Brake cleaner is a solvent that is used to remove brake dust from the wheel of a car. It can be dangerous because it contains ethylene glycol which is poisonous when ingested, and fluorocarbons which are toxic in gaseous form. However, there are many alternative solvents that provide good results without posing any harm.
7 Best Brake Cleaner Alternatives
1. Mineral spirits
2. White spirit
This is very harsh on most plastic parts so it’s best to avoid using this for brake components if possible. Use with caution by brushing away excess rather than wiping with a cloth to avoid getting it on the paint.
It can be used as a spray-on and wipe-off solution. However, it also dries very quickly so if you want to leave it on longer for tougher spots apply a second coat after five minutes .
6. White vinegar
This is useful for removing stubborn dirt from white rubber parts such as hoses and brake pads. Just soak a rag in vinegar and wrap around the affected area before leaving overnight – small particles will have been softened by morning so they can simply be wiped away with ease.
7. Lemon juice
Lemon Juice is another alternative – spray a liberal amount onto the affected areas and leave for around an hour, then rub away with a cloth. In the case of very tough brake dust, heat up some lemon juice in a saucepan and simmer it down into a thicker liquid before applying.
It’s also worth noting that there are better alternatives to using brake cleaner as a degreaser if you’re regularly cleaning your car or bike at home. Instead, try filling a bucket with warm soapy water and give each item a good soak for no more than half an hour – much less time is needed for plastics such as those used on modern cars so don’t be too concerned about these parts damaged by solvents beyond the brake cleaner category.
Why to avoid brake cleaning chemicals
Brake-cleaning chemicals can damage paintwork, wheel rims and plastic components – especially when sprayed directly onto them. If you have to use a cleaner from the same family as brake cleaner, try wearing gloves and eye protection while applying it. You should then wash off all traces of chemical with cold water immediately after completing the task. While these techniques won’t prevent all damage to your vehicle’s components it will go a long way towards preventing problems.