How to Clean Exhaust Tips Effectively

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Cleaning your exhaust tips is easy and takes no time — said no one, ever. There would never be forum warfares on the best foams, sprays, or gels for it if everyone knew how to clean exhaust tips with some water and paper tissues. Here’s how it’s REALLY done. 

Don’t Waste Your Time on methods that Do Not Work

First of all — let’s deal with the time-tested ineffective methods. Here’s what will NOT work: 

  1. Water. It’s just not strong enough to clean your exhaust tips from anything but dust;
  2. Soap. What are you even trying to do, kill some microbes, or make your chrome exhaust really shine? 
  3. Paper towels. It’s a great way to waste some, but not a great way to get the cleaning done;
  4. Wheel cleaner. Sounds rational, works much, MUCH better than just water, but still — doesn’t get it done truly;
  5. Dishwashing liquids. Those are created to destroy fat, not carbon and years of discharge. 

These 5 things are probably the most obvious but trust us — not working ways. Here’s why. 

What makes Your Exhaust Tips Dirty 

Even though you can eliminate the dirt after some off-roading, it’s not the only substance that makes your exhaust dirty and prevents it from reflecting the sun like a mirror. The main substance is actually carbon. 

You see, your exhaust tips are there for a simple reason: to let the exhaust gas out. The exhaust gas — also called the flue gas — consists mostly of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. 

The carbon dioxide IS the part that makes your exhaust darken with age. 

The residue is resistant to water, soap, and all sorts of “ordinary” cleaning liquids. That’s the reason why you need a special approach. 

What You Need to Clean Exhaust Tips

You need, essentially, just three things: 

  1. Patience — since it’s more than 5 minutes (especially if you have 4 tips to clean); 
  2. A powerful cleaning agent — something that will be tough enough to get rid of carbon dioxide residue;
  3. And a tool, suitable for cleaning — but not scratching — chrome car parts, with extensive pressure applied. 

With patience — we’re pretty sure you’ll find a 15-minutes window in your schedule to enjoy the process of making your Jeep look better. No more comments on that. 

With liquid — it gets complicated. 

Best Liquid to Clean Exhaust Tips

You actually can choose just one or combine several: 

  1. Polishing Soap. A cleaning agent that will have some polishing abrasive in it. Basically, any polishing soap brand will do, just keep in mind that the abrasive shouldn’t be too big; 
  2. Degreasers. Toxic, so you’ll need some gloves. A powerful liquid that can destroy the residues in no time; 
  3. All-Purpose Agents. Those are made to get rid of pretty much everything, from plaque in your bathroom to… well, exactly the carbon residues on your exhaust pipes. 

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you need to read the instructions first, not to clean off all the skin from your hands. 

Sponge or Foam? 

You can use one of two options: 

  1. Wire wool;
  2. No-scratch sponge. 

We recommend buying wire wool since it’s almost perfect for the process. It doesn’t scratch the pipes (especially if you can find the fine grain one), gets the job done, and leaves no chances for residues. However, since it’s not really available everywhere (sadly) and you may not have time to drive to the nearest construction store, an ordinary sponge from your kitchen will do as well. Just don’t get the metal one — it will scratch the hell out of your exhaust and will completely ruin the process. 

here are the 10 steps that will give you the clean exhaust tips as the result. 

1. Wash them with water. You need this step to get rid of all the dirt and dust, but trust us — it’s not even nearly enough; 

2. Spray the washing liquid. In accordance with the instruction, either let it sit or proceed immediately; 

3. Wash them with a brush or a sponge. You can choose either the pure rubber or different stainless steel brush, or the wire wool we recommended above; 

4. Soak them in the water again. You need to wash the residue away. Rub with your fingers to check the structure (you will feel the difference between a perfectly clean chrome and chrome with a plaque of carbon residues) and then wash again if needed; 

5. Dry them. Get the finest towel you have (well, actually, get the one you wouldn’t mind disposing of right after, since it will — most likely — get dirty to the point of no return). 

That’s it! That’s how you clean your exhaust tips. Now they’re shiny and look new. Congratulations. 

We understand that you might be surprised. The process itself is not different from cleaning pretty much anything else, but the devil is in the details — your tools and your liquids of choice. 

Some Final Advice 

Before you start the process, check these few things first: 

  • Are you parked in your driveway? You know everything you wash down will fall directly to the ground. Since you already have an idea of how difficult it is to clean chrome from the carbon residues — imagine how nearly impossible it is to clean it off from your driveway. Either put something on the ground first or go to a place that’s already ruined (we don’t recommend cleaning your exhaust tips in a Walmart parking lot, though). 
  • Are you sure you’ve read the instructions? Don’t take the wire wool and the all-purpose hardcore cleaning liquids lightly. They can cause allergic reactions, seriously damage your skin, cause itching, and even chemical burns (if you, somehow, choose chlorine-based cleaners). Please, do NOT touch your eyes, or your face, and put a pair of rubber gloves on. 
  • Are you sure your exhaust tips really need cleaning? It might be just dirt that you can easily wash away with water, no need to play around with chemicals. Keep in mind that shiny exhaust tips on a dirty car… just won’t do the trick. 

Finally, don’t forget that your exhaust tips don’t get dirty on purpose, that’s just their job. They WILL inevitably get dirty again pretty soon. 

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