Brake Dust: A Causes, Cleaning, and Prevention Guide
Brake Dust

Brake dust is the accumulation of tiny metallic particles that come off the brake pads when you apply the brakes. It is a common problem that affects all kinds of vehicles, from cars to trucks and motorcycles. The dust can be unsightly, and it can also be harmful to your health if you inhale it. This guide will help you understand the causes of brake dust, how to clean it, and how to prevent it from forming in the first place.

Causes of Brake Dust

The primary cause of brake dust is the friction between the brake pads and the rotors. As the pads rub against the rotors, they wear down and release tiny particles of metal into the air. This process is known as abrasion, and it is inevitable as long as you continue to drive your vehicle for an extended period of time.

There are several factors that can increase the amount of brake dust that your vehicle produces. These include are not limited to the following:

  • Driving Style: If you are a heavy braker, you will generate more brake dust than someone who brakes lightly.
  • Type of Brake Pads: Some brake pads produce more dust than others. Ceramic brake pads, for example, generate less dust than metallic pads.
  • Type of Wheels: Certain types of wheels, such as alloy wheels, tend to show brake dust more prominently than others.

Cleaning Brake Dust

Cleaning brake dust can be a challenging task, especially if the dust has been allowed to accumulate for a long time. Follow these steps when cleaning the dust off your wheels:

  1. Park your vehicle on a level surface and allow the brakes to cool down completely.
  2. Spray the wheels with a high-pressure hose to remove loose dirt or debris.
  3. Apply a brake dust cleaner to the wheels. You can find these cleaners at most automotive stores.
  4. Let the cleaner sit on the wheels for a few minutes, then use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away the dust.
  5. Rinse the wheels with water and dry them with a clean towel.

Preventing Brake Dust

The best way to keep your wheels from looking clean and shiny is by preventing brake dust from forming in the first place. Consider these tips and practices to help you reduce the amount of dust your brakes produce:

  • Use Ceramic Brake Pads: These pads produce less dust than metallic pads and are quieter.
  • Avoid Heavy Braking Whenever Possible: Braking gently reduces the dust your brakes produce and extends the life of your brake pads and rotors.
  • Keep Your Wheels Clean: Regularly washing your wheels will help prevent brake dust from building up.
  • Upgrade Your Wheels: Some wheels are designed to be more resistant to brake dust than others. Consider upgrading to a set of wheels that are easier to clean.


Brake dust may be an inevitable byproduct of driving, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. By understanding the causes of brake dust and taking steps to prevent it, you can keep your wheels looking clean and shiny for longer. If you do need to clean your wheels, following the steps outlined above will help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

At East Coast Coatings, we specialise in alloy wheel refurbishments and coatings to protect your wheels from brake dust and other forms of damage. Our staff is skilled and experienced in restoring, repairing, and enhancing the appearance of all types of wheels. 

Call us at 07427565994 to enquire about the rates of our services.