plugs, you must disconnect them from the ignition system. This should always come first when servicing your engine. Pull back the boot at the base of each spark plug wire to do this. Then, twist it counterclockwise until it pops off. All cables should be disconnected.

Then, use a spark plug socket, ratchet, and extension to remove each spark plug from the engine block. When done, make sure to label each wire. This is important as they must be returned to their original location after cleaning.

Remove the spark plug.

Before you can clean a spark plug, first remove it. This is easy, but you must follow some rules.

  • Use a wire brush to remove any dirt around the spark plug.
  • If the engine cover is near the plug, use a socket extension bar or Allen wrench to move it aside.
  • Use a spark plug wrench to unscrew and pull the plug out with pliers or a plug socket.

Keep all parts and accessories of the spark plug clean, so dirt doesn’t enter the engine. Place each slice on an oil-resistant cloth or paper towel. Make sure no threads are crossed when putting each piece back together. Ensure each part fits snugly before cleaning.


Keeping your spark plugs clean is a must for car owners! It can help keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently.

In this article, we’ll share how to properly clean spark plugs. That way, you can keep your engine in tip-top shape!

Soak the spark plug in a cleaner.

First, check the condition of your spark plug. If there is dirt or debris on it, pre-clean it. Then, get a cleaner specifically for spark plugs. Read all labels and safety precautions.

  1. Soak the plug for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it.
  2. After, take it out and rinse it with water until all cleaner is gone.
  3. Finally, dry with compressed air or towels.

Scrub the spark plug with a brush.

For effective spark plug cleaning, use the right tools. Get a spark plug wrench, brush, and rag.

  1. Start by loosening and removing the plug from the engine with the wrench.
  2. Clean with mild detergent, a toothbrush, or a small wire brush (not stainless steel!). Gently scrub away dirt and debris. Concentrate on removing residue buildup on threads or electrode contacts.
  3. Wipe down any remaining dirt with a damp cloth. Make sure there is no corrosion.
  4. Re-insert the spark plug, and tighten it securely.
  5. Done!

Rinse the spark plug in clean water.

Gently rinse the spark plug in clean water. Firmly, yet carefully, hold it so that the electrodes face up. Allow a steady stream of water to run over it for a few seconds. Use a spray bottle with clean water if a tap or sink isn’t available. Pat the spark plug dry with a cloth after.

Remove any debris or dirt that has built up on its surface:

  • Rinse the spark plug in clean water.
  • Hold it firmly, yet carefully, so that the electrodes face up.
  • Allow a steady stream of water to run over it for a few seconds.
  • Use a spray bottle with clean water if a tap or sink isn’t available.
  • Pat the spark plug dry with a cloth after.
  • Remove any debris or dirt that has built up on its surface.


Clean the spark plugs. Now, reinstall them into the engine. Special tools, plus knowledge of the engine type and spark plug kind, are necessary. Different machines may require other spark plugs or particular installation systems. Read on to discover how to reinstall a spark plug in your device correctly and effectively.

Check the spark plug gap.

Check the gap between spark plug electrodes before starting the cleaning process. Vibration, extended use, or carbon deposit buildup can cause this gap to increase. Measure the distance using a spark plug gapping tool. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for correct specifications and adjust.

You can now start the spark plug cleaning process.

Reconnect the spark plug wire.

Once the spark plug is cleaned, the next step is to reconnect the spark plug wire. Unclip or unscrew the connection from the old spark plug and attach it to the clean one. Make sure it’s secure so that it won’t come apart.

Ensure all surfaces of contact are free of dirt or residue. Use a small amount of electrical contact cleaner to avoid rust or corrosion. Wipe away any excess cleaner.

Once everything looks clean, re-attach the spark plug wire. Ensure a tight and secure connection before testing with a voltmeter (if available).


To finish, cleaning spark plugs must be done with caution. Even a tiny mistake can damage the internal engine components. Read the spark plug manufacturer’s instructions, so you don’t harm them by cleaning them wrongly. If your spark plugs are worn out, buy new ones rather than trying to clean them and risk more harm.

Following the steps above, you can clean your spark plugs safely and without pricey additives or cleaners. With regular care and maintenance, your engine will last for years!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to clean spark plugs?

You will need a spark plug socket, some rags or paper towels, a can of carburetor cleaner, and a wire brush.

How do I clean spark plugs?

To clean spark plugs, you need first to remove them from the engine. Then, use the wire brush to remove any debris and dirt. Spray the pins with the carburetor cleaner and let them soak for a few minutes. Finally, wipe off the excess cleaner with a rag or paper towel.

How often should I clean spark plugs?

Typically, spark plugs should be cleaned every 25,000 miles or so. However, this may vary depending on the type of spark plug and the engine used.