Chlorinated Vs. Non-Chlorinated Brake Cleaner

As a car or garage owner, you should always have a cleaner with you. They help in the maintenance of several car parts, leaving them in excellent shape. The brake cleaner is a good example of such a utility, also known as a parts cleaner. It is very versatile, and you can use it on several parts. This piece will take an in-depth look at this cleanser, introducing you to the chlorinated vs. non-chlorinated brake cleaner discussion.

The name brake cleaner comes from its prominent use in cleaning brake disks. You also use it to clean the engine compartment, essential in preventing engine problems. This cleaner leaves no residue, a reason behind its extensive use.

Let us go back to the main subject and see the differences between chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaners.

Chlorinated Vs. Non-Chlorinated

Chlorinated Brake Cleaner

Chlorinated brake cleaner, as its name hints, contains chlorine atoms. It has been around for a long time, with some of its components getting banned for safety reasons. Many people also refer to it as the non-flammable brake cleaner. The chlorine atoms present in the solvent boosts its cleaning properties.

The elements present in the chlorinated brake cleaner are tetrachloroethylene and methylene chloride. Formerly, there was also 1,1,1-trichloroethane before its phasing out due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer.

Tetrachloroethylene gives the cleaner its degreasing and fast-drying properties, essential for cleaning car parts. Methylene chloride enhances the cleaning properties of tetrachloroethylene. Some of the perks you get from using this brake cleaner are fast results and leaves no residue on the surfaces. You can use this product as a chlorinated carburetor cleaner to unclog your carburetor.

You notice the results immediately you spray this cleaner on the surface you want clean. While it effectively deals with grime and other dirt, there are concerns over its health effects. You should know about Chlorinated brake cleaner hazards when you opt for it. As earlier mentioned, a compound of chlorinated cleaners got banned due to its harmful effects.

The remaining compounds are also dangerous, and direct exposure can lead to issues with the respiratory and nervous system and are carcinogenic. As such, it is advisable to exercise care when using this cleanser. While it is non-flammable, exposure to heat releases fumes that can be dangerous to humans and the environment.

Still, on safety, do not overlook the chlorinated brake cleaner welding warnings. Never weld on surfaces coated with this product, as it may release harmful fumes.

Non-Chlorinated Brake Cleaner

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner came into the scene as a safer option to the chlorinated type. This cleaner is a hydrocarbon build, unlike the other, which comes from organic chlorine compounds. They may either be high-boiling point hydrocarbon mixtures or low-boiling point aliphatic compounds.

The solvent is lipophilic; hence, suitable for dealing with fat-soluble materials like grease and oil. Other non-chlorinated cleaners will have polar liquids like acetone, methanol, and ethanol. The polar solvents will deal with dirt that is not lipophilic.

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner is quite safe to use compared to the chlorinated types. However, it is flammable, and you should not use it near open flames or heated surfaces. Furthermore, you may use non-chlorinated brake cleaner for guns. It is a cheaper option than a gun cleaner. However, be careful when cleaning plastic, rubber, and wooden parts.

Can I use non-chlorinated brake cleaner on plastic? It depends on the manufacturer, as some are not recommended on surfaces like rubber and plastic. To be on the safe side, do not use any variation of the cleaner on materials other than metal.

Chlorinated Vs. Non-Chlorinated Brake Cleaner Differences

Looking at the differences between chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaners will give you a better understanding of each of them. It helps you know which one to pick. The most obvious difference between the two is the compounds used. Chlorinated brake cleaner has organochlorides, while the other has hydrocarbons.

Their respective compositions contribute to their various attributes. For instance, chlorinated cleaners are non-flammable, but the non-chlorinated variety is flammable. However, you should not use either of them near open flames or heated surfaces. The chlorinated cleaner can produce harmful fumes when exposed to heat.

The other point of contrast is in their functionality. Chlorinated brake cleaners are very effective, and a single spray does away with most of the grime. You will need to repeatedly do the job with non-chlorinated variants to clean the car parts. Also, chlorinated products do not leave residue and dry up fast. Non-chlorinated utilities may leave a thin residue.

is chlorinated brake cleaner flammable
Image Credit: amazon.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Chlorinated Brake Cleaner Better?

Chlorinated brake cleaner has chlorine molecules, which boost its degreasing properties. It does a good job in removing the dirt; as such, it is the go-to item for most people. Despite its efficiency in dirt removal, its major downside is safety. The compounds are dangerous to both human and environmental health. You need to be very careful when using it.

Q: What Is The Advantage Of a Non-Chlorinated Brake Cleaner?

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner is brake cleaner made from hydrocarbons and lacks chlorine compounds. This feature is a major advantage as it is relatively safe to use. You have to be keen when using it as it is flammable.

Q: Is Non-Chlorinated Brake Cleaner Bad For You?

All brake cleaners can be hazardous if not handled properly. The chlorinated ones are more dangerous, as the fumes they produce are carcinogenic and can affect the nervous and respiratory systems. Non-chlorinated cleaners are flammable and may cause a fire hazard if used near flames. Follow the right guidelines when using any brake cleaner for your health.

Q: Is Brake Cleaner The Same As A Degreaser?

A degreaser is a cleaning product that deals with grease, oil, dirt build, and other forms of contaminants in the vehicle assembly and surroundings. The brake cleaner works similarly to the degreaser by removing dirt from areas like the brake disks, engine compartment, and flooring. Despite having the same purpose, they are not the same product.

Q: Is It OK To Get Brake Cleaner On Pads?

The brake cleaner is a versatile cleaning utility that you can use on various components of the car. You can use the product on brake disks, pads, caliper units, drums, and other related parts. In addition, it is a great companion for your engine compartment and the vehicle’s flooring.

Final Words

You should always have at least a bottle of brake cleaner in your garage. It comes in handy in cleaning many parts of your vehicle. In this article, we look at chlorinated and non-chlorinated cleaners. Go through this piece and understand their differences and which one to pick for your car maintenance activities.

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Tito

Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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