So you just got home from taking your Jeep mudding, and you’ve got mud caked just about everywhere. Depending on where you live, you may have thick red mud that also stains seats (like I’m used to) or just regular gooey brown mud.
Whether the mud is still fresh (or even dry) in this post I’ll break down a few ways to remove mud from the undercarriage and wheel wells of your Jeep (or other vehicle).
Method 1: The Sprinkler Trick
If you’re just dealing with a pretty normal about mud (nothing too heavy) one effective method is to use a regular back-and-forth flat style sprinkler. Some of these even have adjustable spray patterns that can be adjusted to increase the pressure, but any of the back-and-forth sprinklers should work. Even if you have a rotating sprinkler, it should do the trick as long as you move it from time to time.
Simply set it under your Jeep and let it slowly begin to loosen the mud off. Just leave it under your vehicle for a couple of hours, moving it periodically, and you should begin to see mud begin to loosen up. This trick also works well for removing road salt in the winter.
Method 2: Pressure Washer
The most effective method to removing mud is really to use a pressure washer, in combination with something safe like Simple Green. Usually gas powered pressure washers will be able to blast more water faster (high GPM) , however some electric models are really all you need for undercarriage cleaning.
If you’ve got a drive up ramp, you may even want to drive your Jeep up on these just to reach your pressure washer lance underneath the underbody.
As for the body itself, I’m a big fan of using a foam cannon in combination with a pressure washer. The foam can definitely help loosen a lot of the dirt without even using a wash mitt.
Whenever you are dealing with dirt, you want to be careful not to apply heavy pressure with a wash mitt, especially when there are dirt clumps stuck in the clear coat.
Once you knock off the big chunks of dirt, then I would probably use a soft wool or microfiber mitt loaded with soap. If you’re on vacation, a last resort-option is to find a car wash with an undercarriage option.
Based on my experience, the undercarriage portion of the wash lasts about 30 seconds, so drive slowly.
How to Remove Mud Under Fenders
One tool that works great for cleaning caked mud from fenders is a long-handled soft bristled wheel brush. These brushes typically have softer bristles and longer handles than your standard tire brushes, and are great for removing caked on mud.
Just be sure to use plenty of soap to avoid scratching the plastic fender covers or metal.
Try Mudflaps or Wheel Well Covers
If your idea of mudding is not to get your vehicle completely buried, adding some mudflaps or wheel well covers can help to a certain degree. These can be helpful for preventing rocks from slinging up when mudding
How to Prevent Mud From Sticking
Another trick that has been known to work is to use WD-40 or a spray wax on the undercarriage and fenders to help prevent mud from sticking. Keep in mind that while WD-40 does work, it can leave your undercarriage really greasy when trying to work on it later. Be sure to let the WD-40 dry before attempting this method.
For older Jeeps it may not be as big of a deal to you, but you may want to opt with something like tire shine instead.
My Recommendation: Mudd Off
Out of all the product I’ve heard work, one that I would recommend is a dedicated pre-treatment designed specifically to prevent dirt or debris from sticking during mudding or offroading. The reason being is because this product will just last you longer than sprays since you can mix it with water.
Simply mix this product at a 12:1 ratio with water in an empty spray bottle and apply it to the undercarriage of your Jeep prior to offroading.
You can also pick up several aerosol-based products designed specifically for preventing the accumulation of mud like Mudslinger. I just like Mudd Off for the simple reason that you really get more bang for your buck.
Consider Adding a Lift Kit
If you’re just a casual offroader and don’t prefer slamming through super-deep mud holes, then adding a lift kit will make cleanup a little easier, especially around the paint and elevated wheel wells. Even if you find yourself in relatively deep mud, the extra 6 inches to 1 foot of clearance can really make the difference when it comes time to wash the mud off your undercarriage.
Keep in mind these tips are just a recommendation, and to try a few methods to see what works best for you. Mudding is a pretty fun activity, but pre-treating can really save you some time when you get home when done right. If you go mudding regularly, keeping your Jeep spotless is probably not a priority anyway, but it’s a good idea to keep the undercarriage clean to the point where you can change oil, or do basic repairs and maintenance.
Have any other comments or suggestions for removing caked-on mud? Let me know!