How to Clean Oil Pan After Oil Change

Those who are skilled enough to change the oil of their vehicle at home often think about, how to clean oil pan after oil change.

There are several ways of cleaning up the oil drain pan and funnels used for the DIY oil change, which are eco-friendly and simple. An oil pan is a metallic basin that is connected to the bottom of the engine block to store the motor oil.

The oil pump circulates the oil to all parts of the engine for lubrication and smooth run, from the oil pan. It serves as a reservoir for excessive oil when the engine is not using it.

With the constant storage of the engine oil, the oil pan needs cleaning after a regular oil change to remove the older oil residue. The impurities from the oil pan can mix with the new motor oil and compromise the performance of the engine.

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5 Steps to Clean an Oil Pan After Oil Change: 

There are a couple of simple ways in which you can clean your oil pan after the oil change. Here are some steps on how to clean oil pan:

Step 1: Gather your cleaning tools 

Before starting to take off the oil pan from the engine block for cleaning, make sure you have all of your cleaning stuff with you.

Tools Needed:

  • A strong dishwasher
  • Degreaser
  • Rags
  • Paper towels
  • High-pressure water source (hose nozzle)
  • Scrapers
  • Brush
  • Brake cleaner

You might not need all of these things for cleaning oil pan car but all of them serve different purposes. There are no right answers for which cleaning agent to use for removing residue from the oil pan.

It all depends on your satisfaction and availability of the cleaning chemicals. Some people use dishwasher liquids or detergents for removing residues, while others simply spray it with brake cleaner and get the job done.

Step 2: Scrub Oil With Plastic Scrapers

After taking the oil pan off the vehicle, there is oil on the metallic inner surface of the oil pan that you cannot remove by washing. This is why you need to scrap the large oily deposits first with plastic scrapers.

On the uneven surfaces of the oil pan, you can use paper towels to wipe the excess oil, but on the flat interior, plastic scrapers work the best. Once you scrap a large amount of the black oil, the surface looks somewhat grayish.

Get some more paper towels or rags to wipe off the scrapped oil residue from a somewhat cleaner inner flat surface.

Step 3: Soak It in Hot Water with A Strong Cleaning Agent  

After wiping and scraping the oil pan, now you can wash it will a strong detergent or any other cleaning agent. There are two ways to go about from the second step; both work just fine.

First, is that you spray your oil pan with brake cleaner and leave it for some time, and then wipe it off with rags or paper towels. This method is a bit less efficient because you won't be able to wipe all the irregular surfaces, plus you need a good supply of rags.

The second way is to take a large container with hot water and a strong cleaning agent or chemical solvent. Mix it well and soak the oil pan in it for some time.

Step 4: Wash it with high-pressure water

Now take out your oil pan from the soapy water and wash it thoroughly with a high-pressure water source. The high pressure of the water removes all the impurities from the irregular surfaces, which you can not wipe easily.

If you see any spot left unscraped, take a brush and scrub it while rinsing it through the water. Make sure to rinse the oil pan completely with hot high-pressure water.

You don’t want your oil pan to be deposited with leftover detergent from the washing as it can be bad for your new engine oil.

Step 5: Dry it with a cloth 

Once you are certain that all of the oil residue and the cleaning chemical has been removed from the oil pan, your oil pan is ready to be used.

Before applying it back to the engine block, make sure you dry the inner surface of the oil pan. You can use a simple cloth or paper towels to entirely remove the moisture from the oil pan.

Put the oil pan back and check for leaks, and your oil pan is good as new.

How Do You Clean an Engine After Draining Oil

Engine cleaning is divided into two types, one is cleaning the inside of the engine from sludge, and the other is cleaning the engine from outside to remove debris.

Both are important and have their own significance, however, after draining the oil, you need to clean the inside of the engine more. For that, you can simply use the fuel additive with detergency properties to remove the sludge from building up inside of the engine.

For cleaning the engine thoroughly, use a good engine flush agent to get rid of all the sludge from the engine. After draining the oil, take a strong degreaser with water and apply it on all the engine surfaces, let it sit for a couple of minutes.

If your engine has extreme debris and dust particles stuck on its surface, take a brush to scrub them off. Don’t forget to cover the electrical wires, plugs, and sensors before starting this process.

Then rinse all of the engine parts using your garden hose, and wipe off the excess water and it is done.


1. How do you clean an oil drain pan?

There is no certain way for cleaning the oil drain pan as it is used only to collect the old and dirty oil.

But if you want to clean it, simply lean it against some wall with its opening pointing downwards into a can. This way all of the oil leaves the drain pan and it becomes clean and dry.

2. Can frequent oil changes remove sludge?

Yes, one of the ways of cleaning sludge from the engine is by regular oil changes. A good quality engine oil has additives that prevent the sludge from forming inside the engine. The detergents in the synthetic oils dissolve sludge.

3. How do you flush out oil?

Add a strong engine flush cleaner to your engine right before draining the old oil. The engine flush agent removes the sludge from the inside of the engine. Then you can simply drain it with the old oil through the drain plug.

4. What fluid may be mixed with the engine oil for recycling?

To recycle engine oil, experts suggest not mixing it with other fluids like brake fluids or antifreeze. Instead, they recommend storing the used engine oil in a separate container and taking it to the oil collection center for proper recycling.

5. Should I drop my oil pan?

It depends on your oil change requirements, the condition of the oil pan, and the type of oil pan you have. For instance, steel oil pans tend to bend easily and should be dropped and replaced sooner than aluminum oil pans.


After a certain period of driving around, debris and sludge start to form in the oil pan and especially in the engine.

Changing the motor oil without cleaning the oil pan and the engine can decrease its performance in the longer run. The oil change at home leaves a lot of mess behind including the dirty oil pan and funnels.

With a step-step guide on scrubbing the engine and oil pan, the question of how do I clean up the mess after an oil change is answered. You can follow these easy steps to clean your oil pan and for funnels, simply clean them with paper towels.

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