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Top 5 Best Catalytic Converter Cleaner in 2021 | Easy Buying Guide


Top 5 Best Catalytic Converter Cleaner in 2021 | Expert Buying Guide

The work of a catalytic converter is to filter out gases and other harmful pollutants, then pass them out of the exhaust as nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which are less dangerous. Some of these pollutants, primary carbon, will start gathering in the catalytic converter during the filtration. 

After some time, the catalytic converter will stop working efficiently, and that is when you will need a cleaner to dissolve the build-up. 

This article will review five catalytic converter cleaners AutoZone to opt for and some considerations to consider so your vehicle engine can function correctly. 


Things to Consider When Buying Catalytic Converter Cleaner 

catalytic converter cleaner 1
catalytic converter cleaner 1
  • Engine compatibility

This is very important for you to consider before you settle for any brand of catalytic converter cleaner. 

Almost all converter cleaners work with gasoline-powered vehicles. However, if you’re driving a hybrid or diesel-powered car, you can’t settle for just any kind of cleaner. Before opting for the cleaner, check the engine compatibility on the label to see if you can use it. 

On this list, we will review some all-purpose cleaners you can use for any type of engine. 

  • Single or Multipack 

It depends on your choice because these cleaners are not that expensive, but if you want to save some cash, you can opt for multipack cleaners instead of a single pack. If you’ll be needing a catalytic converter cleaner for your car’s regular maintenance, then it’s best to opt for multipack because it will save you money in the long run. 

  • Full system or partial system

There are converter cleaners that offer complete system cleaning, and those provide partial system cleaning. The best types are those that provide complete system (entire exhaust system) cleaning. 

Catalytic converters are part of the exhaust system, so cleansing every aspect of the exhaust system will improve the overall functionality of the engine. Besides, you’ll be saving money, instead of buying separate cleansers for each part. 

  • Chemicals 

It’s understandable if you don’t understand the chemicals listed on the bottle of the cleanser. Instead of checking the chemicals, you can focus on these two words “stabilizers” and “fuel treatments”. If you see these on the bottle, that means the cleaner isn’t entirely a catalytic converter cleaner. However, you can still use it, but it is usually not as efficient as the real thing. 

  • Bottle size 

This is not much of a big deal when considering converter cleaners. But it’s worth mentioning that these cleaners come in different bottle sizes. The most common bottle size is 16 ounces. 

There is nothing wrong with opting for a bigger bottle size. However, you should know that the bigger the bottle, the more likely the cleaner will waste because it will start losing its potency. But if you use the cleaner for regular maintenance of your vehicle, you shouldn’t worry about this issue. 

  • Additives

If you check the labelling of some converter cleaners, you’ll notice they add different detergents (they usually make it obvious), and most of these ingredients offer nothing special. It’s just a marketing tactic to sell the cleaners at a much higher price. If you’re using a regular gas-powered car, a regular cleaner with no fancy additives will do the job perfectly for you. 


Best Catalytic Converter Cleaner

catalytic converter cleaner
catalytic converter cleaner

After Trying a couple of catalytic converter cleaner, I can say the following are my best catalytic.

  1. DURA LUBE Severe Catalytic and Exhaust Treatment Emissions Test Catalytic Cleaner 16 fl. oz, 1 Pack, HL-402409 — EDITOR’S CHOICE

This cleaner will protect your exhaust system from oil poisons, including your catalytic converter and other parts. It will reduce the pollutants in your car so you can enjoy optimal performance when driving. 

Moreover, it will help improve the efficiency of your fuel and protect the catalytic converter. It will also help with the retention level of zinc and phosphorus at the catalyst inlet and reduce the emissions from the tailpipe. 

If you plan to replace your catalytic converter, use this cleaner before the replacement. Also, use it when the warning light is on. 

Usage: You can use this Dura Lube catalytic converter cleaner for 5,000 miles or three months. 



Works fast


Last for only three months 

Works primarily with gasoline engines


  1. Motorkote Catalytic and Exhaust Treatment Emissions Control Catalytic Cleaner, MK-10351, 16 fl. oz, 1 Pack, Emissions Test 

This Motorkote catalytic and exhaust treatment and cleanser is one of the best cleaners that vehicle owners settle for. It’s an excellent cleanser that treats and protect your catalytic converter from oil poisons. Its popularity is due to the manufacturer’s impressive marketing techniques. 

With this cleaner, you won’t have to worry about carbon footprints because it will reduce them, thereby letting your car function efficiently. 

You can use this cleaner in all catalytic converters, as well as gasoline engines and oxygen sensors. Before taking your car for observation, you can use this cleaner so you’ll pass your emissions test.

It will also reduce the retention levels of zinc and phosphorus at the catalyst inlet. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the label. 

If you are going to replace the catalytic converter in your car, you can use this cleaner before the replacement. Also, use it when the warning light is on. 

Usage: This will last you for 7 000 miles or six months. 



Works fast

Last for six months


Works primarily with gasoline engines


  1. Cataclean 120007 Complete Engine, Fuel and Exhaust System Cleaner, 473 Milliliter 

This exhaust system cleaner by Cataclean will help reduce the carbon build-up in your catalytic converter so it can stay clean. Apart from cleaning the converter, you can use it to clean your vehicle’s fuel injectors, cylinder heads and oxygen sensors.

This cleaner won’t alter your vehicle’s fuel composition so that you can use it for hybrid, gasoline, or diesel engines.  Besides, it will cover the total hydrocarbon emissions of your car by about 50 per cent, which means a better driving experience. 

The Catalytic Converter will solve your drivability issues like hard starts, hesitation and power reduction. It’s also a great choice of cleaner to use before an emissions test. 

When planning to replace your catalytic converter, you can use this cleaner during its installation. 

Cataclean 120007 cleaner is one of the few catalytic converter cleaners that is widely accepted in different regions. Over 50 other states allow the use of this cleaner because it complies with VOC and OTC regulations. Also, it meets the Federal low sulphur content requirements. 

You can use this cleaner on non-road engines if you have any around, and you can also use it in vehicles that run on diesel. However, do not use it in gas mix engines, 2-stroke or oil. 

Usage: The manufacturer recommends using this cleaner four times a year for the protection and maximum performance of your vehicle. 



Works fast 

Works with different types of engine




  1. Rislone Cat Complete Fuel, Exhaust & Emissions System Cleaner, Check Engine Light Medic 

Rislone cat is another impressive converter cleaner. Its chemicals include high-performing detergents that work well for heavy cleaning. These solvents will scrub and remove carbon build-up, soot, oil residue, and any other contaminants from catalytic converters, fuel injectors, turbo, combustion chamber, EGR, and oxygen sensors. This cleaner is like a multi-cleaning agent for your vehicle. 

The gases created in the combustion process will react with the active chemical agents to remove any deposit that remains. After the removal, the functionality of your vehicle will increase, and with regular use, you’ll be able to maintain this efficiency. 

As fuel is burned and you’ve poured the cleaner in your car, the creation of contaminating byproducts will occur; then, it will be circulated throughout the components of your vehicle. However, if you’re situated in cold weather, or your vehicle has poor quality fuel, or you don’t properly maintain your car. The number of deposits and contaminants will increase fast inside the systems and lead to component failure, regardless of the cleaning oil you added. 

If applied the right way, this cleaner will cleanse your vehicle and save gas, as well as increase performance and power. You can use this cleaner on hybrid, gasoline, and ethanol vehicles. 

Even with its heavy-duty cleaning agents, this cleaner won’t make the warranty by the vehicle’s manufacturer void.  

Usage: The manufacturer recommends using this cleaner every 5,000 miles to tune up the fuel, exhaust, and emissions system so it can prevent the CEL light from returning. 



Cleans more parts of an exhaust system




  1. Cataclean (120007-2PK) Fuel and Exhaust System Cleaner – 16 fl. oz., (Pack of 2) 

This is another catalytic converter cleaner by Cataclean that does its cleansing job nicely. You can use it to reduce the carbon build-up of your vehicle’s catalytic converter, as well as cylinder heads, oxygen sensors, and fuel injectors.  

You can use this cleaner without worrying about it altering fuel composition. Besides, its cleaning is impressive, and it has been tested and shown to reduce the total hydrocarbon emissions by up to 50 per cent. 

If you face drivability issues (hard starts, power reduction, hesitation), this cleaner will solve them. Also, it’s one of those cleaners you can use before an emissions test as pre-treatment so you can pass the test. 

When planning to replace your catalytic converter, you can use this cleaner during its installation. 

You can use it for hybrid, diesel, and gasoline vehicles. Also, if you’ve non-road engines, you can use this cleaner on them. However, don’t use it in gas mix engines and 2-stroke or oil. 

Cataclean 120007-2PK cleaner is one of the few catalytic converter cleaners that is widely accepted in different regions. Over 50 other states allow the use of this cleaner because it complies with VOC and OTC regulations. Also, it meets the Federal low sulphur content requirements. 

Usage: follow the instructions on the label for safe use. 



Works fast 

Works with different types of engine




How to Use Catalytic Converter Cleaner 

There is a reason why companies manufacture catalytic converter cleaners instead of you just using ordinary soaps. These soaps may be corrosive and will damage the converter. 

You might see articles online tagged “DIY”, stating you can substitute catalytic converter cleaners for homemade soaps or certain store-bought soaps. To be on the safe side, you should ignore these methods and stick to a scientifically proven way. This alone provides an answer to the famous question, “does catalytic converter cleaner work?”

Steps to take —

  1. Get your best catalytic converter cleaner ready and buy some fuel in a gallon or any container of your choice. 
  2. Open your vehicle’s fuel tank. Check the instructions on the cleaner bottle to see the quantity needed and the fuel quantity, so your car will be perfectly cleansed. 
  3. After pouring it, start the engine, then take a drive around your neighbourhood. This will allow the cleaner to circulate and clean the whole exhaust system. Also, check the cleaner label; it will state how long you should drive. The cleaner will break down the build-up in your converter and clean it in the process. 

However, you should know that this isn’t the mode of application for all brands of catalytic converter cleaners. Some brands might require you to level the fuel in your tank before pouring the cleaner.  

The method you’ll use to clean your catalytic converter shouldn’t bother you. The manufacturer usually includes the application process on the packaging of the cleaner. 

After cleaning your catalytic converter and the check engine light is still on and still pulling up the code stating your catalytic converter is faulty, then maybe you’ll have to get a new converter. You can also take it to a mechanic to check it out for you because the converter might have been installed wrongly, and he might also notice signs of a clogged catalytic converter. 



Now that you know some of the best catalytic converter cleaners with their pros and cons, it will be easier to choose based on needs and preferences. We also included a guide on cleaning your catalytic converter because getting a quality cleaner is half the battle; the other struggle is its maintenance. 

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