What Can I Use Instead Of Brake Cleaner?

Brake cleaners help keep my brakes in top shape. But if I don’t have them handy during routine maintenance, what can I use instead of brake cleaner? Let us find out in the article below!

If somehow you don’t have access to a brake cleaner and your vehicle’s brakes need immediate cleaning because it is producing unusual noises. You can use many other things instead of a brake cleaner, such as denatured alcohol, lemon juice, WD40, etc.

Denatured alcohol (ethanol that has been rendered inedible) is a decent brake cleaner. It helps clean the braking system because of the cleansing property of alcohol, which is able to dissolve dirt and grime quickly.

Lemon juice is an excellent rotor cleaner. It’s the most efficient way to do it, especially if the rotors and pads are contaminated with oil or grease. The solvent used in automotive brake cleaners is highly volatile and leaves no residue.

In this article, let us look at:

  • What you can use as a brake cleaner, and how to make your own DIY brake cleaner at home
  • How to clean your brake rotors
  • Answers to some common questions about brake cleaners


What Can I Use Instead Of Brake Cleaner


What Can You Use As a Brake Cleaner?

Can you use denatured alcohol as a brake cleaner?

Yes, denatured alcohol, or in fact any sort of alcohol is an excellent brake cleaner because it can extract dirt and grime easily from the brake rotors

Can you use acetone instead of brake cleaner?

Acetone is perfect for cleaning brake rotors, but it is not suitable for cleaning anything foam or plastic as it will burn them. So please don’t use it on brake pads. 

However, brake pads and rotors lie side-by-side hence it is better you use some other brake cleaner rather than acetone.

Can you use lemon juice as a brake cleaner?

Lemon juice is excellent for keeping rotors clean. The brake cleaner for cars is made with a very volatile solvent that leaves no residue. This is most likely the most effective method, particularly for oil on brake pads and rotors.


What Can I Use Instead Of Brake Cleaner


How do you make a homemade brake cleaner?

Penetrating oil can be made quickly at home using the following recipe:

  1. Pour automatic transmission oil and acetone into the Sure Shot syringe.
  2. Fill the Sure Shot syringe with water and spray the rusty or seized region.
  3. Use it in places where you’ve already sprayed penetrating oil.

Can you use WD40 for the brakes?

This brake cleaner is effective on disc and drum brake systems and metal clutch components. With the powerful cleaning, grease, oily handprints, brake fluid, oil, brake dust, and other impurities all go away.

Although WD40 isn’t an excellent lubricant, it does help to keep things moving. Putting everything that greases the brakes in is a terrible idea. In a few days, the WD40 will be gone. If you can’t wait that long, squirt them with brake cleaner and wait for them to dry.

How To Clean Brake Rotors

The rotors on your automobile or bike are an essential part of the braking system. Rotors must be cleaned regularly as routine maintenance or after exceptionally filthy trips. Irrespective of when you decide to do it, the operation is relatively easy and provides an opportunity to monitor the health of your tires and brakes.

Cleaning Your Car’s Rotors

  • Make sure your automobile is parked on level ground. Lifting the automobile with a jack to the rotors is perilous, and raising it on an uneven surface is much riskier. To prevent the flow during jacking, put the car in neutral, turn off the engine, and place tire blocks around all four tires.
  • Remove the lug nuts. An elevated tire will have more give and spin, making lug nut removal much more difficult. Release recalcitrant lug nuts while the tires are securely planted on the ground before lifting the automobile.


What Can I Use Instead Of Brake Cleaner


  • Place jack stands under your vehicle. Examine your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the ideal jack stand position. If you’re not sure what jack points are, look up your model’s manual online or visit a mechanic. In most cases, though, one jack point is available per wheel. Just make sure the jack is mounted in a solid and stable position on the frame rather than on the paneling. When jacking on the paneling, the jack will not be able to sustain the car’s weight, causing damage to the paneling and falling
  • Take off the tire(s). To avoid preparing and laying aside your tools continuously, you should detach all of the tires before cleaning. You can resume releasing the lug nuts once the car is safely elevated.
  • Determine whether the brakes are worth cleaning. Rotors frequently suffer from “lateral braking run-out,” which causes the rotor to wobble and wear unevenly. You won’t be able to tell how bad the rotors are unless you can have access to them.
  • If the rotor is unevenly worn, the brake pads will not make contact as evenly or as quickly as they should. It may not be immediately apparent, but it can be dangerous over time.
  • Clean the rotor with a stainless steel brush. Simple abrasion with a stainless steel brush may usually remove buildup and rust. If necessary, a “caliper brush” might assist you in reaching more complicated portions of your rotor.
  • If necessary, add more buildup to the lathe. If you know when to use a lathe, you can effectively grind away any remaining obstinate accumulation. When grinding, be cautious not to generate any unevenness, as this will cause brake run-outs.

Cleaning Your Bike’s Rotors

  • Turn your bike around. You can better spin the tire and handle it while working with the wheels up in the air. Working on the tires will be considerably more manageable if you can find a sturdy, flat place to turn your bike over upon.
  • Locate your rotor disc. When you apply the brakes on disc rotors, the brake pads clamp on the rotor. The brake pads can be found by following your brake cables.
  • Examine the situation. You can clean your rotors while they are all fully attached if they only need a little TLC. However, if your previous ride has left things in a considerably worse state, they may need to be removed.
  • Use a special cleaning or water and soap. Brake rotors are highly susceptible to some chemicals, so avoid using WD-40. Cleaning these from the rotor can be even more difficult, making braking less efficient.
  • Put your brakes back together. If you removed the rotor, rebuild the brake fittings by reversing the steps you followed to remove it. Tighten and position everything according to the manual’s instructions. After that, simply flip your stuff back over, and you’re ready to go!


What Can I Use Instead Of Brake Cleaner


Answers To Questions About Brake Cleaners

#1. Can I spray brake cleaner on the brake pads?

As long as the brake pads, discs, shoes, drums, and other components of the braking mechanism are still intact, the cleaner can be useful on them. Before applying brake cleaners, it’s a good idea to cover any automobile portions that might be exposed to them.

#2. Does the brake cleaner remove oil?

Chemicals in brake cleaners evaporate when dry, leaving no residue and dissolving completely, cleaning brake grease. This makes it excellent for cleaning oil and grease from other sections of the car.

#3. Can brake cleaner be used as contact cleaner?

No, using brake cleaner rather than contact cleaner can harm electronics. In most cases, a residue-free contact cleaner could be useful instead of brake parts, but it is generally less effective and more expensive.

#4. Differentiate between chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaner?

The term “chlorine-free” refers to the absence of chlorinated solvents in the brake cleaner’s molecular structure. The solvents are combustible, and the versions may not dry as rapidly as the chlorinated versions.


What Can I Use Instead Of Brake Cleaner


#5. Does the brake cleaner stop squeaking?

You can get brake cleaning in a spray can and easily apply it to your rotors. That’s why it was created. It dissipates quickly, indicating that it contains a solvent. They do make a lubricant known as “Brake Quiet” or something like for the brake screech, though.

A Few Final Words

Making sure that your brakes are clean is an important task because it keeps you safe on the road. While we have mentioned a few easy-to-use brake cleaner solutions, it’s best to get a professional brake cleaner to do the job.

Thank you for reading, we hope this was useful! You might also like to read: Can You Use Brake Cleaner As Starting Fluid? and How Can You Use Brake Cleaner Without Removing The Tire

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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