Brake cleaner is essential for mechanics and DIY enthusiasts who want to maintain their vehicles’ braking systems. It is a highly effective product that removes brake dust, oil, and dirt from brake components.
However, it is also highly toxic and flammable, posing a risk to the environment and human health. Fortunately, there are alternatives to brake cleaners that are eco-friendly and cost-effective. In this article, we’ll explore these alternatives.
Table of Contents
- What is Brake Cleaner, and Why Should You Look for Alternatives?
- 7 Best Alternatives to Brake Cleaner
- Why Avoid Brake Cleaning Chemicals?
What is Brake Cleaner, and Why Should You Look for Alternatives?
Before we dive into the alternatives to brake cleaner, let’s first understand what it is and why it may not be the best option for everyone. Brake cleaner is a solvent-based product that removes brake dust, oil, and dirt from the braking system components. It contains chemicals such as acetone, toluene, and xylene that are highly toxic and flammable.
Using brake cleaners poses several risks to the environment and human health. The chemicals in brake cleaner can contaminate soil and waterways if not disposed of properly. If inhaled or ingested, they can also cause respiratory and skin irritation, dizziness, and nausea.
7 Best Alternatives to Brake Cleaner
several alternative solutions are just as effective and much safer. Here are seven of the best alternatives to brake cleaner.
1. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a readily available solution that is much safer than brake cleaner. It removes dirt, grime, and debris from brake components without leaving any residue. Apply the rubbing alcohol to a clean rag and wipe down the brake components.
2. Water and Dish soap
A mixture of water and dish soap can be a great alternative to brake cleaner, particularly for those who prefer not to use harsh chemicals. Mix a few drops of dish soap into a water bowl and apply the solution to your brakes with a clean rag. Rinse the brakes thoroughly with water afterward to remove any soap residue.
Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can be used as an alternative to brake cleaner. It works well at removing stubborn dirt and grime from brake components. Mix equal vinegar and water, apply the solution to a clean rag, and wipe down the brake components. Rinse the brakes thoroughly with water afterward to remove any vinegar residue.
4. Citrus Cleaner
A citrus cleaner is a natural alternative to brake cleaner derived from citrus fruits. It effectively removes dirt and grime from brake components and is much safer. Apply the citrus cleaner to a clean rag and wipe down the brake components.
5. Brake Parts Cleaner
Although it sounds similar to brake cleaner, brake parts cleaner is a safer alternative for cleaning brake components. It’s a water-based solution that is much safer than traditional brake cleaners. Apply the brake parts cleaner to a clean rag and wipe down the brake components.
6. Simple Green
Simple Green is a non-toxic cleaning solution that can be used as an alternative to brake cleaner. It removes dirt and grime from brake components effectively and is safe for most materials. Apply the Simple Green to a clean rag and wipe down the brake components.
7. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent used to clean brake components. It removes dirt and grime effectively and is much safer than brake cleaner. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to create a paste, apply the paste to a clean rag, and wipe down the brake components.
Why Avoid Brake Cleaning Chemicals?
Brake-cleaning chemicals are commonly used to clean brake components, but there are several reasons why you should consider avoiding them.
1. Harmful to Your Heath
Brake cleaning chemicals contain powerful solvents that can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. These chemicals can cause short-term symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea, and long-term exposure can lead to more serious health problems such as kidney damage and nerve damage.
2. Harmful to the Environment
Brake cleaning chemicals are harmful to the environment. When these chemicals are sprayed onto brake components, they can easily evaporate and enter the atmosphere. Over time, this can increase pollution levels and harm wildlife and the environment.
3. It can Cause Damage to Brake Components
The solvents in brake cleaning chemicals can weaken rubber seals and plastic parts in brake components, leading to premature wear and tear on your brakes. This can compromise the safety and reliability of your brakes, leading to potential accidents and other issues.
4. It is Expensive
Brake cleaning chemicals can be expensive, especially if you use them frequently. Natural alternatives like vinegar, baking soda, and citrus cleaners are often more cost-effective and can be just as effective at cleaning brake components.
5. Regulatory Compliance
In some jurisdictions, the use of brake-cleaning chemicals is regulated by government agencies. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and other penalties.
6. It is Not Easy to Access
Brake cleaning chemicals may not be readily available in all areas. Alternative cleaning methods like natural cleaners may be more practical in some situations.
Brake-cleaning chemicals are commonly used to clean and maintain brake components, but there are several reasons why you may want to consider using alternative methods. These chemicals can be harmful to your health, damaging to the environment, and costly.
Also, the solvents in brake cleaning chemicals can weaken brake components, compromising their safety and reliability. Natural alternatives such as vinegar, baking soda, and citrus cleaners can be just as effective at cleaning brake components without negatively impacting your health and the environment.
Ugo is a passionate car enthusiast with a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree and hands-on experience in troubleshooting and fixing automobiles.
I combine my electrical and mechanical engineering knowledge with practical skills to address car-related issues.
My love for cars and dedication to educating others led to the creation of Fixandtroubleshoot.com!