6 Best Wheel Cleaners – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2019)

Dried mud, road grime, brake dust… Does it sound familiar to you when you look at your dirty wheels? And no, we do not want you to think about the last time you tried to remove these contaminants from your car’s rims; we do not want you to remember all the money you have spent on cleaning products which made you scrub and scour without visible results.
Our team wants you to stop and think for a second – are you sure you had the best wheel cleaner, the one intended for your car’s rims? If you are not sure, then this is the right time to read what we have prepared for you.
We have tested and described all the benefits and drawbacks of some of the top wheel cleaning products on the market in our wheel cleaner reviews. And since wheels are so different in terms of coatings, materials, and finishes, we know that your rims need individual care. That is why we have our guide here for you to help you pick the right cleaning product for your wheels.
So, scroll down and enjoy!

Best Wheel Cleaner Reviews – Editors’ Picks

Here is a list of the most effective products on the market. We do hope that our team’s choice on the finest detergents for your wheels, rims, and hubs will help you pick the right one for you. Our product review selection is not put in order of priority but randomly listed instead. We have pointed out all the advantages we have noticed in each product but haven’t forgotten to mention the disadvantages as well.

PRODUCTDETAILS
Sonax Wheel Cleaner

Sonax Wheel Cleaner

  • Price : $$$
  • Size : 16.9 fl. oz.
  • Contains : Acid-free and pH balanced formula
  • Application : All Wheels And Tires
  • Dimensions : 3.5 x 2.2 x 9″
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CarGuys Wheel Cleaner

CarGuys Wheel Cleaner

  • Price : $$$$
  • Size : 128 oz.
  • Contains : Highly-concentrated gel with pH-balanced formula and non-toxic
  • Application : 100% Safe For All Rims
  • Dimensions : 10.8 x 6.9 x 4.1″
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Adam’s Polishes Deep Wheel Cleaner

Adam’s Polishes Deep Wheel Cleaner

  • Price : $$
  • Size : 16 oz
  • Contains : Acid-free and pH neutral formula
  • Application : Clear-coated, powder-coated, chrome, alloy, and painted wheels
  • Dimensions : 11 x 3.2 x 3.2″
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Shine Society Wheel Cleaner

Shine Society Wheel Cleaner

  • Price : $
  • Size : 18oz
  • Contains : Natural citrus oil
  • Application : All Wheels And Tires
  • Dimensions : 9 x 2.8 x 2.3″
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Quwei Wheel And Tire Cleaner

Quwei Wheel And Tire Cleaner

  • Price: $$
  • Size : 16 oz 
  • Contains : Mild formula and odorless
  • Application : All Wheel Or Tire
  • Dimensions : 9 x 4.2 x 2.5″
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Carfidant Tire Shine Spray

Carfidant Tire Shine Spray

  • Price: $$$
  • Size : 18 oz
  • Contains : Nano-polymer formula
  • Application : All tires
  • Dimensions : 9 x 3 x 3″
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1. Sonax Wheel Cleaner

Sonax Wheel CleanerThe first product in our list comes from Sonax, and it is the perfect item for making your wheels shine like new. This wheel cleaner has an acid-free and pH balanced formula, which makes it safe for all types of wheel surfaces. You can use it on chrome, aluminum, steel, clear-coated finishes and many more.
Another thing that our team liked is how easy this product is to use. You just spray it on the target wheel, let it rest for 10 minutes and then rinse. However, the manufacturer recommends using high-pressure water for best results, which means that rinsing your wheels with water from a bucket will not give you the desired effect.
Still, there are other advantages to this wheel cleaner. You do not need to dilute the liquid from this 16.9 fl. Oz. Bottle as it is ready to be used. Moreover, this wheel detergent is so powerful that it easily removes brake dust and grime. Nevertheless, you will get satisfactory visible results if your rims are chromed or silver, for example.

Pros

  • Color-changing formula
  • No need to dilute the formula
  • Does not damage the rubber on the tire

Cons

  • Has a caustic smell
  • A bit pricey

2. CarGuys Wheel Cleaner

CarGuys Wheel CleanerOur next product is a highly-concentrated gel with pH-balanced formula and non-toxic. The CarGuys wheel cleaner comes in a 1-gallon bottle, which will be enough for many cleanings. Moreover, this item can be used safely on all types of wheels or tires thanks to its environmentally-friendly formula, free of toxic chemicals. You can apply this wheel cleaner without worrying about the adverse effect on anodized, non-coated, painted or alloy finishes on your tires.
There is one thing that impressed us, and that is how this product works. The dirt, brake dust, and road grime are all broken down at nano level, which makes the cleaning so effortlessly and quickly. You can even remove the white wall tires, exhaust tips, and tire dressings effectively.
However, if your rims are badly covered in rust, even scouring out won’t help. What is more, you may need to scrub every time you use this formula to get the results you have desired.

Pros

  • Mild smell
  • Works on all types of wheels
  • Non-toxic
  • Safe on high and braking systems

Cons

  • Will not help with severe rust
  • Scrubbing is required for good results

3. Adam’s Polishes Deep Wheel Cleaner

Adam’s Polishes Deep Wheel CleanerIn case you are looking for a product that will undoubtedly remove dirt and grime from your rims, then Adam’s Polishes Deep Wheel Cleaner is the right one for you. This liquid formula comes in a 16-oz bottle which is not that much of a quantity, but its power to make your wheels spotless is amazing.
There are several things that our team has found extremely practical. The first one is the fact that you get a sprayer nozzle with each bottle you order. The second advantage we have noticed is that Adam’s Polishes wheel cleaner will remove brake dust and metallic contamination.
But no matter how advanced this product’s chemical technology is, you may not clean up your rims if the brake dust is too heavy. Well, at least not from the first time and not without extra scrubbing. Still, this wheel cleaner is a great choice, especially if you have clear-coated, powder-coated, alloy, chrome, or painted wheel finishes.

Pros

  • Sprayer nozzle with long sprayer straw included
  • Works well with motorcycles and wall tires
  • Will not discolor your tires
  • Can be safely used on ceramic coatings

Cons

  • Bad smell
  • Too expensive

4. Shine Society Wheel Cleaner

Shine Society Wheel CleanerThe Shine Society’s product for cleaning your dirty wheels is probably the easiest detergent to use for your car. It is intended for rims that are covered with hardened grease, brake dust or road grime. Moreover, thanks to the natural citrus oil in this product, you can expect effortless clean-up and no future build-up of such contaminants.
This wheel cleaner has some significant characteristics. First of all, it will not etch your aluminum rims although they are not among the safe usage list on the item’s label. Nevertheless, it is risk-free to spray it on painted, powder-coated, chrome, polished or anodized wheel finishes.
The other thing we liked is the leak-proof bottle and the fact that the unit comes with a microfiber towel. That said, you will find it convenient to get the 18-oz. Shine Society bottle, spray on your dirty wheels and then wipe them off. You won’t have to wait for it to break down the grime or use water for rinsing.

Pros

  • Leak-proof bottle
  • Microfiber towel included
  • No water necessary
  • Natural citrus oil to break down contaminants

Cons

  • Cannot use on plastic rims
  • May have to use a wheel brush for better results

5. Quwei Wheel And Tire Cleaner

Quwei Wheel And Tire CleanerThis Quwei wheel and tire cleaner stand out with its excellent cleaning properties and bottle design. We liked that it is intended not only for removing dirt on your wheels but also it will make the tires look like new. Moreover, this product will restore the luster, clean away salt and winter grime and even remove rust from hubs.
You will like how quickly this cleaner will break the iron powder on your car’s wheels. Besides, this wheel and tire detergent will weaken the soil blocks and oil stains so that you can wipe them off with ease. Unfortunately, you will have to wait for more than 30 seconds although the label on the bottle says it is enough. We have found out that it will take you a couple of minutes before your wheels are ready to be cleaned up.
The other thing that we liked is the 2-mode nozzle that comes with the 16-oz bottle. You can choose between simple spraying and spray water column.

Pros

  • No need for brushes
  • Wiping cloth included
  • 2-mode nozzle
  • Great for rusty metal textures

Cons

  • Poor instructions
  • Not suitable for chromium-plated hubs and modified hubs

6. Carfidant Tire Shine Spray

Carfidant Tire Shine SprayOur last product on the list comes from Carfidant, and we are sure that you will like it. This tire shine spray has everything you need- the 18-oz bottle will be enough for spraying 3 cars. Also, there are several things we have found pretty convenient about this product.
First, this product will give your tires and wheels the wet look you have always been looking for. In addition, if you follow the instructions on the label, you can easily achieve either natural shine or soaking wet deep shine. Next, the formula of this spray is something we cannot miss. It is mainly based on water, which makes it safe to be used on all types of tires.
Finally, there is an applicator included in the package, and hence, you will have everything needed to start working on your tires. Nevertheless, do not expect the shine on your wheels to stay forever – it will only last for a couple of days or until the next heavy rain.

Pros

  • UV protection from cracking and fading
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Water-based formula
  • An applicator included

Cons

  • Shine lasts for a few days
  • Easily washed away by rain

What To Consider When Buying Wheel Cleaner

Best Wheel CleanerThe first thing to think about before buying any product is perhaps whether it will work the way you want it. That is why you have to consider several things like the type of your wheels, the level of contamination on them and last, but not least the kind of wheel cleaner you are about to choose.
And our team is eagerly going to help you find out which wheel cleaning formula will suit your needs. In case you want a product to give your car a nice and shiny finish, do not miss out our clay bar reviews. We have shared our observations on how each item works, and we didn’t forget to mention any drawback as well.

Wheel Cleaners’ Features And Specifications

Not all wheel cleaning solutions are the same- after all, the manufacturers are thousands. Still, there is a way to tell whether one product is right for your wheels or not. And you will find a comprehensive list of everything you need to know about the specifications each type of solution features.

  1. Ingredients

    Since there are several different kinds of wheel cleaning formulas, like water-based, acid-free, acid-based, pH neutral or even including natural oils, your choice might be hard. However, aim at detergents which do not contain harmful ingredients. Any product that contains acidic formulas will damage the coatings of your wheels. So, it is a good idea to avoid such cleaning products.
    There is also a type of wheel cleaning solutions that change their color. But this happens only when your rims are dirty as the formula is designed to turn into purple or red, for example, when it comes into contact with contaminants.

  2. Wheels’ types

    Wheel cleaning products are usually intended for all or almost all types of wheels. Make sure to find out what material your wheels are made of and then check the label of your chosen product. If you do not find them listed as appropriate use, then look for another formula. As we have said above, the wrong cleaning product may harm your wheels.

  3. Dilution

    Most of the products that come in spray bottles are not to be diluted with water. Also, do not be deceived by small-quantity containers without spray nozzles. Not all of them contain a formula for dilution, and you may risk using wasting the product without achieving the desired results. That is why we recommend that you always read the instructions on the label.

  4. Needed quantity

    It all depends on several factors, and the truth is that you should take them into account to get your wheels cleaned the way you want it.

    • Amount of dirt on your wheels
      The more your wheels are covered in contaminants, the more wheel cleaning solution you will need. Sometimes one round is not enough to get the shiny look back, and you may need to apply another coat of the cleaning formula for wheels on your rims.
    • Last car wash
      If you regularly clean up your wheels, then it will not be that hard for you to remove the dirt. Hence, you will not use that much of the product.
    • Size of the bottle
      Usually, 16 to 18 oz will be enough for 2 or 3 cleaning procedures but only if the wheels are slightly covered in grime, for instance.
    • Smell
      Wheel cleaning formulas are designed to smell differently due to some factors. We have already mentioned the various wheel cleaning formulas. Well, whether your product will remind you of a car washing liquid or on the contrary, make you wear a mask, it all depends on the ingredients. Chemically-based or acidic solutions will have a bad smell, while those with natural oils will not.
    • Equipment To Clean
      Well, the cleaning formula is a must, but there are other instruments needed to get your car to that shiny look from the showroom floor.
    • Microfiber cloth
      Some products are sold with a towel or cloth in the package. This is extremely convenient as you will not have to search for this in your garage or storage room. If this is not the case, then make sure to get such cloth because it will not cause scratches on the finish of your wheels. Moreover, it will give a shiny and polished look to your freshly-cleaned wheels.
      If you want to make shiny and crystal-clear other parts of your car, do not forget to have a look at our best car window cleaner for more ideas and tips on that subject.
    • Water Hose
      Although some manufacturers claim that their wheel cleaning products are to be wiped off, we think that using high-pressure water will give you better results.
    • Small brushes
      Getting any brush is not enough to ease the scrubbing and remove the grime from your car wheels. You need to be picky about this item too. Since the spokes and the lug nuts need extra care, smaller brushes will quickly remove the dirt away.
      Also, do not forget that the brush should be soft-bristled, as hard ones may leave scratches on your wheels’ finish.

    If you want to do something more than clean your wheels and need advice, ideas or just hot tips, remember to check out our car maintenance product reviews and guides for more extensive information.

Regular Cleaning And Maintenance

how to use Wheel CleanerDo you remember when you bought your car with those gleaming wheels? We are sure that you intended to keep them in that same initial condition. But as time passes, you somehow forget about these details and then it hits you all of a sudden – the rims, spokes, brake caliper- everything is covered in dirt.
Such contaminated wheels are not only bad for the eyesight but also lead to some more complicated consequences. Stubborn baked-on brake dust and road grime can damage the wheel surface seriously. This may lead to the need of buying new wheels. But that is not the worst. There is even a chance for car accidents if the wheels are out of order.
That is why you need to make sure that you find time in your busy life for cleaning your car rims to keep your wheels in the right condition.

Why Are Tires Turning Brown?

What causes tire browning is anti-molding agents in the rubber of the tire. They are intended to protect your tires from the surrounding weather conditions and environment. So, when they come to the surface, these agents turn brown. This event is also called tire blooming.
So, to avoid the brown look on your tires, you need to pick a proper product for treating and cleaning them.

Two types of wheel cleaners could prevent tire blooming.

  1. Water-based solutions

    These products are typically a mixture of synthetic polymers and natural oils. Usually, such formulas smell nice and look milky when you work it in the tire. Water-based products also create UV protective film to stop your tires from cracking or fading.

  2. Solvent-based solutions

    This type of chemical mixture consists of silicone and solvents predominantly. Their function is to fill in the pores in the tire while creating a slick and glossy finish. However, you will soon discover that solvent-based formulas can quickly destroy your tires because such dressing speeds up tire cracking.

How To Detail Wheels And Tires

Wheel Cleaner ReviewsYou should follow the right procedure when it comes down to cleaning your wheels and tires. So, in this section of our guide, we will present you the proper stages of washing off the contaminants from the wheels.

  1. Use water first

    The first step of cleaning any surface of your car is to use high-pressure water to all areas of the wheel brake caliper and the channels so that you soften the initial layer of dirt and brake dust. Also, this way, you will remove most of the contaminants even before using your chosen wheel cleaning product.

  2. Wheel cleaner takes control

    Next, apply the wheel cleaner. It is better to use a sprayer because it will evenly distribute the solution. Moreover, this procedure will help the cleaning formula to cling to the target surface.
    Spray into the rear or the barrel of the wheel first and then move on to the brake caliper. Then, continue with the wheel face and finish with the tire wall.

  3. Get your brushes!

    The so much needed brushes that we have mentioned above are vital in this third step. They will help you scrub all parts of the wheel, removing stubborn stains or dried contaminants.
    You should begin with the rear part of the wheel. It is a good idea to spray your brush with your chosen wheel cleaning product to give it some extra bite.
    Start from the top and go on moving down and around, working the thick brush into the recess of the rim. You should turn and twist the brush as you go. This way, you will ensure that all areas are reached.
    Then work on the front-facing surfaces using a soft-bristled brush. Scour at the center of the wheel, twisting the brush into the lug nuts areas and branded center cups. This should be done before working on all areas of the spokes and rims.
    The final step with the brush is the front of the brake caliper, which is hidden behind the spoke.

  4. Final Rinse

    Lastly, you need to use your high-pressure water again. This is to ensure that dirt and product residues are thoroughly removed. Remember to pay attention to the rears. Then finish with the wheel arches and do not overlook the surrounding body – you may give it a brief blast. That way, you will know that no product overspray is left sitting on the paintwork.

  5. Microfiber towel

    Dry the wheels with a clean and dry microfiber towel or cloth. Do not scrub but wipe gently with light fingertip pressure.

 

Chrome-Plated Wheel Cleaning Tips

Since chrome is a soft metal, easy to be manipulated and gives such a glossy finish, no wonder that it is so widely spread in the wheel-manufacturing industries, however, brake dust is the worst that can happen to your chrome-plated wheels. This is because of the combination of brake dust and the heat, produced by the wheels, resulting in a highly corrosive mixture.
And the only solution for your chrome wheels is regular wiping and cleaning. So, here are a few tips that will ease the maintenance of your chrome-plated wheels.

  • Always remove the brake dust first. This means you will have to begin your usual car washing procedure from the tires.
  • Use non-acidic wheel cleaners as they are gentle to the metal and will not harm it.
  • A soft-bristled brush is a must. It will easily loosen the dust and remove the grime without scratching the chrome surface.
  • Remember to use a soft cloth or microfiber towel to wipe your chrome-plated wheels.

Aluminum Wheels Cleaning Tips

As chrome-plated wheels, aluminum ones can also have a mirror-shine effect. But this is only when the aluminum is clean. Also, this material is prone to oxidization and can be damaged by brake dust as well. But regular clean-up can save your day and your aluminum wheels.

Aluminum wheels might be coated or not, and this is important because it will determine the cleaning formula.

  • Bare aluminum wheels can be treated with stronger cleaning products as they have nothing to harm.
  • Coated-aluminum wheels, on the other hand, need softer solutions to protect the coating.

 

FAQ

In the last section of our guide, we have gathered the most typical questions and their answers about wheel cleaners.

  1. Can I use a wheel cleaning product for my tires?
    It all depends on the type of wheel cleaner. If it is softer, like water-based formulas, it will not harm the rubber on the tire. But if it is not, then you should look for a product designed for cleaning tires.
  2. Will household items, like vinegar, help me clean my aluminum wheels?
    Yes, there are many natural ways for cleaning wheels and vinegar is the main ingredient in such mixtures. However, using such combinations for cleaning your aluminum wheels might not be a good idea. The reason for this is that you may not achieve the desired effect on your rims.
  3. Can I clean corrosion off aluminum wheels?
    Yes, you can. However, you need a product designed for this purpose.

** Make sure to also check out our engine degreaser buying guide.

Best Wheel Cleaner Comparison Chart

PRODUCTPRICESIZECONTAINSAPPLICATIONDIMENSIONS
Sonax Wheel Cleaner

$$$16.9 fl. oz.Acid-free and pH balanced formulaAll Wheels And Tires3.5 x 2.2 x 9″
CarGuys Wheel Cleaner

$$$$1 GallonHighly-concentrated gel with pH-balanced formula and non-toxic100% Safe For All Rims10.8 x 6.9 x 4.1″
Adam’s Polishes Deep Wheel Cleaner

$$16ozAcid-free and pH neutral formulaClear-coated, powder-coated, chrome, alloy, and painted wheels11 x 3.2 x 3.2″
Shine Society Wheel Cleaner

$18ozNatural citrus oilAll Wheels And Tires9 x 2.8 x 2.3″
Quwei Wheel And Tire Cleaner

$$16 ozMild formula and odorlessAll Wheels And Tires9 x 4.2 x 2.5″
Carfidant Tire Shine Spray

$$$18ozNano-polymer formulaAll tires9 x 3 x 3″

Wrap Up

Well, this is the end of our guide. We hope our tips, recommendations, and suggestions here will take you a step closer to the best wheel cleaner for your car. Also, if you have read the guide carefully, you should be aware of the key features you look for in a product. So, why don’t you go through our wheel cleaner reviews again and check what can do the job for you?
Thank you for picking us to be your guide and feel free to comment and give us your feedback. And if this guide helped you with your choice, don’t forget to share it with your friends or online. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!