The 8 Best Hand Cleaners for Mechanics

Many mechanics will agree that dry grease and worn engine oil leave the hands dirty. And there is only so much regular hand soap can do to remove these stains. The best hand cleaners for mechanics must have adequate power to cut through tough stains, particularly grease, oil, and other grime that mechanics regularly deal with.

Best Hand Cleaners for Mechanics

So we decided to sort through the host of mechanic hand cleaners to compile a list of the highest quality solutions capable of eliminating even semi-permanent stains. Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner is our top pick, as the solution was formulated with non-toxic bentonite clay that cuts through worsts automotive grimes and leaves the hand grime free.

Top Pick
Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner
  • Scrubbing agent: Bentonite clay
  • Other additives: Pumice and lime oil
  • Product type: Liquid hand soap
  • Size: 8oz. Bottle
  • Other Sizes: Also available in 64 oz. Countertop Jug
Best Hand Wipes
Gojo Dual Textured Scrubbing Wipes
  • Scrubbing agent: Gojo’s heavy-duty cleaning solution
  • Other additives: Skin conditioner and citrus scent
  • Product type: Hand wipes
  • Size: Bucket contains 72 hand wipes
  • Other Sizes: Wipes are also available in a 25, 130, or 225 bucket
Best Soap Bar
Lava Pumice Heavy Duty Bar Soap
  • Scrubbing agent: Pumice-based cleaners
  • Other additives: Skin moisturizer
  • Product type: Bar Soap
  • Size: A pack of 6 bars
  • Other Sizes: Also available in single and twin packs

Best Hand Cleaners for Mechanics

  1. Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner (Top Pick)
  2. Gojo Dual Textured Scrubbing Wipes (Best Hand Wipes)
  3. Lava Pumice Heavy Duty Bar Soap (Best Soap Bar)
  4. Permatex Fast Orange Xtreme Cherry Scent (Also Great)
  5. Wonder Scrub Industrial Hand Cleaner (Best For Sensitive Skins)
  6. Tub O’ Scrub (Waterless Hand Cleaner )
  7. Extreme Green Full Bore Hand Scrub (Good For Cracks and Cuts)
  8. DIY Solution
Top Pick
Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner
  • Scrubbing agent: Bentonite clay
  • Other additives: Pumice and lime oil
  • Product type: Liquid hand soap
  • Size: 8oz. Bottle
  • Other Sizes: Also available in 64 oz. Countertop Jug

Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner is our top pick for the best mechanic hand cleaner. This hand cleaner was specifically formulated for automotive grime and removing grease. 

The lotion-based hand cleaner uses bentonite clay as its primary cleaning agent instead of detergents or other harsh chemicals that could irritate the skin. The solution is very potent and does a great job absorbing oil, grime, or other stubborn stains that get onto your hands while working.

It also includes gritty textured pumice and lime oil for double cleaning power. The heavy-duty pumice soap also has coconut oil to help moisturize the skin and leave your hand soft after washing. This hand cleaner is perfect for mechanics with sensitive skins, DIYers, painters, or anyone that tend to get their hands dirty with stubborn stains.

Pros

  • Great for sensitive skin.
  •  It contains gritty textured pumice for double cleaning power
  • Leaves your hand moisturized

Cons

  • Hands feel greasy on application until after rinsing.
Best Hand Wipes
Gojo Dual Textured Scrubbing Wipes
  • Scrubbing agent: Gojo’s heavy-duty cleaning solution
  • Other additives: Skin conditioner and citrus scent
  • Product type: Hand wipes
  • Size: Bucket contains 72 hand wipes
  • Other Sizes: Wipes are also available in a 25, 130, or 225 bucket

As a mechanic, there are times you have to quickly clean off grime from your hand to switch between tasks. Or a mobile mechanic that’s always on the go without access to water. We also tested several heavy-duty scrubbing wipes to help in both instances. Of all the brands tested, Gojo’s Dual Textured Scrubbing Wipes delivered exceptional cleaning performance. 

The wipes are 30% stronger than others and great for auto mechanics that need to clean off tough dirt or grime from their hands. The wipes are pre-moistened with Gojo’s heavy-duty cleaning solution making them very effective against oil, grease, paint, adhesives, tar, or other heavy-duty cleanings. 

The wipes are dual textured with a gritty side for cleaning heavy grease and a smooth side for a more gentle clean. It comes well packed in a bucket, and unlike other wipes that pull out multiple towels with each pull, Gojo’s wipes tear smoothly right at the perforation.

It also contains skin conditioners and a fresh citrus scent to prevent skin irritation and leave your hand smelling fresh after cleaning.

Pros

  • Quick and convenient means to get rid of stubborn stains from dirty hands without water
  • Perfect for auto mechanics that are always on the go
  • It can also be used for cleaning surfaces
  • Leaves the hands moisturized

Cons

  • Best suited for light greases and oils
  • The towels can dry out if not properly stored
Best Soap Bar
Lava Pumice Heavy Duty Bar Soap
  • Scrubbing agent: Pumice-based cleaners
  • Other additives: Skin moisturizer
  • Product type: Bar Soap
  • Size: A pack of 6 bars
  • Other Sizes: Also available in single and twin packs

Although introduced in 1893, Lava soap bar has remained popular among automotive mechanics because it helps cut through even the most powerful grease or grime. The bar soap uses pumice particles, a byproduct of volcanic activity, to exfoliate and scrub through stains. 

And like other hand cleaners, Lava bar soap has additional moisturizing agents to ensure it is soft on your hands and leaves them smelling fresh after cleaning. The soap bar also cuts through tough messes like mud, glue, paint, ink, tar, or other dirt. So it is also suitable for DIYers, automotive enthusiasts, gardeners or other hard-working hands that tend to get soiled with grime. 

Pros

  • The soap cuts through tough grimes and grease
  • Leaves your hand smooth with a subtle scent after use

Cons

  • Requires multiple hand washing to eliminate the grime
Also Great
Permatex Fast Orange Xtreme Cherry Scent
  • Scrubbing agent: Pumice-based cleaners
  • Other additives: Skin moisturizer
  • Product type: Bar Soap
  • Size: A pack of 6 bars
  • Other Sizes: Also available in single and twin packs

Permatex has already solidified its spot in the hand cleaner industry with its waterless Fast Orange hand cleaner. It even took some steps further by introducing the Fast Orange Xtreme hand cleaner, formulated to obliterate the toughest automotive stains. It has extra 10% cleaning power over its original hand cleaner. 

The pumice-based cleaner has sufficient stripping force to eliminate the toughest grease, oil, grime, tar, adhesives, asphalt, carbon, epoxies, paint, odors, ink, or other stubborn stains with ease. The hand cleaner also moisturizes to protect the hands from drying out and leaves off a cherry scent after eliminating the stains. One pump of the hand cleaner on your greasy palm is enough to work the magic.

Pros 

  • The soap removes tough grease stains
  • Moisturizes your hands after cleaning
  • The refreshing cherry scent eliminates all odors 

Cons

The cherry scent isn’t the best

Best For Sensitive Skins
Wonder Scrub Industrial Hand Cleaner
  • Scrubbing agent: Pumice-based cleaners
  • Other additives: Skin moisturizer
  • Product type: Bar Soap
  • Size: A pack of 6 bars
  • Other Sizes: Also available in single and twin packs

Wonder Scrub Industrial Hand Cleaner is the best soap for sensitive skin. Unlike other mechanic hand-cleaning products that use harsh solvents or hazardous ingredients, this solution uses cosmetic-grade walnut shell scrubbers. 

The walnut shell scrubber is gentle on the skin and has extra degreasing power to penetrate and remove the toughest industrial soils. So whether you are dealing with grime, grease, asphalt, carbon, adhesives, ink, resins, tree sap, or any other stubborn stain, the solution works really well. 

To top it all, the soap rinses off easily and is infused with skin-conditioning moisturizers so as not to leave your hand dry. 

Pros

  • Extra cleaning power for eliminating stubborn grease and grime
  • Infused with walnut shell scrubbers which are milder on the skin than pumice.
  • It contains moisturizer to protect and lubricate the skin
  • Suitable for the most sensitive skin and cold weather

Cons

  • The after-smell isn’t too good
Waterless Hand Cleaner
Tub O' Scrub
  • Scrubbing agent: Cosmetic-grade walnut shell
  • Other additives: Lanolin, Aloe, Vitamin E, and Citrus scent
  • Product type: Liquid hand soap
  • Size: 1.89 L (64 fl oz)
  • Other Sizes: Also available in 18 oz. squeeze bottle and 128 oz. jug

Tub O’ Scrub is another heavy-duty hand cleaner for mechanics. The lotion-based cleaner eliminates stubborn oil, grease, or grime without using water. It also uses a biodegradable cosmetic-grade walnut shell as its scrubbing agent. So you don’t have to worry about your drain getting clogged. 

Tub O’ Scrub formulation solution is infused with lanolin, aloe, and Vitamin E to leave your hand soft and moisturized after use. This hand cleaner also has a citrus scent to help eliminate odors and leave your hand smelling fresh. So, whether you are working on a home improvement project or a regular DIYer, this heavy-duty cleaner will cut through whatever grime you’ve got on your hands after a long day’s work.

Pros

  • The lotion-based solution works without water
  • The soap uses biodegradable and environmentally friendly shells
  • Contains emollients that leave the hands soft and moisturized after use

Cons

  • You may need to scrub for a longer period to get rid of tough stains
Good For Cracks and Cuts
Extreme Green Full Bore Hand Scrub
  • Scrubbing agent: Soft scrubbers
  • Other additives: Non-greasy moisturizers
  • Product type: Hand scrub
  • Size: 0.473 L (16 fl oz)
  • Other Sizes: Also available in 16 oz., 64 oz., 4 gallons, and 55 gallons kegs.

Extreme Green Full Bore Hand Scrub uses all-natural ingredients to clean grease and oil stains from hands. The all-natural hand cleaner contains soft scrubbers that reach into crevices to clean your hands. The scrubber pack sufficient grit to cut through tough stains but is still gentle on the hands.

It has a natural PH formulation suitable for open cuts, scrapes, or cracks. The product is also infused with non-greasy moisturizers to soften the skin and prevent dryness after cleaning. It can also remove paint, glue, adhesives, printer ink, or other stubborn stains. 

Pros

  • Solvent free formulation
  • The hand cleaner helps to heal cuts and cracks
  • Keeps the hand soft and moisturized after washing

Cons

  • The formula has changed, and it no longer works for poison ivy

DIY Solution

We are rounding off our list with easy DIY solutions that can be used to remove automotive stains. Vegetable or olive oil is a powerful degreaser and will eliminate even the tackiest grease. Get a paper towel and pour the oil on the towel. Rub the towel into your hands, and the oil will slowly but surely break down the stain. You can pour more oil to remove the remaining dirt.

Regular hand soap mixed with coffee grinds, baking soda, or sugar is another make-do degreaser. Pour the soap into your hand and mix with either of the three. Scrub your hands until the stain removes before rinsing off the mixture. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive since most of the ingredients are usually readily available
  • Free from solvents and harsh chemicals

Cons

  • Most make-do cleaning solutions require extra scrubbing effort and takes time to eliminate the grime.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Hand Cleaner

Whenever you are in the market for a hand cleaner, you shouldn’t decide to settle for a product because it promises to deliver the best cleaning result. You must always consider some factors before going through with the purchase. These factors include:

1. Ingredients

Before buying a hand cleaner, you want to check that the ingredients used are safe. Several hand cleaners contain harsh chemicals, solvents, or detergents as their active ingredient. 

When these ingredients are used repeatedly, they can cause dry hands or cracked skin. Interestingly, these dangerous chemicals do great work in removing stubborn grimes. But they usually leave an unpleasant odor and aren’t so great for health. 

With improvements in research and developments, safe and environmentally friendly mechanic hand cleaners, equally as powerful as those containing harmful chemicals, are becoming more popular. You want to settle for safe and eco-friendly stuff. So check the packaging to confirm that the product doesn’t include any ingredient that could pose health risks.

2. Scrubbing agent

After checking that the product doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, the next thing to check is the product’s cleaning agent. The cleaning agent makes all the difference in the product’s effectiveness against stubborn grease and the scrubbing effort required to loosen the dirt. 

The most popular cleaning agents in the heavy-duty hand-cleaning industry include pumice, bentonite clay, citric acid, and walnut shells. 

  • Pumice is a rough textured rock obtained from volcanic activity. The coarse nature of the pumice provides the grit needed to eliminate automotive grease. The major downside of a pumice-based cleaner is that it can leave your hand sore after washing. 
  • Bentonite clay is another by-product of volcanic activity used as a cleaning agent to clean stubborn dirt. It is formed from the alteration of ancient volcanic ash.
  • Citrus acid is also an eco-friendly cleaning agent found in citrus fruits. It is very effective in removing grimes but may require a little effort and few pumps of the product to eliminate the stubborn grime.
  • Crushed walnut shells are another abrasive commonly used as cleaning agents in mechanic hand cleaners. Besides being used as cleaning agents, they are also widely used for other cleaning applications.

3. Moisturizing effect

The moisturizing effect of the hand cleaner is another factor to consider when picking a good hand cleaner for mechanics. And it is even more important if you have sensitive skin, as products without moisturizing ingredients will leave your hand dry and susceptible to irritation. 

Hand cleaners containing emollients leave the hand moisturized and soft after cleaning, eliminating dryness and possible skin irritation. You should check that the product contains moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, olive oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, etc. Having a soft and properly moisturized hand after a long day at work will help to ease off stress. 

4. Scent

Washing off the dirt from your hand alone is not enough. You also want to check that the solution removes any foul odor that the dirt may leave. Nowadays, manufacturers infuse different scents into their formula to ensure that it eliminates any unpleasant smell the grime may leave behind. 

Although most liquid soaps promise to leave the hand smelling clean and fresh, not all of them deliver. Take time to research the product to ensure it does get rid of foul odors. And to check that the product has a pleasant scent. 

5. Individual needs

The type of hand cleaner suitable for every mechanic will vary according to their individual needs. A heavy-duty scrubbing wipe or waterless hand cleaner would be best suited for a mobile mechanic who is always on the go. On the other hand, a gallon of Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner placed by the sink or washing area is the best for an automotive garage.

Benefits of Using Hand Cleaner

1. The easiest way to remove grease and grime

Although there are several DIY methods on the internet on how to eliminate tough stains, none is still as convenient as using a hand cleaner solution. Hand cleaners are also of different types and designed for different purposes, from scrubbing wipes for easy use while on the go to waterless cleaners that eliminate even the toughest stains without water. 

2. They can also be used for other purposes

Besides being used for cleaning dirty hands, most mechanic hand cleaners are often multi-purpose. Their degreasing power can also strip off tough stains from other surfaces like rugs, clothes, etc.

3. It keeps the hands moisturized and smells nice

The majority of the products on the market also include emollients that help keep the hand moisturized and smelling nice after cleaning. Manufacturers infuse different scents, from citrus to cherry, to eliminate the odors from the dirt.

FAQs

What do car mechanics use to clean their hands?

Mechanics use degreasers to clean their hands. Hand cleaners formulated for removing automotive grimes is still the most convenient and quickest way for mechanics to eliminate tough stains from their hands.

Is Fast Orange as good as Gojo Natural Orange?

Both hand cleaners are great products and do a great job removing stubborn stains from the hand. However, we prefer the Fast Orange hand cleaner to Gojo Natural Orange or other cleaners because it does a better job cleaning stains that are deep in your hands. 

What removes motor oil from the skin?

Scrubbing with a solution of dish soap mixed with baking soda, sugar or coffee grinds would get the motor oil off your skin. However, as a mechanic or regular DIYer, you should have a hand cleaner within reach since they do a better job eliminating the toughest stains. 

Does dish soap remove grease from hands?

Yes, it does, but it is most effective when mixed with baking soda or sugar. They add the grit needed to cut through the grease stains. 

Does baking soda remove motor oil?

Yes, it does, but it needs to be paired with liquid soap to get the most result. While the baking soda provides the grit needed to cut through, the dish soap helps to dissolve and wash away the motor oil.

How do you get oil and grease off your hands?

You either use a degreaser or a homemade solution of liquid soap and baking soda. 


Final thoughts

Mechanics can only get so much done with gloves on, as there are plenty of dirty tasks to be done. Moreover, the gloves won’t cover from the wrist to the elbow, which could also get covered in grime when working in hard-to-reach areas. So having a degreaser you can always trust to wash off stubborn stains is very important.

To make cleaning up after a greasy transmission job easy, we tested several heavy-duty hand cleaners and compiled a list of the best hand cleaners for mechanics.

Grip clean hand cleaner, our top pick, delivers the best value and removes even caked-up grime under or around fingernails and other stubborn stains. Then there is Gojo’s dual scrubbing wipes for mobile mechanics who are always on the go and Lava soap bar for those who prefer bar soap to liquid.

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