Disc brakes are undoubtedly great, but you need to maintain them properly to improve their performance on the road. One most important aspect of maintenance is regular cleaning. You can always use soap and water for easy cleaning, but soap residue will cause the brakes to squeak or make odd noises.
That’s why experts recommend cleaning disc brakes with alcohol. It’s cheap, available at any hardware store, provides thorough cleaning, and doesn’t leave any mark or residue behind. Rubbing alcohol is highly effective in clearing the toughest oil, grease, and grime from the brake discs.
Today we will discuss why alcohol is the best way to clean disc brakes and how to use it. Let’s jump right in.
Why Should You Use Alcohol for Cleaning Disc Brakes?
Most people tend to pick alcohol for cleaning because it’s readily available. However, there are many other reasons why alcohol works as an excellent cleaner. These include-
1. Thorough Cleaner
If you have a good command of chemistry, you probably know why alcohol works for disc brakes, but water doesn’t. Here, the basic thing is that you need non-polar solvents to clean non-polar dirt molecules.
Water is a polar solvent that can’t dissolve the non-polar oil, grease, dirt, and other common pollutants. On the other hand, alcohol is a mix of non-polar and polar atoms which can dissolve almost every bit of dust. That’s why it’s considered highly effective for cleaning dirty disc brakes.
2. Leaves No Residue
When it comes to brakes, it’s all about maintaining the friction. If you use soap, it will leave a thin layer on the brakes, reducing the brakes’ resistance. However, this is not the case with alcohol.
It will quickly evaporate after the application without leaving any oil, stain, or other residues on the disc. As a result, there will be no oily substances to reduce the resistance and hinder the performance of your disc brakes.
3. Cheap And Easily Attainable
Of course, there are many other solvents available for cleaning metal surfaces. However, most are pricier than alcohol, while some can harm the paint on your bike.
Alcohol is easily available, cheapest to buy, and probably the safest for the paint and metal surface. Also, it comes in many different forms like pads, sprays, and liquid for easy application. That’s why it’s widely used for at-home cleaning of the disc brakes.
How to Clean Disc Brakes with Alcohol?
As mentioned, the process of using alcohol to clean your disc brakes is super-easy. Follow the steps given below to do the job within minutes!
- Step 1: First, carefully remove the disc brakes and clean them with regular soap and water. This will help you clean the larger dirt particles, mud chunks, and acid residue.
- Step 2: Now, let the brakes completely dry out. Otherwise, the remaining water might dilute the effectiveness of alcohol. Once dried, take a clean rag and proceed to the next step.
- Step 3: Soak the rag in alcohol for a few seconds and use your hands to wipe the brakes. Make sure you scrub off all the grime, dirt, debris, and other residues. You can also use an old toothbrush for better cleaning. When you’re done, wait for a minute and reset the brakes in place.
So, that was all about cleaning disc brakes with alcohol. You should choose isopropyl or rubbing alcohol as it’s probably the easiest and most effective solvent for cleaning the disc brakes.
Follow our step-by-step guide to remove all dirt and residue from the brakes quickly. You can also use alcohol sprays or pads for the best results.