Environmentally friendly solvents and cleaners

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by TheloniusDrunk, May 31, 2021.

  1. TheloniusDrunk

    TheloniusDrunk New Member

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    I've been getting into doing some of the maintenance on my Prius (and my other car) recently. This has lead me to wonder if there are environmentally friendly (or at least better on the environment) options for things like de-greasers and brake cleaner. It seems like part of owning a complex machine like a car is the carbon footprint not just of the fuel and the embodied carbon footprint of materials like metals, rubbers, and plastics, but also in the oils needed for long-term use and care (engine oil, transmission oil, etc).

    Are there options for de-greasers that are more environmentally friendly that the standard ones you buy at an auto shop or similar? Can you make an effective DIY one (say with dawn, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol -- or a similar concoction)?
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    My usual preferred approach is just to not use such things much. Rather than keep brake cleaner around, for example, I just make an effort not to get grease on my brake surfaces to begin with. They don't have to be food-grade clean ... most of the time they're about as clean as anything else that's been rolling down public roads for thousands of miles, and they still make the car stop.

    Brake cleaner can be needed for new rotors, with a coating protecting them from rust in storage. But I still have no idea how old a Prius needs to be to need new rotors.
     
  3. TheloniusDrunk

    TheloniusDrunk New Member

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    Yeah this is more for my truck I just bought that I need to clean up. I haven't had to use much of this at all for the Prius and it's been in my family since new in '04. The truck though needs to have all its fluids changed, which I can do and drop off to a local auto store. But I'm considering a brake upgrade and that will probably entail some grease cleaning
     
  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    There are two versions of brake cleaner. The older style is “worse” somehow, either for the air quality or carcinogenic (or both). The newer one is better in that regard, still pretty effective, but also more flammable. I went with the newer one.

    Addendum: the diff is chlorinated (old-style) vs non-chlorinated (new-style):

    Brake Cleaners and Maintenance - Automotive Car Care | CRC Canada Co.

    I’d second @ChapmanF ’s thought, to just minimize your use of such chemicals. Sometimes you have to, but yeah.

    too, check the back of your tool shelves: sometimes there’s an old can kicking around. Similarly, with oils and greases: try to use up what you’ve got. Or if you’ll never need it, maybe pass it on to the gearhead up the block; at least it’ll get used.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i use simple green for everything, even shower with it
     
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