Last updated: 8 Feb 2021

Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner

Alloy wheels look terrific when they are brand spanking new, but to keep them looking that way, you need the best alloy wheel cleaner.

Alloy wheels have become a popular choice to enhance the look of a vehicle. There are some brilliant alloy designs, and they are lightweight and robust. But the design of alloys leaves them vulnerable to the accumulation of brake dust, road dirt, tar, etc. 

And if you live in a part of the country where freezing winters are typical, road salt use is extensive. Salt may lower the freezing temperature of water to prevent ice, which reduces accidents. Still, one of its most significant issues it’s corrosive and chews through any vehicle’s metal construction, including your precious alloys.

Cleaning your alloys is not just for vanity, and you just happen to love the way clean alloys look; no, if all that salt, dirt, oil, and brake dust is left too long, it will cause permanent damage.

But there’s one drawback, you can’t expect to wash your alloys the same way you take care of the paintwork; that’s simply not going to work. You need a wheel cleaner specifically for alloys. But which is the best alloy wheel cleaner, because there are several of them out there, it can be frustrating trying to choose.

That’s where our buying guide is going to be a significant help for you. We’ve taken a look at dozens of alloy wheel cleaners and come with our top selection. So go ahead and read through our buying guide; we’re sure there will be at least one on there that fits your budget and requirements.

Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner

1

Mothers 05924 Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner

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Mothers foaming wheel and tire cleaner will clean both tires and alloy wheels; it quickly gets to work to remove any kind of dirt, oil, brake dust, and salt residue. The wheel cleaner is foaming and non-acidic, so no need for concern when using it specifically for your alloys.

However, avoid using it on anodized or rough cast-aluminum wheels.

After use, just hose down your wheels, and Mother’s spot-free rinse means you won’t have to towel dry your rims.

For one 24-ounce bottle, you will be able to get 2-3 passes on an average size sedan.

Although you can spray on and let Mother’s do its work if you want, you can use a semi-soft bendy brush to get behind the alloy spokes, just to remove that extra grime, etc., in those hard-to-reach places. Ensure your wheels are completely cool before using the alloy wheel-spray; you’ll find it does a much better job.

2

Meguiar's G-9524 Wheel Cleaner

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Meguiars has several wheel cleaners for different surfaces, but Meguiars Hot Rims Wheel and Tire Cleaner are used explicitly on factory OEM painted and clear coated rims.

 Ensure you are using the correct formula for your vehicle. If this formula isn’t right for your vehicle’s wheel surface, select one of Meguiar’s others.

The Xtreme foam wash clings to the vertical surfaces of your wheels and tires, giving the wash plenty of time to lift all that grime and baked on brake dust.

For best use, clean one wheel and tire at a time. Use the wash in the open air and park your vehicle in the shade. Rinse each wheel with cool water before proceeding. After you have sprayed on the wash, do not allow it to dry, so don’t leave it on the wheel longer than thirty seconds. If you have a particularly dirty wheel, you can use a soft brush to work the foam. Then rinse with clear, cool water.

3

Black Magic BM41023

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Black Magic is an all-wheel cleaner and is safe to use on ABS plastic, chrome, aluminum, wire, and mag wheels with a clear-coat, polished, painted, or anodized finish. The formula will not haze or discolor your wheels.

To obtain the best results with Black Magic, ensure your wheels are cool and dry before spraying. It’s best to leave on the wheels until the foam sets, usually 1-2 minutes, then hose off with cool water. Wipe off any residual dust that may be lingering. You can also use this formula for the walls of your tires.

4

Meguiar's G14324 Hot Rims Aluminum Wheel Cleaner

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Meguiar’s Hot Rims aluminum wheel cleaner is their non-aggressive formula and expressly for uncoated aluminum and sensitive wheel rims.

If your ride has alloy, anodized, uncoated polished aluminum, or powder-coated rims, this is the formula you need. With Xtreme foam that clings to your wheels’ vertical surface and tires, it will remove dirt, oil, and brake dust. Using this cleaner will not harm your brakes or brake pads.

For best use, spray on the Hot Rims aluminum formula and wait for fifteen seconds. Plenty of time for the foam to work its magic. Suppose you have any concerns about baked-on grime or brake dust, then use a clean microfiber cloth to rub the foam into the wheels. Hose down with cool water and use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to dry your wheels.

5

Eagle One E301454800 Mag Wheel Cleaner

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Eagle One’s etching Mag wheel cleaner has an acid-base and is a very forceful cleaner for removing baked-on brake dust, oil, and grime. Each time you use this formula on your rims, the cleaner etches the surface of your wheel’s surface (etching refers to removing a microscopic layer from the surface of the material).

Eagle One’s formula is specifically for cast alloy and chrome-plated wheels. The cleaner is not suitable for any other wheel type; it may corrode chrome and aluminum wheels. But can be safely used on tires.

For protection against corrosion and rust, Eagle One incorporates a special additive that adheres to the wheel’s surface.

6

EASTUP Wheel Cleaner

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EASTUP Wheel Cleaner is a safe cleaner for most wheel rims including, alloy, chrome, clear-coated, polished, plastic-dipped, and aluminum.

The premium spray will fight dirt and grime, oil and brake dust, and remove salt residue in the winter months. The formula is acid-free, so you have confidence in using the spray without concern for any damage to your wheel rims. There’s no issue with cleaning factory wheels or any after-market wheels you may have put on the vehicle. 

You might find because this formula is mild and suitable for all wheels, then baked on brake dust will take more effort. But what you can do is leave the spray on for at least five minutes and, using a soft brush, gently work the foam into the wheels taking care to get into all areas. Then rinse off. If there is still a little grime left in some areas of the wheel, repeat the process, but you’ll only need to leave the foam on this time for two minutes.

7

Detail King Chameleon Car Rim & Wheel Cleaner

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Detail King Chameleon premium is acid-free, pH neutral, and also non-caustic. Therefore you can safely use the cleaner on any car wheels, including uncoated and anodized aluminum, alloy, steel, chrome, powder-coated, or painted.

The manufacturers classify this cleaner as ‘touch-free,’ meaning you spray on, leave, and then hose down the wheels. However, if you haven’t got around to cleaning your wheels for some time and the brake dust and grime is baked on then, you might find you need to gently use either a microfiber mitt or soft brush to rub the cleaner into the worst areas on your wheels.

You might find you don’t have to use the brush or mitt, but it’s best to have them with you just in case. One feature with all Chameleon products is the color change from the usual yellow to a deep red foam when it’s time to get the hose out. No worries about leaving the formula on too long and having the devil of a job cleaning it off; just watch for the noticeable color change.

8

Adam's Wheel Cleaner

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Modern high-performing brakes are responsible for leaving layers of brake dust on your shiny wheels. It has to go somewhere. If you leave it there long enough, it will embed itself into the metal, and the dust will ruin your wheels. But no-one really enjoys trying to clean off baked-on brake dust plus all the other accumulation of dirt and grime. But it’s brake dust that’s the real issue. 

So when a cleaner’s manufacturer announces they offer the ultimate wheel cleaning formula, well, you just have to give it a test.

The formula instantly announces itself by feeling thicker and more syrupy than the average cleaner. Adam’s polishes claim this is to make the cleaner cling to the metal surfaces for longer giving it more chance to remove all that stubborn brake dust.

The formula remains pH neutral even though it removes brake dust on contact and is extremely powerful. You can use the cleaner on clear-coated, powder-coated, and painted factory wheels. To ensure you’re fully aware the formula is working for you, it will change color to a deep purple. When using the wheel cleaner, you should always ensure the wheels are perfectly cool before applying.

9

Adam's New Eco Wheel Cleaner

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Adam’s New Eco Wheel Cleaner targets the owners of more fragile wheel finishes such as anodized and aftermarket powder-coatings. But this cleaner is also effective on any wheel type and will make them sparkle as new.

It’s all very well having potent chemical cleaners, but they play havoc with the environment. Adam’s polishes aim to create a chemically advanced product that cleaned as it should, but at the same time didn’t stress the environment. The EPA has approved Adam’s Eco cleaner and is a Direct Release To The Environment technology.

One point to note using Adam’s Eco cleaner is there’s no wheel staining. Many cleaners contain iron activators, which are the leading cause of such staining. But you can use this cleaner with confidence on any wheel finish you like. Plus, many cleaners have a strong chemical odor when in use; not so with the Eco cleaner; all you’ll smell is mild citrus.

10

Griot's Garage 11107 Wheel Cleaner

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Griot’s Garage wheel cleaner is safe to use on almost every type of wheel, including steel, aluminum, powder-coated, polished, and chrome. The Combination of road grime and brake dust spells a load of trouble for your nice shiny wheels if you don’t remove them. 

And leaving the gunk on your wheels over an extended period, you’re bound to find some has penetrated the wheel’s metal surface. 

To use the cleaner, ensure your wheels are cool and spray the cleaner onto the wheel and leave for thirty seconds or more. Then, take a soft brush, rub the foam into the wheels, and make sure you have all the area covered; rinse the wheel with cool water. 

The foam cleaner features a high-tech formula and is pH neutral to ensure no harm comes to your wheels or tires.

Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner FAQ

Why Do Wheels Get So Dirty?

Wheels are the closest to the road, so any rubbish, dirt, oil, etc., will naturally get stuck to your wheels. Plus, the biggest issue is brake lining dust that leaves the brakes red hot and attaches itself to your wheels.

Which Wheel Cleaner Is Best To Use?

There are several different types of cleaners, depending on your circumstances and type of wheels. For example, there are acid, pH neutral, and iron contaminant cleaners. All of them can work, but the kind of wheels you have will exclude some of them.

Can I Use Acid Based Wheel Cleaners?

It’s not possible to clean all kinds of wheels with an acid-based cleaner. As you would expect with acid, the cleaner will be very aggressive. So some wheel material just isn’t suitable such as anodized and chrome. If you have the correct type of wheels and use acid-based, choose a good quality cleaner and follow the instructions.

Why Use Iron Contaminant Removers?

Iron contaminant removers are sometimes in wheel cleaners because they can remove ferrous material that adheres to the wheels’ surface. It’s one of the best ways to dissolve brake dust.

The foam cleaner might need contact with the wheels for a more extended period so the cleaner can work properly.

What’s The Best Way To Clean Wheels?

The best possible way to clean wheels is to remove them from the vehicle. In that way, you can ensure you access all parts of the wheel, including the wheels’ back.

Taking them off or leaving them on, the wheels must be cool before using any wheel cleaner. If you put wheel cleaner on hot wheels, it will evaporate before you even get started. You’ll have a real mess to clean off your wheels as well as all the other gunk.

Rinse down the wheels with cool water and apply the cleaner. You should clean one wheel at a time. Follow the cleaner manufacturer’s instructions. If all the grime doesn’t come off with one application, go one more time and agitate the foam with either a soft brush or microfiber mitt.

Conclusion

In our best alloy wheel cleaner buying guide, we’ve given you a terrific choice of various cleaners. In the guide, we have spoken about cleaners suitable for all different types of wheels.

So you shouldn’t have any lack of confidence in choosing the best wheel cleaner for your wheels and budget.

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