When you are working with weapons a lot, you will find yourself surrounded by plastic and plastic cleaning materials. At one point or another, you might even consider using brake cleaner on rubber or plastic.
But is brake cleaner safe on rubber/plastic? Or will it eat up my plastic and ruin the material as well?
Those are some heavy questions that require answers. And I do plan to provide you with satisfactory results today. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What is brake cleaner?
Brake cleaner is a liquid that every vehicle owner is aware of. It’s a solution that leaves no residue behind after cleaning metal or glass.
That doesn’t mean you can use it anywhere in your vehicle or garage. You will need to be aware of where you can and cannot use this solution.
How does a brake cleaner work?
Brake cleaner is a liquid solution that was created to clean metal and glass surfaces. That’s the reason why all car owners own multiple of these to make sure they never run out of solutions (pun intended).
Once you use it on a surface, it dissipates without leaving any nasty residue or smell that makes you feel like you are dying.
The most common solvent that was used in brake cleaner was 1, 1, 1 trichloroethane. It also used to be found commonly with tetrachloroethylene (TCE). However, these chlorine-based solutions are banned due to their ozone-depleting properties.
Nowadays, you will find many non-chlorinated brake cleaners with aromatic chemicals thrown in for good measure. You will also find chemicals such as ethanol, isopropanol, methanol, and acetone. All of them are suitable for metal and glass-like materials.
Is It OK to Use Brake Cleaner on Rubber?
We already know it doesn’t harm glass or metal, what about rubber then? If car owners use this so freely, aren’t they worried about damaging their rubber gaskets on the window or their car seats?
Of course, they are worried! That’s why they always recommend you to be careful while working with a brake cleaner. The solution is not forgiving and can do serious damage to rubber materials.
But if your rubber has an ozone protection shield, then it’s possible to clean your rubber material with a brake cleaner, It won’t harm if that’s true.
Older-generation brake cleaners with harmful chemicals could melt rubber gloves with ease. In fact, modern-day ones will do the same as well. But you will need to soak your gloves in the solution for a while for that to happen.
In short, it’s not safe to use brake cleaner on rubber. I would suggest you to avoid it. But if you are in a dire situation where you absolutely need to use it on a rubber material, then use as less as possible just to wipe away the problematic area.
Is It OK to Use Brake Cleaner on Plastic?
No, it’s not okay to use brake cleaners on plastic surfaces. It will also melt plastic materials and permanently damage the product you are trying to clean with brake cleaner.
You probably have heard of petroleum eating away plastic and slowly derogating the material. A similar process happens when brake cleaner comes in contact with plastic. Instead of slow derogation, the plastic rather rots quite fast.
How Does A Brake Cleaner Damage Plastic?
Plastic material tends to have paint in them. When you apply even a thin coat of brake cleaner on plastic, it immediately attacks the paint and starts eating it away. Slowly but surely, it starts to eat the plastic material as well.
Due to its corrosive nature, brake cleaner is a natural sworn enemy of plastic and rubber. In short, keep brake cleaners as far as way you can from plastic and rubber.
How do I prevent brake cleaner from damaging plastic?
Now that we know it damages plastic and rubber, how do we prevent that from happening? Well, the main solution is not using them at all.
But if accidentally you manage to get brake cleaner in contact with a plastic or rubber surface, the only way to prevent that from spreading is to sand off the effective material.
If you don’t sand the affected area, it will slowly spread around the rest of the area and affect the entire object.
How do I tell when a brake cleaner has damaged the plastic?
You can easily tell that. At first, there might be nothing and the plastic might feel the same as well. But with time, you will feel the plastic is getting more scratchy, and small cracks will appear randomly.
Those cracks will only get bigger with time and then end up breaking the plastic entirely.
Why do people use brake cleaner then?
Because brake cleaner is so good! It’s kind of unbelievable how good it is at the job. It cleans plastic and metal like it’s chomping down a big Mac. The fluid is also sanitized and it’s relatively not smelly at all.
Overall, the effective nature of this chemical is what draws people in to make the purchase and clean their metal objects with it.
As you can see, brake cleaners do damage rubber and plastic. So, it’s not safe to use brake cleaner on plastic or rubber.
In fact, you should keep it away from rubber and plastic as much as possible. But if you accidentally come in contact with it and your plastic starts derogating, then you will need to sand it off ASAP!
That’s all for now, hopefully, this guide helped and now you know better usage of brake cleaner. Keep yourself and your equipment safe. That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and I will see you on the next one.