There is no denying that people love shiny, forged aluminum and magnesium allow wheels, but they require regular maintenance to maintain their shine. You can do that by washing them using conventional methods, of course, but this is both tiresome and guaranteed to only last a couple of days until a new wash is required. A good way to lengthen your wheels’ shine is to employ wheel cleaning solutions to not only make the shine last longer but also to make the whole cleaning process easier. To give you a good idea of what decent wheel-cleaning formulas are supposed to look like, we put together a list of the ten best wheel cleaners money can buy for your consideration.
Best Wheel Cleaners – Reviews & Buying Guide
10Flash Brown Royal Non-acid Wheel Cleaner
The Flash Brown Royal Non-acid Wheel Cleaner is a high-quality product crafted with a super concentrated non-acid formula. Safe to use on all tires, this cleaner is made from all natural, biodegradable ingredients that are environmentally friendly and perfectly safe to use. Easy to use, it removes heavy dirt and dust from brakes as well as clears grime from alloy coated, chrome coated and painted wheels. Thanks to the unique polymer-agent present in its formula, it not only cleans the tire but shines the surface as well. It also cleans engine grease, white walls, tar, bugs, and oil with relative ease.
- Contains non-acidic ingredients
- It can be used on all surfaces
- Benefits from a biodegradable formula
- It is highly concentrated
- It works a lot better if you wash the wheel beforehand
- Smells a bit odd
9Yellow Degreaser – Wheel & Tire Cleaner
The Yellow Degreaser – Wheel & Tire Cleaner is a premium quality concentrated cleaner that is uniquely put together with 100% safe, all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients and free from harmful chemicals and toxins. Designed to eliminate all traces of grease marks, grime and brake dust, this product works wonders on white wall tires and is safe for all kinds of other tires. Unlike others, this wheel cleaner does not require scrubbing and does not leave any residue. Available in a handy 1 Gallon container, this concentrated liquid can be diluted with water in a 20 to 1 ratio.
- Works great on white wall tires
- Can be used on all tire types
- Eliminates hard scrubbing completely
- Features a highly concentrated formula
- May require a repeated application on chrome wheels
- The smell requires some getting used to
8Chemical Guys CLD_203_04 Wheel Cleaner
Ideal for custom wheels, the Chemical Guys CLD_203_04 Wheel Cleaner is a heavy duty product that removes dirt and debris from tires with ease. Thanks to its unique citrus-based formula, it instantly eliminates grease, dirt, oxidation and brake dust that could be corrosive and harmful to tires. It can also be utilized to clean tires and wheels that are chrome plated, powder-coated or polished. Made with a concentrated consistency, it needs to be diluted in water and can be used for various cleaning tasks.
- It is particularly effective on custom wheels
- Can be used to remove debris and dirt
- Uses a citrus-based formula that removes corrosive brake dust
- Can be diluted quite a bit
- Comes in a fairly small package
- May require a repeat application for dirty wheels
7Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner
Designed to remove all traces of brake dust and oil, grease, and road film, Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner is a deeply concentrated product that is made in the US. Free from caustic acids, butyl ethers, and other harmful detergents and cleaning agents, it contains safe and natural ingredients. Formulated to dissolve and suspend brake dust and dirt, it changes color on contact and produces excellent results. Owing to its heavy duty concentrated consistency, it needs to be diluted in water up to a 1:3 ratio for better cleaning.
- Can be used to eliminate dirt and brake dust
- Features an acid-free, pH neutral formula
- It is very gentle on wheels
- Changes colors as it cleans
- Can only be used a few times
- The package could be bigger
6Black Magic Bleche-Wite Tire Cleaner
Thanks to its convenient and fast acting formula, the Black Magic 800002223 Bleche-Wite Tire Cleaner instantly dissolves and removes all traces of dust, grime and road film present on your tires. In addition, is also cleans black and white walls and the white lettering on wheels. Equipped with the advanced “Primascrub” that includes heavy duty cleaning elements, it cleans out the soil and debris that latch onto tire surfaces. Thanks to easy to use formula, it can be sprayed on and wiped off to give you squeaky clean tires in no time.
- It is very fast acting
- Can be used to clean black or white walls as well as white lettering
- It is fortified with Primascrub
- Can be sprayed with ease
- More of a cleaner than a shiner
- Doesn’t bode well with other cleaners
5Mothers 05924 Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner
The Mothers 05924 Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner is a non-acidic spray on cleaning liquid uniquely designed to clean tires and wheels. Thanks to its premium quality ingredients and formula, it is safe for painted, color-coated, chrome finish, steel, factory coated and modular wheels, including hubcaps. Featuring an easy to use spray on bottle, it instantly penetrates through the toughest dust, grease, and dirt. Known for its quality and reliability, this product, however, should not be used on polished and roughcast aluminum or on bike wheels.
- Uses a foaming, non-acidic formula
- It is 100% safe for painted wheels
- Comes in a unique spray form
- Can also be used on factory/OEM wheels
- May have issues with Brembo Brake Calipers
- Particularly difficult to use in tandem with other cleaners
4Sonax (230241) Wheel Cleaner Plus
Safe for any type of wheel including painted wheels, chrome coated wheels, custom wheels, and powder coated wheels, the Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus is a heavy-duty, non-corrosive cleaning product. Uniquely crafted to remove dirt and debris with its foaming action, it can penetrate through the thickest layers of brake dust and grime. Featuring a high-quality formula, it is safe for the environment and does not contain any harmful chemicals. Designed to remove all kinds of harmful deposits present on your tires, this cleaner is non-acidic, yet safe to use on all kinds of wheels.
- Changes color when sprayed
- Can be used on all type of wheels
- Features an acid-free, pH-balanced formula
- It is entirely environmentally friendly
- Not that great on heavily painted wheels
- May pose issues for custom-made wheels
3Meguiar’s Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner
Thanks to its extreme cling foam formula, the Meguiar’s Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner instantly clings on to the surface of your wheel, dissolving and eliminating brake dust, dirt, and grime. Loaded with 100% safe ingredients and cleaning agents, this cleaner can be safely used on clear-coated rims and factory painted rims as well as tires. Thanks to its convenient spray-on bottle, it is easy to use and can be sprayed on and washed off without any hassle. Not only does this cleaner provide a high standard of cleaning but it also provides your rims with a superb shine.
- It is perfectly safe for factory painted rims
- Will rid the wheels of dirt and grime just by spraying it on
- Benefits from an easy-to-use sprayer
- It also dissolves brake dust and grime
- Not that great for anodized or powder coated surfaces
- Using it on alloys require an extra bit of effort
2CarGuys Best All Wheels Wheel and Tire Cleaner
Uniquely crafted with a premium grade formula, the Quality Chemical Mag Brite is a top-notch rim and wheel cleaner and degreaser. Thanks to its special ingredients and cleaning agents, there is no need to scrub, as the cleaner instantly removes dirt and dust with ease. Just simply apply to cooled wheels and wash off for a clean shiny result. Free from phosphate and other harmful chemicals, it is specially designed to safely remove heavy road film and grime from most wheels. However, this product should not be used on aluminum wheels or other smooth alloys without first checking the instructions.
- Can be used to clean harmful salt and winter grime
- It is 100% environmentally friendly
- Safe on all types of tires
- Will not damage or stain the paint on your wheels
- May take the clear coat off from some tires
- Could cause problems for anodized surfaces
1Sonax (230200-755) Wheel Cleaner
Considered as one of the best of its kind and known for its high performance and durability, the Sonax (230200-755) Wheel Cleaner uses with a unique formula, free from acid and harmful chemicals. Safe to clean wheels with various types of finishes, it automatically turns red when in contact with dirt and grime. Unlike most others, this cleaner works great on aluminum and alloy wheels and is safe to utilize on painted and clear coated wheels. Thanks to its easy to use spray-on bottle, it can be easily applied and washed off without any effort whatsoever, just as long as you follow the instructions to the letter.
- Uses an acid-free, pH-balanced formula
- Turns red as it cleans
- Guaranteed to work well on high-end aluminum and alloys
- Perfectly safe to use on painted, anodized, and clear coated wheels
- Smells a bit odd
- The packaging is a bit flimsy
More products also worth checking out:
Buying The Perfect Wheel Cleaner
Those of you who have spent a great deal of money on premium quality wheels for your car will recognize how important it is to own a good wheel cleaner to help maintain their condition and form. When purchasing a good wheel cleaner for your car, there are a few factors that you should consider if you want to make sure you purchase the right one. Such as composition, application, ease of use, and packaging. Hopefully, you have enough sense to educate yourself on what constitutes a decent wheel cleaner before committing to a purchase.
What To Consider:
- Always choose a wheel cleaner that is pH neutral or mild – When purchasing a wheel cleaner you must ensure the product you are buying is safe for your wheels. Cleaners that are free from harsh chemicals and that are non-acidic are the ones to go for, even though acidic cleaners tend to remove dirt and grime more easily. Cleaners formulated with acid tend to damage the outer coating of your wheels and would leave you with an altered look. Gentle, mild products are usually pH neutral and are safe to use on any type of wheel.
- Choose a cleaner depending on your wheel type – Most car owners are aware of the type of wheels they have, but some of them aren’t aware. With the wide range of wheel types, finishes and materials, it is hard to tell which wheels are powder coated and which ones are made from aluminum and alloy. For those who are not aware of the kind of wheels they have on their car, it is recommended that you first find out and then decide on which wheel cleaner suits you best. Always buy a cleaner that is specifically designed for your type of tire.
- Color-changing cleaners are more convenient – When applied and put in contact with the dirt and grime present on wheels, most cleaners change their color. This is only to make you aware that there is dirt on your wheels. If you are unsure, spraying a second time would help. If the color alters again, it only means you still have dirt on the wheel. If it doesn’t change color that means your wheels are clean and good to go.
- Always check the instructions – Although some of you might think this guide would help you determine the best wheel cleaner and how to use it, it is highly recommended that you read the instructions mentioned on the bottle itself, along with any instructions from the manufacturer. This is simply because it would help you make an educated choice in regards to the logistics of applying the cleaner. Most cleaners are concentrated and need diluting, of course, but without reading the instructions, you would end up using the highly concentrated solution in its pure form.
- Always keep a water hose and brush on hand – For better results, while cleaning your wheels and tires, it is handy to have a water hose and a brush as well. Not only would this help with effective cleaning but it would also make it easier to take off the unwanted dirt and debris along with the cleaning agent. If possible, look for instructions from the manufacturer on what types of brushes work best for their cleaning solution.
- Smaller brushes are better when cleaning between nuts and spokes – In order to reach the hard to reach areas, using a smaller brush would help. Although this may take time, it will help you clean all the corners and crevices and would leave your tires looking better. This is particularly important if you have custom wheels or chrome alloy wheels because they are among the most sensitive when it comes to brushes.
- Use wheel cleaners only for your car wheels and tires – Apart from cleaning your wheels and tires with a wheel cleaner, it is not recommended that you use this product to clean the paint job on your car. Most of these products tend to stain and cause discoloring of the paint when utilized. Use a car-wash shampoo in this case or if there are tough grease and tar stains on your paint job, try using a clay bar.
Is your wheel cleaner eco-friendly?
It is very important to ensure that the wheel cleaner you choose does not contain any harmful toxins or chemicals. Since you would be washing your car wheels outdoors, it should not cause any damage to yourself or the environment around you. So if possible, always check the ingredients on the label of the bottle to make sure you know what its formula contains and whether you can use the product safely on separate occasions.
Foaming vs Non-Foaming
Some cleaners turn into foam when applied to the wheels during the cleaning process, while others stay in liquid form. Most people find wheel cleaners that foam up easier to use as they can wipe away all traces of dirt with ease. Then again, non-foaming cleaners are generally considered to be better at giving the wheels that extra shine many people look for; without any of the hazards of purely cleansing oriented solutions.
Consider the smell
Another factor to consider is the fragrance that comes with the cleaner. For those of you who are sensitive to strong chemical smells, a cleaner with added odor might leave you with a headache or you might experience discomfort while washing your car wheels. A good quality cleaner should be odor-free or should have a mild pleasant fragrance. Cleaners that are made with harsh chemicals usually have strong odors and this should be kept in mind when purchasing not just cleaners but shiners as well.