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Is Brake Cleaner Safe On Rubber?

BRAKE CLEAN 400G Bendix Australia
BRAKE CLEAN 400G Bendix Australia from www.australianonlinecarparts.com.au

Brake cleaner is a widely used product in automotive maintenance and repair. It is primarily used to remove brake dust, oil, dirt, and other contaminants from brake components. However, many people are concerned about whether brake cleaner is safe to use on rubber parts. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail and provide you with the information you need to know.

Understanding Brake Cleaner

Brake cleaner is a solvent-based cleaner that is specifically formulated to effectively dissolve and remove brake residue. It is known for its powerful cleaning properties and ability to evaporate quickly without leaving any residue behind. The main ingredients in brake cleaner include acetone, toluene, and methanol, among others.

Effects on Rubber

The concern regarding brake cleaner and rubber is primarily due to the potentially harmful effects of the solvents present in the cleaner. These solvents can cause rubber to swell, become brittle, or even disintegrate over time. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution when using brake cleaner on rubber parts.

The severity of the effects on rubber can vary depending on several factors, including the type and quality of rubber, the concentration of solvents in the cleaner, and the duration of exposure. It is important to note that prolonged or repeated exposure to brake cleaner can significantly increase the risk of damage to rubber parts.

Precautions to Take

If you need to clean rubber parts using brake cleaner, it is crucial to take certain precautions to minimize the risk of damage. Firstly, always read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the brake cleaner. They may provide specific guidance on using the product on rubber surfaces.

Secondly, conduct a small test on a hidden or inconspicuous area of the rubber part before applying brake cleaner to the entire surface. This will help you assess the compatibility of the cleaner with the rubber and determine if any adverse effects occur.

Alternatives to Brake Cleaner

If you are concerned about using brake cleaner on rubber parts, there are alternative cleaning methods you can consider. One option is to use a mild detergent or soap mixed with water. This solution can effectively remove dirt and grime from rubber surfaces without causing any harm.

Another alternative is to use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean rubber parts. Isopropyl alcohol is less aggressive than brake cleaner and is generally considered safe for use on rubber. However, it is still advisable to conduct a small test before applying it to the entire rubber surface.


In conclusion, brake cleaner can potentially cause damage to rubber parts due to the solvents present in the cleaner. It is important to exercise caution and take necessary precautions when using brake cleaner on rubber surfaces. If you are unsure about the compatibility of brake cleaner with a specific rubber part, it is recommended to explore alternative cleaning methods to ensure the safety and longevity of the rubber.

Remember to always prioritize safety and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations when using any cleaning products on rubber surfaces.