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Old 12-06-2012, 10:47 PM   #1
Conductor562
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Default Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I've never paid much attention to what brake cleaner I buy and typically just get whatever is cheapest which usually turns out to be the store brand at whatever auto place I happen to be at. Today I noticed they offer chlorinated and non-chlorinated versions and the brand I typically buy appears to be non-chlorinated. The non-chlorinated version seems to be environmentally friendly (which isn't a huge concern for me) and it is also about $1 cheaper per can. What's the difference in performance? I have to assume that since the the same manufacturer offers both versions the more expensive one must be better? Any first hand knowledge on this one
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

All I know is: DON'T ARC WELD NEAR ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE CLEANED WITH CHLORINATED BRAKE CLEANER.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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All I know is: DON'T ARC WELD NEAR ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE CLEANED WITH CHLORINATED BRAKE CLEANER.
Good to know
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

Non-clorinated is now the only stuff, available in cali. Clorinated leaves NO residue, unlike non-clorinated.

I get my brake cleaner when I visit Nevada.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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Originally Posted by JasonTX View Post
All I know is: DON'T ARC WELD NEAR ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE CLEANED WITH CHLORINATED BRAKE CLEANER.
until it evaporates. then it's fine. but it doesn't take much of it to make you sick, so make sure it's all gone.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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until it evaporates. then it's fine. but it doesn't take much of it to make you sick, so make sure it's all gone.
I don't think so.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

The chrlorinated parts cleaners are NOT allowed in my garage after a mig welding incident last year. I was welding on a project that had been drilled and had a lot of oil on it so i gave it a good blast of brake cleaner to remove the oil and welded away. A couple of minutes into welding i smelled something acrid in the air . I stopped and vented out the garage.

For the next two days it was as if there was a cap of bleach under my nose.So I started searching the net and came up with Phosegene poisoning!

I seem to be fine after the incident but the outcome could have been worse.
http://tomwade.me/motorcycles/phosgene.php

Last week I went to a buddys garage to help him work on a skidder, when I get out of the truck I smell the same acrid smell outside of the garage. He had been cleaning some gasket mating surfaces with chlorinated brake cleaner while running a kerosene space heater (salamander) in the garage. While not as bad as phosgene the result of chlorinated vapors being run through space heater are Chlorine Gas!
Keep this crap out of your garages guys.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I find that if I buy what is banned in CA. that seems to be the best choice.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I prefer the chlorinated as I feel it works better and leaves no residue. My local NAPA makes me a great deal on either the 3M or the CRC brand, it seems they usually have one or the other on sale.

Like mentioned earlier DO NOT use any chlorinated brake cleaner around parts that are going to be welded. The vapors when heated produce phosgene gas which can be deadly worst case or sick depending on exposure.

When welding I wipe parts down with acetone rather than any of the aerosol cleaners.

Mike.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I only use the "real" Brake Clean - works well. Tried the other - gaak. As above, not a cleaner for pre or post weld items.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

Chlorinated usually works better because Chlorine is very reactive. This is good in some situations but Chlorine attacks metals which can weaken them. Even stainless steel and Gold are not immune.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I find that if I buy what is banned in CA. that seems to be the best choice.
That's my philosophy as well.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:43 AM   #13
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I was under the impression that the chlorinated brake cleaners are not good/safe for many plastics as well (dissolves them)? Is that true?
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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I was under the impression that the chlorinated brake cleaners are not good/safe for many plastics as well (dissolves them)? Is that true?
Some plastics respond differently than others. I test in a small inconspicuous area first to check for a reaction IF I have to. However, I generally try to not use brake cleaner on plastics. I have found a product made by ZEP called Power House that works awesome on plastic components. I started using it on chain saws and weed trimmers a few years ago because many of the components on them are plastic any more.

The Power House cleans well without leaving a film or residue behind and it does not attract anything either. It really makes the black plastic components come to life without being glossy. Customers really like when they pic up their item and it is cleaned. It is not cheap so I generally only use it as a final wipe down on a part prior to assembling.

Mike.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I've gotten used to the non-chlorinated stuff, it works well enough for most purposes, not worth the hassle to source the chlorinated stuff, and the fumes are downright nasty, even without heat. You only have one pair of lungs. For those who have to go that extra inch, why not get some carbon tet, I hear it works even better.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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Originally Posted by zmotorsports View Post
Like mentioned earlier DO NOT use any chlorinated brake cleaner around parts that are going to be welded. The vapors when heated produce phosgene gas which can be deadly worst case or sick depending on exposure.

Mike.
It's not the heat, it is the exposure to UV from the welding process that causes the chemical reaction. This is why you have to be careful with any part near your welding station that has chlorinated brake cleaner on it, not just the part you are welding.

But you are absolutely right about phosgene gas- it is a very deadly chemical (why it was/is used as a military weapon).
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

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Originally Posted by zmotorsports View Post
Some plastics respond differently than others. I test in a small inconspicuous area first to check for a reaction IF I have to. However, I generally try to not use brake cleaner on plastics. I have found a product made by ZEP called Power House that works awesome on plastic components. I started using it on chain saws and weed trimmers a few years ago because many of the components on them are plastic any more.
Interesting! Thanks for that tip. Did you find it in HD? I think I remember them selling Zep products, but I don't recall seeing this one.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:02 PM   #18
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

I prefer the non-chlorinated myself; seems to do as good a job as the chlorinated for me, and is a lot easier to smell.

I always buy the CRC brand over the store brand - they are a big sponsor of the 201X challenge at Grassroots Motorsports, so I figure they're worth the extra 50 cents a can to return the favor to us cheap car guys.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

My favorite Brake Cleaner is the Wurth stuff. Read the MSDS on it. It's the only one that isn't poisoning you as you use it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Brake cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated

Chlorinated just does a better job, but has risks with using it - it's also a cancer causing agent which is what got it banned in Kalifornia. As far as plastic parts go, it often will dissolve them, or at least make them "sticky" until if finally fully evaporates. I have found that the "Electronic Parts" cleaners will do an ok job of cleaning parts with plastics on them without causing problems.
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