The best hand cleaners for mechanics are those using nonpolar solvents and compounds, such as natural oils and clays. Grease and oils are nonpolar compounds. Thus, you cannot effectively clean them using a polar solvent like water. So, what are the best hand cleaners for mechanics (source)?
Here are the 12 best hand cleaners for mechanics:
- Goop Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner
- Gojo Natural Orange
- Grip Clean
- Eagle Grit Mechanic’s Hand Cleaner
- M/A Wonder Scrub
- Permatex Fast Orange
- Full Bore Hand Cleaners
- Tub O’ Scrub and Towels
- Grime Boss Wipes
- Dymon Scrubs
- Zolex Hand Cleaner
- Zep TKO Hand Cleaner
The best hand cleaners for mechanics use a blend of solvents, citrus extracts, and scrubbing agents, such as pumice, and clays, like bentonite. Also, there are wipes to promptly clean your hands as they get messy. This article highlights the best of all these types of hand cleaners.
1. Goop Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner
Goop is one of the most popular brands of hand cleaners for mechanics. The trademark owner of Goop, Critzas Industries, Inc., has been manufacturing consumer staples and household products for more than seven decades now. And, their products have only gotten better in time.
The Goop Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner, (link to Amazon), isn’t the same as the original. Old-timers may recollect using the original Goop that didn’t require washing, but you have to rinse the contemporary variant after applying it on your hands and rubbing it thoroughly. Thus, the cleaning process isn’t entirely waterless.
However, the application and rubbing or scrubbing of your hands must be waterless. The Goop Orange hand cleaner uses pumice, natural citrus, and oils to eliminate grease and grime. The oils in the product call for rinsing, which is also the reason for the efficacy of the hand cleaner.
You may get the smallest 16 oz (~475 ml) bottle if you haven’t tried Goop before. Also, Critzas has a combo of Goop Hand Cleaner and Laundry Stain Lifter Remover (also available on Amazon). The non-toxic cleaners are biodegradable. You can conveniently remove:
The pumice in Goop Orange Waterless hand cleaner is not overly abrasive. Therefore, you may not experience any issues even if you have dry skin. However, some mechanics may prefer not to use pumice, especially when the grease on their hands is dry and rigid. Also, this product has a citrusy odor, almost identical to real oranges, if that’s something you may not like.
2. Gojo Natural Orange
Gojo Industries, Inc. invented Purell. The billion-dollar company also makes hand cleaners for mechanics, notably the Gojo Natural Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner (link to Amazon), which is among the highest-rated bestsellers on Amazon (source).
The 14 oz (414 ml) bottle is the smallest, and you will save handsomely with the pack of 2 Gojo Natural Orange. Like Goop, Gojo works exceptionally well to clean grease, dirt, and oils, but you may need to moisten the lotion at times because it’s not a completely waterless product.
Watch this video to see the almost identical results with Goop and Gojo:
I must acknowledge a caveat here that the greasy hands in the video don’t emulate real messes perfectly, but you can expect similar efficiency and efficacy with Gojo and Goop. Also, you may consider the combo of a pair of Gojo Natural Orange Pumice Hand Cleaners and 2 Sparklen Wooden Nail Brushes (available on Amazon as well) for those hard-to-clean recessed deposits of grime and grease.
3. Grip Clean
History has numerous tales of enterprising people solving seemingly insurmountable problems they had to endure personally. One such story is of Bryce Hudson and his company, Grip Clean. You may be familiar with Bryce and his brand if you are a fan of Shark Tank (source).
Grip Clean doesn’t have the kind of long legacy of Gojo or Goop, but it has an array of hand cleaners and related products to simplify at least one daily challenge of mechanics. A deserving bestseller on Amazon.com, the Grip Clean Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner is truly for mechanics and most personnel working in industrial settings, from the factories to tracks and beyond.
To absorb grease, stains, and toxins, Grip Clean uses the following ingredients:
- Kaolin clay
- Cosmetic-grade bentonite
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Lime oil
These oils are nonpolar solvents, thus effective at breaking down the grease on your hands. The clay and bentonite serve as the natural scrubbing agents for effective cleaning, but the product is gentle for all skin types.
Buy Grip Clean Ultra Heavy Duty Waterless Hand Cleaner 1.8L (64 fl oz) (link to Amazon).
4. Eagle Grit Mechanic’s Hand Cleaner
Eagle Grit is not necessarily more effective or efficient than Goop, Gojo, or Grip Clean. However, instead of pumice, the hand cleaner uses a silica formula to remove grease, dirt, and oils.
Many industrial or heavy-duty hand cleaners using pumice don’t lead to excessively dry hands or skin because they contain oils. However, some residual traces of pumice may clog your drain or plumbing. In contrast, Eagle Grit’s silica-based formula doesn’t pose any such problems (source).
Eagle Grit doesn’t contain harsh and abrasive chemicals. The micro-scrubbing effect of the product is water-activated, which means you need only a bit of the universal solvent to get going.
Buy Eagle Grit Mechanic’s Hand Cleaner (link to Amazon).
5. M/A Wonder Scrub
M/A Wonder Scrub (link to Amazon) is an effective hand cleaner for mechanics. The heavy-duty cleaner is a patented formula that claims to have industrial strength. This product is certainly a solution to get rid of all the grease, oil, grime, and water-based paints.
Thus, if you want to use a hand cleaner after an entire shift or day, Wonder Scrub is probably more useful than many other products. Also, you may need an industrial-strength cleaner when grease builds up, dries, and becomes rigid, almost embedded into your skin. Relatively moderate or mildly abrasive hand cleaners may not work in such extreme cases.
The only concern with Wonder Scrub Industrial Hand Cleaner is its composition. While the cosmetic-grade walnut shells and castor oil are natural ingredients, the other components are essentially chemicals and industrial products, including those derived from petroleum.
6. Permatex Fast Orange
Permatex Fast Orange (link to Amazon) is as effective as Wonder Scrub but without harsh chemicals. It’s available in multiple sizes, starting from 64 oz (1.8 liters) on Amazon.com. Also, it’s a reasonably priced hand cleaner for mechanics.
However, there is a catch. Permatex uses MicroGel, a trademarked formula containing glycerin, aloe, and lanolin. This product is indeed a gel, so you won’t get foamy, lathery, or frothy action. You’ll feel the pumice, but the natural skin conditioning agents make this MicroGel less abrasive, hence, gentler. Thus, one round of scrubbing may not work for rigid grease and oils. See this review:
On the positive side, this product is biodegradable. It doesn’t contain petroleum solvents, ammonia, and industrial chemicals. Also, the cleaning formula is waterless. Therefore, you won’t have a grease outbreak on your hands.
You may also want to check out the Permatex Fast Orange Hand Cleaner Wipes. Available in different packs or counts on Amazon, the orange-scented wipes are effective at removing:
The wipes have a textured side, and the other surface is smooth. Also, these wipes are suitable for your tools, work surfaces, and hands, of course. I like keeping a pack of cleaning wipes like these in the trunk of my wife’s car and behind the seat of my truck. They are very handy.
7. Full Bore Hand Cleaners
Full Bore has five hand cleaners for mechanics and other professionals working in industrial settings. This brand features quite late on this list, but it’s by no means inferior to the likes of Gojo, Goop, Grip Clean, or Wonder Scrub. Besides, this list is not ranking these products (source).
Full Bore is among the best you can get right now. The only concern is that you have to deal with a scrub, so a bit of effort is unavoidable as you apply the products like Extreme Green or Ultra Flow. Extreme Green is drier than Ultra Flow but also easier to rinse with water.
Watch the Full Bore Ultra Scrub and Extreme Green hand cleaners in action:
Full Bore Extreme Green Power Hand Scrub (link to Amazon) was known as Mean Green earlier. It’s a dry scrub with reasonable grittiness, working really well for professional mechanics. You can get rid of oils, grease, grime, dirt, and all kinds of messy filth without using any abrasive or harsh chemicals. The product doesn’t contain anything harsh that can irritate your skin or inflame a cut or crack.
The Full Bore Ultra Flow Scrub (also on Amazon) isn’t as dry and gritty as Extreme Green, so scrubbing is a little easier. However, you need more water to rinse it off, which may not be a concern for some. The brand also has a hand cleaner called Super Grit, formerly known as Tough Scrub. The Super Grit is essentially soap and pumice that works in the same way as Extreme Green (source).
The Full Bore Extreme Green works not only on grease, oils, and dirt but also on paints. Plus, the dry scrub is grittier than the likes of Permatex Fast Orange. The choice among these hand cleaners for mechanics will boil down to your personal preference and the severity of the mess you have to deal with every day or occasionally. See this review:
8. Tub O’ Scrub and Towels
Tub O’ Towels has two products serving as hand cleaners for mechanics. The Tub O’ Scrub Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner (available on Amazon) is waterless and contains walnut shells instead of pumice. This product has aloe and lanolin to moisturize your hands. Also, there are no petroleum-based products or solvents.
Like the scrub, Tub O’ Towels infuses Vitamin E in the industrial-strength formula for their wipes. The Tub O’ Towels Heavy Duty Cleaning Wipes (also on Amazon) can eliminate the following from hands or skin:
- Permanent marker
It can also work on different surfaces such as:
The wipes also have aloe vera and lanolin.
9. Grime Boss Wipes
Grime Boss Heavy Duty Hand Cleaning Wipes (link to Amazon) aren’t specifically for mechanics, certainly not for those working full-time. However, these wipes, available on Amazon.com, are of exceptional quality if you need a wipe or two when working on your car and anything that gets greasy and messy in your garage or studio.
These wipes have two distinct sides, one for wiping and the other for scrubbing. Also, since the wipes are moistened in the pack, you don’t have to worry about wetting rigid stains. Besides, the wipes don’t contain pumice, abrasive chemicals, or any compound that can damage your skin.
10. Dymon Scrubs
Mechanics don’t always have the luxury to wash their hands or spend a lot of time scrubbing & rinsing. Thus, one or two mildly abrasive hand cleaner towels, like Dymon Scrubs (also on Amazon), are handy while fixing something.
The Dymon Scrubs may not be for everyone. However, if you’re looking for something that can mitigate the mess, these heavy-duty towels with one grittier face can definitely clean the grease, grime, and dirt from your hands.
11. Zolex Hand Cleaner
Zolex Water-Activated Hand Cleaner (available on Amazon) is an eco-friendly stain remover for mechanics. There are no petroleum solvents or harsh chemicals. However, you must wet your hands before applying this paste. Thus, if gritty towels or wipes aren’t your thing, this non-toxic paste is definitely worth a try. Also, Zolex doesn’t contain pumice, despite being an excellent exfoliant.
12. Zep TKO Hand Cleaner
The last hand cleaner brand on this list is Zep. The Zep Store on Amazon has many products, some of which aren’t suitable for your purposes. For example, don’t go for the Super Cleaner or such variants, as they’re more for soily dirt and grime. The ZEP 96024 TKO Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner is for grease and messy hands of mechanics.
This cleaner doesn’t have industrial or petroleum-based solvents, but it contains pumice. The abrasive action of pumice does the job effectively, and the hand cleaner has lanolin, ensuring that your skin doesn’t suffer during all the rubbing and scrubbing.
Bonus: Fieldworks Good Clean Mud and O’Keefe
Last but not least, mechanics and others spending hours with greasy messes every day should check out Fieldworks Good Clean Mud and O’Keefe’s Working Hands Cream on Amazon as well. Fieldworks Good Clean Mud is a completely natural soap with bentonite, aloe, essential oils, and shea butter. And O’Keefe’s Working Hands Cream will protect your skin from cracking or getting alarmingly dry.