Most brake cleaners come in a spray can that won't require you to dissemble the brake parts; this makes it a pretty convenient and simple project to accomplish. When using spray-on brake cleaner, there aren't many tools needed get the job done. Of course you'll need to take off the tire, so make sure to have your car's tire iron or an impact wrench handy to get the job done. Keep in mind that you'll need to have a set of jack stands to secure the car as well.
When you apply the brake cleaner, debris and contaminates will wash off of the brakes so you'll need a pan to catch the excess cleaner. Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on where and how you dispose of the cleaner once you're done. Your state may require a special container to store the used brake cleaner in so contact your state's environmental protection agency office, a city disposal office or ask around at a local auto shop to find out how to dispose used brake cleaner.
Most brake cleaners have a number of harmful chemicals including acetone, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene that you don't want on your skin, near your eyes or anything else you value [source: NYC Department of Sanitation]. These chemicals can irritate your skin, eyes, cause dizziness, headaches and prolonged exposure could cause problems in the lungs, lead to unconsciousness, vomiting and a myriad of other unwanted effects. To help protect yourself, it's a good idea to wear a pair of protective gloves and protective eyewear. You should also apply the brake cleaner only when you're in a well-ventilated area. Before you apply any spray-on cleaner, read the warning label and see if there are any recommendations for protecting yourself.
Go on to the next page to find out how to prepare the vehicle for a brake cleaning.