How to clean spark plugs

Spark plugs are one of the most important components of your car or engine. Spark plugs fire and ignite fuel in your engine so that it can burn and turn into power and energy. Unfortunately, spark plugs will not last forever, as they will become dirty over time, thus reducing their efficiency. Cleaning spark plugs is a part of car maintenance. Spark plugs need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly to keep them in good working condition. Poor gas mileage, an engine misfiring, or a loss of power may indicate it’s time to clean spark plugs.

Remove the spark plug wires

Remove the spark plugs and set them aside. You can use a socket wrench with a spark plug socket or a ratchet wrench with an extension to remove the spark plugs, but if you have trouble removing them, you can use penetrating oil to loosen up the dirt and debris in the holes.

Spray penetrating oil into each of the holes where the spark plugs are located. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before attempting to remove them again.If there is still resistance when trying to remove the spark plugs, spray more penetrating oil into the hole and leave it on for longer than 10 minutes before trying again.

Use a spark plug socket to unscrew the spark plugs

Spark plugs are an integral part of your vehicle’s ignition system. They help ignite the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders, which is essential for the engine to run properly. Spark plugs should be changed every 60,000 miles or as recommended by your owner’s manual.

If you have a newer car with electronic spark plugs, it’s even more important to change them on schedule because they can fail prematurely if not replaced at regular intervals. Use a spark plug socket to unscrew the spark plugs. Don’t use any other tools that may scratch or damage the threads on the plugs or their connectors.

Spray the plugs with carburetor cleaner

You can clean your spark plugs with a wire brush and some carburetor cleaner. Clean the insulator of the plug, but don’t get any of the cleaner on the actual electrodes. Spray the plugs with carburetor cleaner. Let them soak for about 30 seconds.

Then give them a light scrubbing with a wire brush, making sure not to get any of the dirt into the center hole or onto the electrodes. Use compressed air or a vacuum cleaner to blow any loose debris out of the center hole and out of all four holes in the insulator.

Wait for the plugs to dry

Spark plugs are a little tricky to clean because they are located deep in the engine and can be difficult to get to. You can choose to clean them yourself or have your mechanic do it for you, but either way, you’ll need a few simple tools and materials.

Wait for the plugs to dry. Spark plugs should dry out before you start working on them. If they’re wet when you try to remove them, they could become stuck in the cylinder head and break off. Let them dry overnight or longer if needed.

Clean the electrodes and gaps with a wire brush

Always clean spark plugs before installing them. The electrodes and the gaps between them need to be in good condition for proper operation. If there’s dirt or oil on the electrode, it can cause a misfire or even a complete engine failure.

Cleaning is simple: just remove each spark plug, then use a wire brush to clean off any deposits on the electrode. Use compressed air to blow out any remaining dust or debris from the cylinder head and around the spark plug hole.

Clean the shell with a steel brush or sandpaper

  • Clean the shell with a steel brush or sandpaper. Remove any dirt from around the base of the plug with a wire brush. If there is carbon buildup on top of each electrode, use sandpaper to remove it.
  • Use compressed air to blow out excess dirt and debris from inside of the plug well. If you don’t have compressed air, you can use a straw attached to an air compressor or just blow into each hole with your mouth (wearing a mask).
  • Remove any remaining debris from inside each hole by poking it out with a toothpick or paper clip. Be careful not to damage any electrical wiring or contacts inside the well during this step.

Check the integrity of the porcelain insulator and center electrode

Check the integrity of the porcelain insulator and center electrode. This is called “checking” or “inspecting” your spark plugs and should be done at every oil change or at least every 30,000 miles, to make sure nothing serious is going on inside those little metal cylinders.

Remove any carbon buildup with a wire brush, compressed air or by using an ordinary pencil eraser. If there’s still some carbon left behind after cleaning with a wire brush, try spraying some WD-40 onto a rag and rubbing it onto the plug threads until all traces of carbon are gone.

Put your clean spark plugs back into your engine

Cleaning your spark plugs is an important maintenance task that can save you time and money in the long run. Spark plugs have a lifespan of about 60,000 miles, so if yours are dirty, it’s time to clean them.

While cleaning your spark plugs, keep in mind that you’ll need to replace them soon. Follow these steps:

  • Use a wire brush attachment on your electric drill to remove any carbon buildup on the electrodes or insulator.
  • Spray the electrodes with carburetor cleaner, but don’t get any cleaner on the insulator or threads.
  • Let the carburetor cleaner sit for five minutes and then use a rubber hose to spray off all of the dirt and grime from inside the cylinder head.
  • If there’s still some dirt left behind after cleaning with carburetor cleaner, use a small amount of mineral spirits on a rag or paper towel and wipe clean.


You can clean your spark plugs every five thousand miles to avoid engine problems. Spark plugs are one of the most important parts of your car, and it’s a good idea to give them some additional cleaning from time to time. Spark plugs can sometimes be difficult to clean, though, but once you’ve finished the job, it will be much easier the next time around.