How To Clean Your Brake Rotor: The Safe And Easy Way

Taking care of your car may cost your money and time both. But it is going to pay off for sure in the long run. Braking is one of the most frequent things we do when we are driving in the city. Even if you go to any car mechanics garage, you will notice brake-related complexity and problems.

A good braking system can give you the guarantee of a good stoppage. On the contrary, a bad brake may send you to hospital fighting with serious injuries. To maintain an excellent brake, you must regularly clean your brake rotor.

So, in this guide, we are going to show you exactly how to clean your brake rotor.

Why Do You Need to Clean the Brake Rotor

Why Do You Need to Clean the Brake Rotor?

The brake rotor is very much exposed to the environment, so you must clean it up frequently. If you avoid taking care of your rotor, rust is going to appear very fast.

Not only that, even your car is stand by in your garage for a long time, rust is not going to leave your brake rotor.

So, don’t put a burden on yourself by not properly checking and cleaning your rotor. If you make it too late to clean your rotors, you need to buy another pair.

How to Check Brake Pads

How to Clean Brake Rotors?

There are various ways you can clean your rotors. You can do it by yourself by following some easy steps. Have enough confidence that you can complete the task even if you are doing it for the first time.

So, the cleaning ways are the following:

Regular Clean-Up

The process of doing that is to start with the lug nuts off your wheel. Loosen them and then take off the wheel. Now the rotor is fully exposed at easy to clean with a bare hand.

This one is the easiest type of cleaning up your rotor. All you need to do is that you take a fresh cloth and clean the surface of the rotor.

Every time we go for hangout, our cars get dirty, so do the rotors. So try to clean it regularly. It will keep your braking performance smooth.

Create Fiction in the Breaking System

Sometimes when you go for a long tour and leave your car at your garage. After coming from the 2-3 months of the tour you will notice that a good amount of rust is present and visible in your rotor.

In this type of case, you can choose a highway that is not busy or a wide area. Run your car at a prolonged speed. Please keep the pace below 25 kmph and make some hard brake.

Do this around 7-8 times. By doing this, you can generate significant friction in your braking system, which means that your brake pad will have an extreme side by side friction with the brake disc or rotor.

It will help the rust to go away from your brake rotor. Give a final check by opening your wheel and have a look on your rotor.

Clean with Stainless Wire Brush

Start by removing the lug nuts from the wheels. In this process, you do not need to remove the rotor.

Just check the amount of rust on the surface of the rotor. Then rub the surface with a stainless wire brush. It will remove the rust very fast from the rotor.

After that, wash the rotor with any high-quality washing liquid formula. You will have a shining rotor in front of you.

Clean with an Angle Grinder

If you have an angle grinder of your own, you can also use it for the cleaning of your brake rotor. In this case, you need to take off the rotor from the braking system.

After opening the wheel by removing the lug nuts, you can remove the rotor by removing the brake caliper. You also need to remove the bolts of the rotor. Because it is connected with the mounting bracket, a hex wrench will help you best in this case. Now it is effortless to remove the rotor.

Finally, with the use of your angle grinder, you can remove the rust from the rotor surface. Make sure when you are working with the angle grinder, you don’t give too much pressure. Or else your rotor surface can be damaged.

After 3-5 minutes, your rotor will become thoroughly clean.

How to Clean Brake Rotors Without Removing Wheel

How to Clean Brake Rotors Without Removing Wheel?

Cleaning brake rotors without removing the wheels can be done using vinegar, an acidic solution that can break down and remove dirt and grime. Here are the steps you can follow:

Step 1: Prepare the materials
You will need vinegar, a spray bottle, a clean cloth or rag, and a bucket of water.

Step 2: Lift the car
Using a jack, lift the car on the side that you want to clean the brake rotors.

Step 3: Spray the vinegar
Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and generously spray vinegar onto the brake rotor surface.

Step 4: Wait for the vinegar to settle
Allow the vinegar to settle for at least five minutes to penetrate the dirt and grime on the brake rotors.

Step 5: Wipe off the dirt
Wipe off the dirt and grime that the vinegar has loosened on the brake rotors with a clean cloth or rag.

Step 6: Rinse the brake rotors
Get a bucket of water and rinse off the brake rotors thoroughly.

Step 7: Dry the brake rotors
Use a clean cloth or rag to dry off the brake rotors, making sure to remove any remaining moisture.

Step 8: Lower the car
Carefully lower the car back to the ground once the brake rotors are clean and dry.

That’s it! Following these easy steps can help you clean your brake rotors easily and effectively using vinegar without needing to remove the wheels.

How to Clean New Rotors Without a Brake Cleaner?

How to Clean New Rotors Without a Brake Cleaner?

  1. Start by wiping the rotors down with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess dust or debris.
  2. Mix a solution of warm water and mild soap in a bucket.
  3. Dip a clean sponge or cloth into the soapy water and wring it out to remove any excess liquid.
  4. Gently wipe down the rotors with the sponge or cloth, being careful not to scrub too hard or damage the surface.
  5. Rinse the rotors with clean water using a hose or bucket.
  6. Dry the rotors thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth or air-dry them.
  7. Inspect the rotors for any remaining dirt or debris and repeat steps 3-6 as needed until the rotors are completely clean.
  8. Once the rotors are clean and dry, they are ready to be installed onto your vehicle.
What Happens If You Don't Clean New Rotors

What Happens If You Don’t Clean New Rotors?

Suppose you don’t clean new rotors before installing them on your vehicle. In that case, they may have a layer of residue or oils from the manufacturing process that can negatively affect their performance. This can result in poor braking performance, reduced stopping power, brake fade, and even premature wear of the brake pads.

Additionally, if the new rotors were stored for a long time, they may have accumulated rust or corrosion on their surfaces, which can also negatively impact brake performance. Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly clean new rotors before installing them to ensure optimal brake performance and longevity.

Watch The Video on How to Clean Your Brake Rotor

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to clean both brake rotors or just one?

It is recommended to clean both brake rotors as they are exposed to the same conditions and can wear down at a similar rate.

Can I use any type of cloth to wipe the brake rotor?

Use a lint-free cloth and microfiber to clean your brake rotor, and avoid using abrasive or rough cloths that can scratch the rotor surface.

Should I clean my brake rotor if I’m not experiencing any issues?

It is still important to clean your brake rotor even if you are not experiencing any issues as dirt and grime build-up can affect the brake system’s performance in the long run.


Cleaning your brake rotor is an essential task that you must perform regularly to maintain a good braking system. With various cleaning methods available, you can choose one that suits your convenience. However, it is crucial to do it regularly to avoid any build-up of dirt, grime, or rust that can affect the brake performance and even cause accidents. By following the steps discussed in this article, you can ensure your brake system’s longevity and optimal performance, which is crucial for your safety and that of other road users.


John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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