How to Clean Iridium Spark Plugs | Proper Techniques

If you want to keep your vehicle in peak condition. Then you must clean the spark plugs regularly. These are the little things in your engine that generate power to help ignite fuel. If they’re not cleaned regularly, they can become clogged with carbon deposits and dirt, which will make it difficult for them to do their job efficiently. So, how to clean iridium spark plugs? Let’s drive to the article.

clean iridium spark plugs

What are iridium spark plugs? 

If you have a vehicle with a high-performance engine, it’s pretty likely that it uses iridium spark plugs. These can withstand heat much better than normal ones and therefore last longer.

 Spark plugs that come standard in most engines are what you might call a nickel/chrome alloy, and they’re usually around three centimeters in length. Engineers have designed these to last the life of your automobile and, while iridium ones cost you more money upfront, they’ll work out cheaper over time.

Why should you clean iridium spark plugs?

As iridium plugs last much longer, they can become clogged much more quickly than normal ones. The carbon deposits that iridium plugs are perfect at resisting will start to build up much faster if they’re not cleaned correctly. It’s possible that over time, this will result in your engine running erratically and make it less efficient overall.

If you don’t clean iridium copper plugs regularly, they can also lead to reduced fuel efficiency. It is because the plugs run hotter than normal ones, and this will cause the engine to burn more gas to keep running smoothly.

Step by step guide on how to clean iridium spark plugs

To clean worn iridium spark plugs, you’ll need to follow this simple step-by-step guide:

Step 1 – Remove the iridium plugs from the engine.

Your vehicle’s user manual will tell you where the iridium plugs are situated on your specific make and model of van. To check whether or not they need cleaning, remove a single plug and look at it. If the electrode is coated in brown or tan colour, then your iridium plugs probably need cleaning. Use spark plug removal tool to remove iridium spark plugs.

Step 2 – Remove dirt from the spark plug with a cleaning brush.

Get yourself a brush to remove dirt quickly from the tip of the electrode. You can use a cleaning brush to scrub away the dirt, but ensure that you don’t damage the iridium tip.

If you’re doing the task on your own, it’s probably best to wear safety glasses just in case some dirt comes flying at your face.

Step 3 – Put the iridium plug into a cleaning solution or special liquid.

At this point, you should soak the dirty plugs in a cleaning liquid if you have any. If not, you can use solvent or fuel by putting them into a small container and covering them with the liquid. It’s another best way to clean spark plugs. After they’re covered, leave the cleaning solution to work on the dirt for around 10 minutes.

Step 4 – Take out and wipe dry iridium plugs with a cloth or paper towel.

Then, take the cleaning spray and wipe off any chemical residue from the spark plugs. You should make sure that you don’t rub them too hard with paper towels because this will wear down the iridium electrode tip, which stops it from sparking.

If cleaning solvent or fuel is used, respray once the process finishes avoiding oil residues inside the combustion chamber.

Step 5 – Reinstall the plugs back in the engine and start it up.

Finally, check that the procedure was successful by testing whether or not your auto starts. If it doesn’t start, you need to keep cleaning spark plugs until they’re properly clean. After cleaning all spark plugs, take a quick drive with your car to test its running conditions.

Things you should consider when cleaning spark plugs

There are certain things you must follow when doing this type of job.

  1. If too much dirt is present, the spark plug may spark weakly.
  2. Do not clean copper plugs while the engine is running. If you do this, the engine will be seriously harmed.
  3. /If you are using fuel or still have cleaning solvent left, wipe spark plugs with a dry cloth to avoid them getting caught in the spark plug nozzle.
  4. Do not clean problematic plugs when it is below zero degrees. It may damage the spark plug electrode surface.
  5. To avoid engine knock noise caused by a spark plug, check the spark plugs gap regularly and adjust it to factory standards.
  6. If electrode tip plugs are not sparking emitting properly, try re-tightening the spark plug wire to the spark plug.


1. Can you clean and reuse iridium spark plugs?

Yes, you’re able to clean the filthy spark plugs and reuse them in the same engine so long as they are spark emitting properly.

2. Can I use WD40 to clean spark plugs?

Yes, you can use WD40 as a spark plug cleaner. But before using, make sure the spark plug nozzle is facing downwards to avoid excessive spray on the spark plug electrode.

3. Can you clean dirty spark plugs without removing them?

Obviously, a big no! You can’t clean dull spark plugs without removing them because the spark plug is very fragile. Clean fouled spark plugs with spark plug cleaner or special solvent.

4. When should you replace iridium spark plugs?

There are a few things that can affect spark plugs’ lifespan. If the iridium spark plug is too dirty or your vehicle runs over 100,000 miles, you should replace the spark plug immediately.


To conclude, cleaning iridium spark plugs is a simple task you can do yourself without relying on a mechanic. Follow these five steps, and you’ll have like the new ones that are as good as new in no time. If you have any more spark plug queries, please leave a comment below.


Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer. He has both on hand and managerial job experience of 15 years in automobile maintenance field. He served as Captain in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corp of Army, Technical Head in Taxi Cab business, Head of Plant in Car assembly plant. He is writing automotive contents to share his expertise knowledge to car lovers for solving their vehicle issues.

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