Gun scrubber vs Brake cleaner

 Gun scrubber vs Brake cleaner

Part of owning a gun is not just shooting it for fun or sport, that is the easy part, the hard not so fun part is cleaning and maintaining it. A gun might look good on the shelf but if it cannot shoot, then its pretty useless to you. 

The performance of a firearm highly depends on how well it is maintained. A thumb of rule is to clean your gun after you shoot it to prevent carbon fouling. The tricky part is knowing what solvents to use to get rid of the fouling. 

Some people use soap and water, and while soapy water may help remove dirt and grime, it is not a good choice for removing heavy fouling. Some people prefer to use a gun scrubber and others a brake cleaner. 

These two solvents are known to remove grease, oil, dirt from metal surfaces, and they do an excellent job.

However, the question is, should you use a brake cleaner to clean your gun? And of the two, which is the best for gun cleaning? 

Notably, these solvents have the same chemical composition with some minor differences, and they are manufactured for different purposes. While it might be confusing which one to use, its best to do a fact check and know the pros and cons of each. 

Gun Scrubber

A gun scrubber is a solvent that is specifically made for gun cleaning. It evaporates quickly and it helps protect a firearm from jamming, and improves the accuracy of a gun

Gun scrubber improves the accuracy
Source: Pixabay

Gun scrubbers are excellent for cleaning bolts, barrels, slide actions, and other gun parts. You can use a gun scrubber to clean a shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun, and basically any other type of firearm. 

It is versatile in that you can use it safely to clean plastics, wood, rubber grips, and other materials on your firearm without corroding them.

However, you have to use a gun scrubber together with a bore cleaning solvent and you also have to lube the gun afterward because it will strip off all the oils from your gun.


  • It is easy to use 
  • It cleans fast and dries quickly
  •  It does not leave any residue
  • It gun be used on plastic gun


  • It strips all the oil from a gun
  • It is costly

Brake cleaner

Brake cleaner
Source: YouTube

Brake cleaners are chemical solvents made for cleaning engine compartments and brake disks just to name a few. They are mainly used for degreasing metallic surfaces or pats. 

They are much stronger than gun scrubber cleaners and they leave no residue once the solvent evaporates. 

Brake cleaners fall under two categories: chlorinated or non-chlorinated. Modern brake cleaners are non-chlorinated and comprise of, aliphatic or aromatic compounds with polar solvents like acetone, ethanol, methanol, and isopropanol.

Chlorinated brake cleaners were faced out due to their ozone-depleting nature.Text here

It is also known if it gets hot they produce a by-product called phosgene gas. Phosgene gas even in small amounts may cause scarring in your nose and lungs when inhaled.

Non- chlorinated brake cleaners are less risky but they can irritate the skin, and if inhaled for long periods, they may cause dizziness, incoordination, loss of appetite, nausea, dermatitis, and unconsciousness. Due to its strength, it can corrode wood, plastic, and paint.


  • It is a good solvent for oil-based gunk
  • It is good for stains and stuck parts
  • It is cheap


  • It corrodes plastics wood and rubber parts
  • It is harmful to the skin if exposed

Which one should you choose?

If you are looking to get a gun cleaning solvent and you are wondering whether to buy a gun scrubber or use a break cleaner, here are some factors you should consider that might help you make a sound decision.  


The main reason of using a gun cleaning solvent is to ensure that your gun is free of powder reside, oil buildup, grime and dirt. While both a gun scrubber and brake cleaner are excellent degreasers, if your gun has wood, rubber or plastic parts, a brake cleaner in this case would not be an ideal choice.

It is always important to choose a gun cleaning solvent that will not corrode or damage the non-metallic parts of your firearm. 


Price is a factor when you consider the differences between these two gun cleaning solvents. If you own a firearm that is entirely composed of metal, you can use a brake cleaner or a gun scrubber. 

Use gun scrubber for metal, plastic, rubber, or wood parts firearm
Source: YouTube

But if you own a gun that has plastic, rubber, or wood parts, then a gun scrubber would be more ideal since it will not corrode or damage these parts. A brake cleaner would be an unwise choice because it is too harsh when used on other materials other than metal. 

Therefore, even if a brake cleaner might be cheaper than a gun scrubber, don’t risk using it if your gun is made of other materials other than metal.  


Gun cleaning solvents are made of chemicals which means caution must be taken when buying and handling these solvents.

Make sure to read the product label and instruction manual to know what chemicals are in their formula.

It’s best to use a gun cleaning solvent that is not harmful to your gun parts and you.


We hope that the information provided will help you in choosing an ideal gun cleaning solvent for your firearm maintenance. Brake cleaners while they are convenient to use when you don’t want to buy a gun scrubber, they are not the best choice for guns with non-metallic parts. 

Gun scrubbers, on the other hand, are formulated for gun cleaning and; therefore, would be the ideal choice when choosing a gun cleaning solvent. You can use soap and water, but water will do little to remove stubborn carbon fouling

You can learn a lot by experiencing with different cleaning solvents, but always do your research first before testing a gun cleaning solvent to avoid damaging it.  

Gun scrubber vs Brake cleaner-1-1

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