Does brake cleaner remove rust?

One of the main causes of brake disc wear and tear is rust. It usually corrodes the disc and damages the surface thus compromising the ability of the car to brake effectively.

Rust also weakens the rotor over time and makes them noisy. That is why most car owners strive to ensure that their vehicle’s brakes don’t rust.

One of the most popular products that most motorists use to get rid of rust is a brake cleaner. So, does a brake cleaner get rid of rust?

And if yes, how does it work? In this article, we will discuss whether a brake cleaner is effective in getting rid of rust and the results to expect.

So, Does brake cleaner remove rust?

Yes, a brake cleaner is effective in removing rust on brake rotors. Brake cleaners are very effective in getting rid of rust because they contain a combination of chemicals that are very effective in ridding rid of dust and other debris.

Brake cleaners are powerful solvent that is often used to clean brake parts. It is also sometimes recommended for removing rust on the brake rotor due to its ability to cut through rust.

However, how well the brake clear removes rust depends on the type of rust and the extent of the damage. If rust buildup is minimal, then the break clear will easily get rid of them.

However, if there is a lot of dust build-up or if the rust has bonded to the source of the rotor, then you may require to use a brake cleaner alongside other rust removal products to effectively get rid of them.

How does a brake cleaner work in removing rust?

A break cleaner contains a powerful blend of advanced formulas that is very effective in removing rust. These products contain tetrachloroethene, a powerful chemical that is very effective in removing rust.

A break cleaner removes rust by either displacing or simply dissolving it. For instance, if the rust is loose on the surface, this product will get rid of it by displacing it.

When a brake cleaner is applied on the surface, the advanced formula reacts with the rust and breaks the bond between it and the metal.

What chemicals does a brake cleaner have and are they efficient in cleaning rust?

There are two types of brake cleaners: chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaners. Both have similar functions but they contain different chemicals.

Chlorinated brake cleaners are non-flammable but very harsh to the skin. They are made up of two ingredients:


This is the main ingredient of this brake cleaner and it helps to remove materials from the brake that are not soluble in water, including brake dust, rust, brake fluid, grease, and oil.

Carbon dioxide

This gas is used as a propellant

Non- chlorinated brake cleaner

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner is extremely flammable but less harsh on the skin. This means that this brake cleaner should not be used near places with excessive heat, open flames, and welding operations. This brake cleaner contains the following ingredients.


This chemical helps to remove contaminants from the metal parts that are not water-soluble.


This chemical is also used to clean contaminants from the brake. It is specifically useful in getting rid of water-based contaminants because it absorbs water.

Carbon dioxide

This gas acts as a propellant

Chemicals used in both chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaners are very effective in getting rid of rust. However, since they are not specially designed to get rid of dust, they are only effective in getting rid of loose rust.

So, if there is a substantial amount of rust buildup or if the rust has bonded with the surface, then these chemicals may not give you the desired results that you are looking for.

Does a brake cleaner harm metal?

No, a brake cleaner does not harm the metal. The chemical that brake cleaners contain is specially designed for cleaning metals.

However, it is not advisable to use a brake cleaner on plastic, rubber, and painted parts. It should only be used on the brake component and other bare metal components.

How much do quality brake cleaners cost?

A high-quality brake cleaner costs between $4.5 and $7. Brake cleaners that are within this price range are very effective and can remove debris, grease, and rust from disc rotors in seconds.

Some of the best brake cleaner brands on the market include CRC, Denco, VHT, and Super Tech.

What is the main ingredient in a brake cleaner?

The main ingredient in a brake cleaner is tetrachloroethene. Despite its toxicity, it is very effective in getting rid of debris, grease, and rust in the disc rotor. Additionally, it is nonflammable and dries quickly.

How often should you use a brake cleaner?

There is no limit on the number of times you should use a brake cleaner. This means you can use your brake cleaner at any time, like when servicing your tires or performing brake inspections.

Do brake cleaners leave residues?

No, brake cleaners do not leave residues. Brake cleaners are made up of specially formulated chemical compounds that evaporate as they dry, leaving no residue behind. They also dissolve grease, leaving your brakes perfectly clean.

How can I remove rust from the brake using a brake cleaner?

Removing rust from the brake using a brake cleaner is simple. Begin by spraying the rotor with a brake cleaner, then wipe it dry with a clean rug.

If you notice that the rotor still has some rusts, apply more brake cleaner then scrub the rotor with a wire brush or steel wool. Wipe the rotor again with a clean rug to see if you have removed all rust.

If not, repeat the process. Brake cleaners are highly toxic. Therefore, brake cleaning should be done in a well-ventilated area.

Final verdict

If you have noticed that your brake disc rotor has some rusts and you are wondering whether a brake cleaner can get rid of them, the answer is yes.

Brake cleaners contain chemicals that are very effective in getting rid of rust. However, because they are not exclusively formulated to get rid of rust, they are only effective in removing rusts that have not deeply bonded to the metal.

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