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Brake Cleaner Ingredients

Updated February 21, 2017

Brake cleaner is an aerosol-delivered solvent designed to clean grease, oil, brake dust and dirt from brake pads. Brake cleaner is available in both chlorinated and non-chlorinated versions. The ingredients in brake cleaners are toxic. Take care not to inhale the brake cleaner, and keep it away from automotive paint and plastic parts, as the solvent can be damaging to both of these. The ingredients in brake cleaners are a solvent combined with an aerosol propellant.

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Acetone is a solvent also used as fingernail polish remover.


Butane is a petroleum derivative, most familiar to people as a fuel, that acts as a solvent.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is used as a propellant in aerosols.


Isopropanol is another name for isopropyl alcohol. Diluted for household use, this is a common disinfectant and cleaner. In stronger concentrations it acts as a solvent in brake cleaner.


Methanol is another name for methyl alcohol or wood alcohol. It's used as a fuel and as a solvent.

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

Also known as butanone or MEK, methyl ethyl ketone is another solvent, similar to acetone.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is the chief ingredient in automobile antifreeze. In brake fluid it acts as both a solvent and as a stabiliser for other ingredients, helping them to combine more readily and lowering the freezing point.

Stoddard Solvent

Stoddard Solvent is a flammable liquid derived from paraffin.


Also used in dry cleaning, tetrachloroethylene cuts grease.


Also known as methyl benzene, toluene is used as a paint thinner. It is a solvent.

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About the Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.

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