I was spraying some lubricant on my chain and accidentally sprayed on my hydraulic brakes and it affects my bikes braking power massively.

How do I clean this off?

  • I would suggest acetone or paint thinner and possibly replacing the brake pads if possible or necessary.
    – An Ant
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 4:48

2 Answers 2


Rotors can always be cleaned; sometimes you have to use scotch brite or sandpaper, but usually brake cleaner alone will clean them fine. Make sure you clean the areas around the rotor, especially the hub, to make sure the contamination doesn't drip, "sling" or migrate back onto the rotor. The best brake cleaner is perchloroethylene (original red-can Brakleen) because it is non-flammable and relatively gentle on rubber, paint, aluminum etc.; however all commercial brake cleaners clean the brake rotors themselves just as well. If you don't have brake cleaner you can try alcohol or degreasers.

The brake pads may be ruined. You can try drenching them in solvent or sanding them down slightly, but it might be better to just get new ones. If you use contaminated pads, you will have to repeat cleaning the rotor, so trying to rehabilitate brake pads is often not worth it.

  • 1
    Agreed. And OP can prevent this happening again by taking more care when spraying near brakes. A piece of junk cardboard behind the chain will act as a backstop and prevent overspray.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 0:42
  • I strongly recommend replacing the pads, make sure you "bed them in". Don't just start riding normally. If you are not sure how to do that a quick internet search will do you just fine.
    – Ben Stokes
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 2:43
  • 1
    Also, I have successfully washed oil off rotors as follows. First, Soap and water with a nice soft brush. soft is good not because it protects the rotors, but it does a good job washing uniformly. Second, alcohol on a rag, and really wipe the sucker down.
    – Ben Stokes
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 2:47

I think I'd wash them with plenty of soapy warm water but I think they could be already contaminated.

I'd wash them and replace as soon as you're able to as a precautionary measure

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.