MAF Sensor cleaning ideas

I know it is highly advised to only use MAF sensor cleaner to clean the MAF sensor. I recently saw a video of someone cleaning it with Isopropyl alcohol and a Q tip. It seems reasonable as the alcohol will evaporate quickly. As long as the Qtip does not leave an strands of cotton behind it sounds reasonable…

Any thoughts?

Proper tool for the proper job, why risk it for $7.



Never touch the hot wire on a MAF sensor,


I’ve seen videos of people doing all kinds of stupid things…

MAF cleaner is Isopropyl Alcohol. I would not use a Q-tip though. Better to fill a container and dip the MAF sensor into it and swirl it around.


It should be possible to clean the wire w/a QTip, but it seems considerably less risky if you don’t touch the wire at all, and just direct a spray of the correct cleaning solution. It’s your sensor though, so you can clean it however you like. If you try the QTip idea let us know the results. Isopropyl alcohol comes in different strengths, so be sure to use the strength (%) recommended.

If you choose isopropyl, be aware some are 70%, others 99% pure. Walgren’s 91% comes in a spray bottle, $3.79. Wally world has the real stuff (as in Tester’s video) for $7.29.

??? Not in CRC MAF cleaner:

naphtha (petroleum), hydrotreated light 50 - 60%
2-methylpentane 20 - 30%
carbon dioxide 3 - 5%
n-hexane 3 - 5%
methanol 2 - 4%
n-pentane 1 - 3 %

Is there a particular reason you don’t want to go the auto parts store and buy maf sensor cleaner?

Is the store too far away?

Do you want to be cheap?


Are you willing to put a crowbar in your wallet to open it so you can buy a new MAF sensor for the OP if they damage it using a Q-tip by following your advice?

I didn’t think so.


Maybe not now. A can of MAF cleaner lasts a looong time. The first can I bought listed Isopropyl Alcohol as its main ingredient and it smelled like Isopropyl Alcohol. It does not really matter which strength you use, it all works but I use 91% and pour it into a small disposable cup and just soak it for awhile, then let it air dry.

I’ll keep using the CRC product designed exclusively for the purpose…but hey, to each his own!!

I don’t recall offering that advice. In any event it’s the OP’s sensor and the OP can do whatever they like with it. Likewise it is my wallet … and my crowbar … :wink:

My 2 cents on my '03 Eclipse . . .

I cleaned the MAF sensor, and things were OK for awhile, then got bad again.

So, I cleaned the MAF sensor and throttle body.

It left me on the side of the road, and I had to limped home.

So, I spent $75 and got a brand new MAF sensor . . . 15 minute switchout.

Running like new.


17 years on the original MAF sensor is great. Cleaning first, then replacing if cleaning doesn’t work, is the order I’d use to make the repair. Start with the cheap fix and then go to the more expensive fixes later.

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