Brake dust is chrome’s worst enemy. Long-term exposure to brake dust can lead to the pitting of chrome surfaces, forcing car owners to re-chrome affected parts. A project that costs a lot of money.
To prevent chrome pitting, it must be cleaned regularly, especially if located near brake pads. There are many chrome cleaners in the market. Is brake cleaner one of them? Keep on reading to find out.
Table of Contents
- Should You Use Brake Cleaner on Chrome?
- Will Brake Cleaner Hurt Chrome?
- What If You Accidentally Spill Brake Cleaner on Chrome?
- Why Is It Wrong to Use Brake Cleaner on Chrome, Yet It’s Effective at Removing Brake Dust?
- What Should I Use to Clean Brake Dust from Chrome?
- Can I Use Other Cleaners on Chrome?
- Is Simple Green a Safer Alternative to Brake Cleaner?
- What Ingredients Are in Brake Cleaner?
- What is the Recommended Method of Cleaning Chrome?
- Chrome Also Needs to Be Polished
Should You Use Brake Cleaner on Chrome?
Brake cleaner is one of the best products that can be used to get rid of brake dust, however, can it be used on chrome? Yes. But it’s not recommended.
Brake cleaner is a powerful solvent that is specifically designed for use on metal parts. Therefore, brake cleaner should be used on the brakes.
If you want to clean chrome, there are plenty of cleaners made explicitly for this surface. These are the ones that should be used to clean Chrome.
Will Brake Cleaner Hurt Chrome?
Brake cleaner will not hurt chrome when used on an occasional basis. However, frequent and long-term exposure to brake cleaner can dull a chrome’s surface. Chrome is all about the shine. If something dulls it, there is no need to use it, no matter how effective it is.
The damage caused by the brake cleaner will not show on the chrome right away. This may mislead you to think that brake cleaner is safe. However, in the long run, you will start to see the effects.
What If You Accidentally Spill Brake Cleaner on Chrome?
When cleaning a car’s braking system, you are advised to remove the wheel for easier access. However, for those of you who prefer shortcuts, you may decide to clean the brake pads without removing the chrome wheels.
While doing that, some brake cleaner can spill on the chrome. In case that happens, there is no need to panic. You should wash the chrome wheels with some soap and shampoo.
As mentioned earlier, the damage caused by brake cleaner on chrome is minimal and doesn’t happen immediately. Therefore, spills or drops are nothing to be worried about.
Why Is It Wrong to Use Brake Cleaner on Chrome, Yet It’s Effective at Removing Brake Dust?
You may be wondering, why are we advising against using brake cleaner on chrome, yet this product is very effective at getting rid of brake dust. The answer is simple.
Brake cleaner isn’t formulated for use on chrome surfaces. Chrome is different from metal. It is more vulnerable to damage. When you spray brake cleaner on it, the ingredients can eventually eat through the layers and dull the chrome.
If you have chrome on the wheels, you must take care of them because any damage or repairs will cost you a significant amount of money.
If you must use brake cleaner to remove brake dust or stains from chrome, dab a little amount on a cloth. Wipe the stain or brake dust. Don’t let the brake cleaner sit on the chrome for too long. Wash it off with soap and water.
Please do not make a habit of using brake cleaner on Chrome because it will damage your Chrome after some time. Below we have discussed in detail safer alternatives that can be used to clean brake dust from chrome.
What Should I Use to Clean Brake Dust from Chrome?
You can use plenty of products to clean brake dust from chrome. The only reason brake dust would settle on chrome is if your wheels are plated with chrome.
If you spot some brake dust, do not use a brake cleaner. Instead, go for car wash soap, water, and some elbow grease. This may seem like a simple method of cleaning chrome, but it will preserve it.
Ordinary soap is your safest bet when removing brake dust from chrome. However, if you crave something a little bit stronger, you can buy a special chrome cleaner.
Meguiar’s and Mothers are known to make an excellent chrome cleaner that will strip off the most stubborn brake dust.
Alternatively, if you are dealing with stubborn brake dust on chrome, you can use a regular compound and a pad. This should remove any brake dust that has baked on the chrome.
Kindly avoid using aggressive compounds because they can scratch and damage chrome. You must understand that if the brake dust has been baked on the chrome, you will need to use a lot of elbow grease.
Can I Use Other Cleaners on Chrome?
That will depend on the ingredients used in that particular cleaner. Besides brake cleaner, people may recommend tar and bag remover amongst many other products.
You must read the package and identify which surfaces have been recommended for use. In case Chrome isn’t listed, avoid using that cleaner.
Is Simple Green a Safer Alternative to Brake Cleaner?
If the chrome on your car is dirty, you can opt for a safer and more effective product known as Simple Green wheel cleaner instead of risking damage by using brake cleaner.
Simple Green is a familiar name in most households. This company has been making cleaning products for a wide range of surfaces for decades.
Simple Green entered the auto cleaning industry when they introduced their wheel and tire cleaner. Unlike brake cleaner, Simple Green is formulated for use on chrome surfaces.
Some of the features that make Simple Green suitable for cleaning brake dust and other types of stains on chrome are that its non-abrasive and non-corrosive.
Its rich formula makes it easy for you to get rid of stubborn stains on chrome surfaces in your car. Plus, it’s cheap and widely available.
As effective as Simple Green is, you will have to scrub the chrome surface slightly. That will help loosen up the stains.
What Ingredients Are in Brake Cleaner?
Familiarizing yourself with the ingredients used in brake cleaner allows you to understand more about why it shouldn’t be used on chrome.
There are two types of brake cleaners, chlorinated and non-chlorinated. Both do the same job, only that the ingredients are a bit different.
The chlorinated brake cleaner contains Tetrachloroethylene which is responsible for removing contaminants from metal. It also contains Carbon Dioxide.
Non-chlorinated, on the other hand, contains carbon dioxide, acetone, and the main ingredient, known as heptane. Both brake cleaners are not ideal for chrome surfaces and should be used on metallic parts of your car, such as the brake pads and the engine.
What is the Recommended Method of Cleaning Chrome?
You paid a great deal of money for the chrome on your car. It is therefore crucial that you take proper care of it. There is no better way of taking care of chrome besides cleaning and polishing it.
Before we share the best method of cleaning chrome, we must explain what brake dust can do to it. Nobody likes seeing brake dust on their chrome wheels. It affects the aesthetics.
But other than that, brake dust is highly corrosive when exposed to chrome. Brake dust particles can easily penetrate the chrome surface and dull the shine while accelerating pitting. Chrome wheels need to be cleaned frequently to prevent the effects of brake dust.
With the above in mind, here is a quick guide on cleaning brake dust from chrome like a professional;
Step 1 – Always start with rinsing the wheels. If you have a pressure washing machine, it’s even better because you will remove a significant amount of brake dust on the surface.
Step 2 – Spray a chrome cleaner of your choice. As mentioned earlier, there are many types of chrome cleaners. These are more effective and much safer than brake cleaners. Let the cleaners sit for a while to absorb the brake dust.
Step 3 – Grab a soft-bristled brush and scrub gently on the chrome surface. Using a hard-bristled brush can be tempting, especially when dealing with stubborn brake dust. But these can scratch and damage the chrome. As you clean the brake dust, make sure that you scrub the entire wheel.
Step 4 – Rinse with a lot of water and dry the chrome. In case you find that you have missed a spot. You can always repeat the above procedure.
Chrome Also Needs to Be Polished
So far, we have ruled out brake cleaner as an ideal product to be used on Chrome. We have also recommended some of the best products you can use to clean chrome.
Before we wrap up our article, you must also understand the benefits of polishing chrome. Polishing is an excellent method of removing imperfections on chrome and restoring shine.
The companies that sell chrome cleaners also make effective polishing products. Chrome polishes are best applied using polishing tools such as electric drills.
These should be fitted with balls dipped in a polishing compound. Polishing chrome should be done at least once or twice annually.