Solvents are used to clean and prepare a surface for priming, painting, or just to cleanse a surface of unwanted residue and contaminants. For removing oil, tar, grease, sticker adhesive, bugs, dirt and more, you’ll want a quality solvent that eats through it so it can easily be removed.

Some solvents are more geared towards particular jobs, so you’ll want the best chemical for the job. When using solvents, always wear the proper safety gear and use only in a well ventilated area. Here are the top 10 best car solvents of 2019.

10. Green Hornet Super Concentrate Cleaner/Degreaser by Walex



The Green Hornet Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser by Walex is super concentrated to help you take care of those tough problems quicker. For engine degreasing, it is recommended to dilute at a 1:5 ratio.

For less intense jobs, like cleaning auto finishes before waxing, dilute at a 1:30 ratio. For vinyl interiors, dilute at a 1:40 ratio. For automobile bumpers, dilute at a 1:50 ratio. This stuff is incredibly strong and if you do end up using it for household cleaning, dilute at a 1:90 ratio.

This biodegradable and non-flammable liquid is gentle to our environment and strong against contaminants and other unwanted problems like built on tar, grease, and road film. Available in 64 oz containers only, this is a worthwhile purchase that will allow you to get more done with less.

9. Orange Degreaser Citrus Cleaner by 3D Auto Detailing Products



This Orange Citrus Degreaser Cleaner from 3D Auto Detailing Products comes concentrated to allow for a safe and powerful cleaning. This can be diluted at a 1:20 ratio with water and will still easily work against tree sap, bird droppings, tar, gum, adhesives, grease and other hard stuck on contaminants on your car’s interior/exterior, both painted surfaces, wheels, rims, and tires.

The green organic cleanser can be diluted down and used to clean your car’s carpet and upholstery to work against set in stains and dirt, grime, and other buildup that has accumulated.

Orange Degreaser be used to help remove road grime, tar, and tree sap from the surface of your car’s paint without risk of damaging it. This is a wonderful degreaser that will work to remove adhesives, tree sap and others while still being environmentally friendly, organic and safe for use.

The citrus scent is a godsend when most other cleaning chemicals of this type have a strong pungent odor to them. Great for cleaning your car seats, or removing sticky residue on the interior of your car, this can also be used around the house to clean your kitchen countertops to take care of any strong sticky residues that have accumulated.

8. Plasti Dip Dissolver by Performance Corvettes



The Dip Dissolver by Performance Corvettes is a solution that will turn unwanted Plasti Dip back into an aqueous solution so it can be washed away. If you’ve applied Plasti Dip onto your car’s surface and a section ended up being too thin to peel off easily, this dip dissolver is the best choice for removing that Plasti Dip.

When Plasti Dip is applied too thinly and needs to be removed, it sometimes is difficult to remove because it will peel off in small chunks instead of easily in one solid piece. Apply this Dip Dissolver to re-liquify the dip and you’ll be able to wash it off with ease instead.

Be careful using this around black trim or with dark colored paint, as there may be lightening/discoloration involved that may be difficult to undo. This can also be used to remove custom wraps and other films. Apply liberally, wait for the solution to work into the plasti dip, then you should be able to rinse off using a power washer or heavy duty sprayer hose. 

7. Safety Solvent Cleaner by Oil Flo



The Safety Solvent Cleaner by Oil Flo is a non-volatile water-soluble solvent cleaner that will work wonders at removing tar, sealant, cleaning asphalt, asphalt overspray, industrial equipment, oil stains, organic stains, adhesive residues and more.

Available in a 16 oz solution or a gallon container for bulk applications, most will find the 16oz bottle is enough as it is capable of cleaning 400 square feet. The bottle does not come with a spray attachment but we recommend utilizing a spray head for easy application.

For removing graffiti, permanent marker, oily films, caulk, and more, this slow evaporating solvent will work to remove them with ease. Apply the safety solvent cleaner and let it dissolve the contaminants so that they can easily be rinsed away. It is recommended to use in a well ventilated area and wear proper safety gear when handling this as it does have a strong solvent odor. 

6. Prep Solvent-70 by 3M



The Prep Solvent-70 by 3M is a water-based solvent that will remove grease, oils, wax, and silicone quickly and effectively. In the event that you need to prep a surface for painting or priming, you’ll want to clean it thoroughly with a solvent like this one.

This can be used to eliminate sticky, oily residues, wax, tar, or any stubborn substances on the surface that you’ll be getting ready to prime or paint. Residues that are left on the surface after painting will quickly be visible and apparent, so it’s best to use a quality solvent like 3M’s Prep Solvent to take care of those first.

The one downside of this prep solvent is that it is only sold in the one gallon container, and that may be far more than you’ll need for a simple project. As long as you have a decent place to store this, you won’t regret having it when you need it most. Note that this is rated at 65g/L Volatile Organic Compound. Purchasing or owning VOCs is limited or restricted in some municipalities, so this may not be available for purchase in your area.

5. Auto Tar, Wax, and Grease Remover by Granitize



The Tar, Wax, & Grease Remover by Granitize is a premixed ready to use solvent for use on exterior surfaces. This is safe to use on any cured painted surface that is in need of a strong cleaner to get rid of wax, grease, oil, tar, or any other residues that you’re having trouble removing otherwise. As a prep for painting, welding, or priming, this heavy duty solvent will eat through grease, contaminants, silicone or wax and allow them to be wiped off with ease.

This comes in a one gallon metal can and cannot be returned due to special shipping restrictions. We recommend to shake the can incredibly well before using it on your desired surface.

Be cautious that you transfer this to an appropriate container for spraying and use caution not to overspray as this may eat through most unhardened plastics and rubber trim. Use in a well ventilated area with the proper safety gear and dispose of any towels after utilizing this product.

4. Bug-Out Insect Removal by CarPro



For cross country drivers or anyone in areas infested with bugs, this Bug-Out Insect Removal spray from CarPro is your solution. This will act quickly and to attack and dissolve the carcasses of bugs.

This is a powerful cleaner that easily does the job when it comes to getting rid of dead bugs on your windows or windshield. This is also safe for nano-coatings, or ceramic coatings that have been applied to your paint. As always, follow instructions for the best results.

3. Label & Sticker Remover by Turtle Wax



For stuck on stickers, labels, and parking tags that just won’t come off, Label & Sticker Remover by Turtle Wax is there to help you out. This adhesive residue remover will take care of problem spots on painted surfaces, paint, and glass. Citrus extract enhances its ability to dissolve and help you remove stickers, tape residue, labels, crayon, lipstick, marker, window stickers and adhesive parking stickers that have been adhered to your cars paint or glass.

This safe for car paint sticker remover can also help you remove the leftovers of a clear bra that has been applied to your car. Great for home use, this will take care of any gunk and glue that has been hard to remove, even if it’s been stuck on for years. Make sure to test for fogging, as some reviewers claim that there have been incidents of permanent fog damage being left on their vehicle after it was accidentally applied to the wrong place.

2. Uber Iron Remover by Wolfgang



Removing iron particles from your paint, wheel fenders, windows, wheels, rims, and pretty much everywhere they accumulate is an important part of the detailing process. The Concours Series Iron Remover from Wolfgang is one of the best we found for bonding with those iron contaminants, allowing you to quickly and easily remove them from your car or truck.

By removing that iron, dirt, dust, and debris from your paint, you’ll really be able to brin-g that shine that is hidden underneath. Uber Iron Remover will change colors as it activates, meaning you can see it working.

This will start to bond with and break up those brake dust, dirt, and other road particles that have become embedded in your paint so that they can be wiped away with ease. It comes in a convenient spray bottle for easy application. Simply spray on, wait for the formula to change colors, then use a clay bar or detailing brush to pull those iron particles off.

1. HD-Cleanse by Zymöl



The HD-Cleanse by Zymol is a natural product made from lemon seed, apricot kernel, cocoa pod, pure coconut and montan oils that will clean and strip your car’s surface of any old wax residue allowing you to apply a new coat of wax.

The HD-Cleanse is the first step in cleaning and preparing the surface of your car for a new wax job. This will remove water spots, swirls marks, even paint overspray and will be the best preparation for waxing you can get. This will take care of previous layers of wax and will help your paint feel silky smooth before applying the new wax.

If you need to restore some old looking paint on your car, motorcycle, truck, or RV, this should be your first step in order to take care of road dirt, grease, tar, and other potential contaminants that you don’t want trapped and visible when you finish getting it ready with a final shine.