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As soon as we had all the old drum brake parts off and out of the way, we sprayed some water on the backing plates to prevent the brake dust from getting airborne. It's also a lot cheaper than brake cleaner and works really well. Once the backing plates were nice and wet, we took a stiff bristle brush, scrubbed them clean, and then washed them down again. We used a drip pan to help keep the shop floor clean.