Guide to the best mass airflow sensor cleaners

It’s interesting the most significant mechanical failures are often caused by small and silly issues such as the accumulation of dirt on sensitive automotive parts. One such issue is the common problem of dirty MAF sensors.

This problem can be easily avoided and solved by using the right cleaning products such as mass air flow sensor cleaners.

No amount of preventative maintenance can keep your MAF sensor from getting dirty because it’s located early on in the airflow path. The only thing you can do is clean it periodically to ensure that it functions properly at all times.

In this article, we’ll highlight the importance of keeping your mass air flow sensor clean and how it should be done; and we’ll conclude with a list of the best MAF cleaners on the market.

Why Use MAF Sensor Cleaners (and Nothing Else)

Once you understand how mass air flow sensors work, you’ll agree that no cleaning products other than MAF-specific sprays should be used to service them.

Although it’s not uncommon for people to use throttle body cleaners, carburetor cleaners, and turbo cleaners, it is not advisable. These products aren’t meant to clean and protect sensitive electrical components.

Mass air flow sensor housing

Mass air flow sensor sprays are designed to fully evaporate after they’re sprayed.

Using anything other than a proper mass air flow sensor cleaner will lead to the formation of residue which can corrode and damage the hot wire — the key component of your MAF sensor.

Additionally, throttle body and carb cleaners contain chemicals that will cause the plastic housing around the hot wire to warp and degrade.

This isn’t a big problem if your car has a mechanical vane meter MAF sensor but those are usually seen in older cars and are quite uncommon at the time of writing.

But considering how the functioning of modern MAF sensors depends on delicate electrical components like the hot wire, using the right cleaning products is vital.

How to Use Mass Air Flow Sensor Spray

You don’t need any tools or technical skills to clean your MAF sensor. All you need is the right cleaner.

Spray-cleaning an MAF sensor

Here are the steps involved:

  • Ensure the engine is not running.
  • Wear eye and hand protection.
  • Locate and expose the MAF sensor.
  • Remove the sensor for proper cleaning (optional).
  • Insert the straw into the bottle nozzle before use.
  • Place a towel under the sensor to catch the run-off.
  • Spray 10 to 15 short bursts directly onto the hot wires.
  • Don’t let the straw or anything else come in contact with the hot wires.
  • Keep the end of the straw 5 inches away from the sensor.
  • Spray all sides and clean all wires and connectors.
  • Reassemble the MAF sensor and allow it to dry before turning the car on.

When you’re done, slap on some hand cleaner for the grease and give your hands a good wash, then take your car for a spin. Your car should run much smoother than it did before.

Best Mass Air flow Sensor Cleaners

Now that you know when and how to use mass air flow sensor cleaners, let’s get into the list you’re here for.

Below we’ve listed some of the best MAF sensor cleaners on the market. We’ll conclude with our top 2 recommendations.


Gunk MAF cleaner

Manufacturer: Gunk
Part Number: MAS6-12PK
Quantity: 6 oz
Buy On: Amazon

Gunk has been a household name in the automotive cleaning products business for 75 years. People trust the brand for a reason — they really know what your car needs.

Their MAF sensor cleaners contain quality ingredients that will clean the hot wires effectively, without causing any damage to the plastic housing. It dries out almost instantly after spraying.

If you want a trusted and affordable cleaner that does the job perfectly, this is the best option for you.

WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner

WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner

Manufacturer: WD-40
Part Number: 300554
Quantity: 11 oz
Buy On: Amazon

Though not explicitly advertised as a MAF sensor cleaner spray, the Specialist Contact Cleaner by WD-40 is a great choice for cleaning your MAF sensor.

The Specialist Contact cleaner is specially designed for cleaning delicate electrical components. It’s also safe for plastics as it leaves no residue.

It’s cheaper in comparison with other MAF sensor cleaners on this list and right up there in terms of quality.


Johnsen's Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner

Manufacture: Johnsen’s
Part Number: 4721
Quantity: 10 oz
Buy On: Amazon

Johnsen’s is one of the promising options. It’s cheap, it’s water-based, dries quickly, and works wonders when it comes to efficiently removing dirt and debris.

Ensure that you use gloves, a mask, and eye protection when using this cleaner though, owing to its toxic chemicals


CRC MAF sensor cleaner

Manufacturer: CRC
Part Number: 05610
Quantity: 4.5 oz
Buy On: Amazon

Just like the CRC cleaner listed above, this one performs equally well, if not better. Interestingly, this is the first-ever MAF cleaner manufactured by CRC.

CRC 05610 efficiently clears the dust and debris off your MAF sensor to ensure smooth acceleration, no stalling, and consistent idle.

The cleaning ingredients of this product are safe for electronic and plastic parts. So there’s no need to worry about damaging any components.


Penray MAF spray

Manufacturer: Penray
Part Number: 2520
Quantity: 12.5 oz
Buy On: Amazon

The Penray 2520 MAF cleaner spray has a USP — its small size makes it super-easy to use especially if your MAF sensor is hard to reach.

However, the only problem with this spray is that it doesn’t dry out quickly as we would have liked. Take utmost care and ensure that none of the liquid comes in contact with your hands, eyes, or face.

Berryman 2211

Berryman MAF cleaner can

Manufacturer: Berryman Products
Part Number: 2211
Quantity: 11 oz
Buy on: Amazon

Berryman 2211 is a fast-drying MAF sensor cleaner designed to protect sensitive plastic housings and platinum sensors. It is developed exclusively for electrical components so it can double up as a contact cleaner.

Now optimize your fuel-air ratio with great ease and ensure quick throttle response, along with reduced sluggishness.

The MAF sensor cleaners we have listed here are carefully chosen and undeniably the best on the market. When combined with a quality turbo cleaner on forced induction cars, they’ll have your car putting out more power while using less fuel before you know it.

Although, if your car is equipped with a Karman Vortex air flow sensor, it is recommended that you avoid using a mass air flow sensor cleaner entirely. Many Lexus, Mitsubishi, and Toyota cars are equipped with these.

Karman Vortex mass air flow sensor
The variable resistor-equipped Karman Vortex MAF sensors are not designed to be cleaned.

Best Overall: CRC 05610

So many positive reviews only shows the solid reputation of CRC’s MAF cleaner among people who modify cars and other car enthusiasts.

It’s competitively priced compared to other high-end brands of the same quality — something to consider if you’re buying in bulk.

Cheapest MAF Cleaner Spray: Johnsen’s 4721

You don’t need to spend much to buy a great mass air flow sensor cleaner. Johnsen’s MAF cleaner spray is cheap and reliable.

Have you cleaned your MAF sensor before? Did you notice a difference in drivability? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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