How to Clean a Carburetor on a Small Engine

For years I have been asking people “How do you clean a carburetor on a small engine”? The reason I ask that question is simple, I have had people try to clean their carburetors on their bikes, lawnmowers, ATVs, golf carts, and so on.


The first step was always the same, you would take off the carbs, shake them out, spray the water on them and then get your trusty power tool and start hacking away clean a carburetor. Some people even used regular detergent to clean the carburetor. No one seemed to have any success in cleaning a carburetor on a small engine.

Restored, Air Cool, Engine, Rear Engine

This led me to my first little secret piece of information; you don’t need a carburetor cleaner to clean a carburetor on a small engine. In fact, you can clean a carburetor on a small engine by using plain old baking soda.

Yes, baking soda, I heard you already know this right? Well, it’s true, but you need to make sure you use a clean lint-free cloth to wipe out all the little pieces of crud that just spilled out when you were trying to clean a carburetor on a small engine.

After spraying your bike down with the cleansing cloth and taking it down to see if you actually have any dirt left, if you don’t you then you have cleared yourself to go ahead and clean the carburetor with your carburetor cleaner. Most carburetor cleaners are designed to clean out the entire system, which leaves just a few stubborn bits to get cleaned with plain old baking soda.

With any luck, you should be able to clean a carburetor on a small engine like this without too much difficulty. The cleaner will come with its own cleaning solutions and whatever you need to do to clean the carburetor should be in those solutions, such as carburetor cleaner, air cleaner, and so forth. If it doesn’t come with its own cleaning solution then you can buy that from the manufacturer of your bike and should be easy to get.


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