Car Care Wheels & Tires
10 Best Wheel and Tire Cleaners of 2020
Your car can never be really clean if its tires are not washed properly. It is like you walking out in a very clean suit but with dirty shoes.
Soapy water really does not do a thorough job in cleaning car tires and this is why you need a wheel and tire cleaner.
Basically, this product works on rubber and rims, removing grime, dust, and stains, leaving your wheels looking fresh and as good as new.
However, there are many varieties of these cleaners in the market and we have narrowed it down to the best wheel and tire cleaners in the review below so that you have an easier time choosing your preferred product.
10 Best Wheel and Tire Cleaners – Review
1. CarGuys WCG-18OZ (Best Quality)
2. Meguiar's G9524 (Extreme Cling)
3. TriNova 5864129805 (In Extra Long Tube)
4. Sonax 230200-755 (pH Neutral)
5. Adam's Polishes DWC-16 (Color Changing)
6. Armor All 78011 (Triple Action)
7. Mothers 05924 (Cheapest)
8. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16 (Citrus-Based)
9. Eagle One E300891000 (Thick Foaming)
10. 3M 39036 (Good Quality)
1. CarGuys WCG-18OZ
2. Meguiar's G9524
3. TriNova 5864129805
(In Extra Long Tube)
4. Sonax 230200-755
5. Adam's Polishes DWC-16
6. Armor All 78011
7. Mothers 05924
8. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16
9. Eagle One E300891000
10. 3M 39036
1. CarGuys WCG-18OZ – Best Quality Wheel and Tire Cleaner
CarGuys’ WCG-18OZ stands out as the best quality cleaner because it gets rid of the corrosive road salts, which can damage protective clear coats over the rim and create rust. Additionally, the cleaner also gets rid of winter grime, leaving your wheels and tires sparkling clean.
This product is also one of the best chrome wheel cleaners because it has a non-corrosive, acid-free and pH balanced formulation that is actually safe to use on all kinds of rims, be it aluminum, alloy, painted or clear-coated. Being acid-free also makes it very environmentally friendly.
Other than that, the cleaner gel is highly concentrated and this reduces the quantity required for every wash. The thick concentration enables it to cling on wheels and rubber so as to give maximum cleaning power in clearing all the dust, brake powder, iron particles, etc.
On the downside, this gel is quite expensive but it can be used on a wide variety of tires, including the white-walled type.
2. Meguiar's G9524 – Extreme Cling Wheel Cleaner
Meguiar’s is a well-known brand in making car care products and their G9524 bears the same top-quality as their other products. This cleaner is actually designed to produce a clinging foam that sticks to vertical surfaces so as to have enough time to dissolve grime and brake dust.
The product is also very easy to apply since it comes in a trigger spray bottle that has a contoured grip area for easy holding.
Once applied, the solution is highly effective to the point that you can actually see dirt and grime lifting off the rim and tire.
That said, the cleaner is safe to use on clear coated and factory painted wheels, as well as all kinds of tires, and leaves your rims having a brilliant shine. Combined, these features make it the top-rated wheel and tire cleaner in this review.
However, it is not recommended to use this product on motorcycle wheels as well as painted or aftermarket brake components.
3. TriNova 5864129805 – Wheel Cleaner in Extra Long Tube
This product is packed in an extra-long spray tube that reaches deep down into the corners and is designed in such a way that tilting the bottle as you spray enables you to use up to the last drop so that you do not incur any wastage.
The cleaning solution has an acid-free formula that is safe to use on all types of wheels, which basically covers chrome to aluminum rims and even white wall tires.
On all these types, the cleaner is very tough on stains, with its concentrated formula penetrating deep into road salt, snow grime, brake dust, oil residue and other types of stains, restoring your wheel’s shine to its original, showroom-like appeal.
Other features include an 18-ounce quantity pack that is very easy to use due to its trigger spray nozzle. However, a dressing applicator or microfiber towel is not included
4. Sonax 230200-755 – pH Neutral Wheel and Tire Cleaner
Though it may cause skin and eye irritation, this cleaning solution is actually acid-free and has a pH neutral formulation, which makes it safe to use on aluminum, alloy, anodized, clear coated, painted and all other kinds of wheel surfaces.
The product is also safe to use on motorcycle wheels as well as custom wheels and is VOC compliant, which makes it very environmentally friendly.
When applied, the cleaner first goes on fluorescent green, then changes to red as it loosens the dirt. It is recommended to give it up to 10 minutes before rinsing, and you should re-apply if all the dirt is not removed.
That said, this Sonax gel is very effective at removing dirt and brake dust, and is also very effective at getting rid of baked on brake dust that has been packed on the wheel for some time.
However, a cleaning towel is not included for wiping after rinsing so you should buy one separately.
5. Adam's Polishes DWC-16 – Color Changing Wheel Cleaner
Adam’s Polishes’ DWC-16 is quite similar to Sonax’s cleaner above in that it has a color-changing formula that turns from blue to bright purple, and it literally lets you watch the brake dust bleed out of the rim.
The product’s formulation is also acid-free and pH neutral, which makes it safe on factory powder coated, factory painted, chrome, alloy and all other types of wheels.
On the actual cleaning, apart from cleaning brake dust, the cleaner gets rid of stubborn metallic contamination, as well as salt and water grime.
Other features include a thick formula that sticks to the wheel for more effective cleaning and screw-on sprayer that has a long straw for reaching down to the corners of the 16-ounce bottle. However, the cleaner may cause skin irritation and therefore, should be handled with care.
6. Armor All 78011 – Triple Action Wheel and Tire Cleaner
This 78011 is a triple action wheel and tire cleaner that is designed to tackle the three most common types of stains on wheels, which are brake dust, grease and road grime. These 3 usually get baked on during the hot driving conditions but they are no match for this product.
The cleaner actually has a thickened formulation that sticks to the vertical wheel surface for deeper penetration, then forms an intense foam that is very effective at lifting away most of the stubborn soils and stains.
A blanketing agent is also included in this formulation and it helps to spread the cleaner get into nooks and crannies so as to effectively deal with tough and stubborn dirt.
However, the formula is slightly acidic and can only be used on factory and aftermarket coated wheels so as not to get into direct contact with the underlying metal surface. With this, it is also very irritating to the skin and eyes and therefore, should be handled with care.
7. Mothers 05924 – Cheapest Wheel and Tire Cleaner
Wheel cleaners are usually not that expensive but if you are on a very tight budget, then you should consider this 05924 from Mothers as it is very affordable.
That said, the product does pack in some pretty good features such as having a non-acidic formulation that is safe for most types of wheels such as clear coated, painted, chrome, steel or even with hubcaps.
However, it should not be sprayed on aluminum, anodized, billet or motorcycle wheels since it is corrosive to them.
On the bright side, the solution is designed to eliminate brake dust, grease, grime and dirt on the recommended types wheels, and this is enhanced by its foaming action, which improves penetration deep into the nooks and crannies.
Other features include a unique spray-on design and a spot-free rinse that requires no hand drying afterward.
8. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16 – Citrus-Based Wheel and Tire Cleaner
This wheel-and-tire cleaner is citrus based, which makes it slightly acidic, but this gives it the strength required to remove thick and stubborn grime, as well as metallic contamination.
The cleaner is actually packaged as a highly concentrated formula that is best for heavy duty dirt removal and is 35% stronger than other cleaners.
With this, it is recommended to dilute it to a 4:1 ratio so as to create the ideal wheel cleaning solution. Additionally, the formula can be diluted further to an 8:1 ratio for light duty cleaning jobs.
This diluted version is much gentler to a wide variety of rims such as polished metal and chrome and even cleans rubber to a deep black finish.
9. Eagle One E300891000 – Thick Foaming Wheel Cleaner
Eagle One’s wheel and tire cleaner is specifically designed to produce thick foam that grabs onto the rim and tire surfaces so as to penetrate deep into the nooks and crannies, and remove all the grime, grease and brake dust, while also restoring tires to their black color.
With this formulation, the product is very easy to use since you only need to spray on the cleaner, then hose it off without doing any scrubbing or agitation.
Another benefit you get is an acid-free formulation that is safe to use on all kinds of tires and rims, including hubcaps. However, you must handle the cleaner with care since it causes irritation to the skin and eyes.
10. 3M 39036 – Good Wheel and Tire Cleaner
This 39036 from 3M is a powerful cleaner that is designed to remove brake dust, grime, grease and road tar in a few simple steps, which are basically spraying then light scrubbing.
These actions leave the wheel having a brilliant shine, and also remove soil and scuffs on the tire’s sidewalls, leaving it in its original deep black color.
Other features include a 16-ounce spray bottle packaging with a spray trigger for easy use and a contoured finger grip for comfortable handling. However, the cleaner may cause eye irritation and therefore, should be handled carefully.
How to Buy the Best Wheel and Tire Cleaner
1. Type of Cleaner
Before buying a wheel and tire cleaner, the first thing to check is its type, which can be either of the following.
Some cleaners are designed to change color as they react with the stains and though this may not have any effect on the performance or cleaning ability of the product, it does give you a visual cue, showing whether the solution is working or if it has gotten rid of all the dirt.
This is very helpful and gives such a product an edge over its non-color changing counterparts.
This property is usually indicated on the labeling and a cleaner can either be pH neutral or not. Basically, if its pH neutral, it will be safe to use on all kinds of rims and tires since it's chemical composition is non-corrosive.
However, a non-pH neutral cleaner is usually acidic and can be very corrosive to chrome, aluminum, steel, and polished metal surfaces, sometimes even to rubber.
On the bright side, this corrosiveness makes a very fast and effective cleaner, which is ideal for clear coated or painted rims because the acid won’t come into direct contact with the metal below but will remove any impurities above using its strong acidic power.
There are a few cleaners that require only to be rinsed after use, thereby eliminating the scrubbing step. This makes the use of such a product very easy but you may need to spray and respray in order to clean the wheel to a spotless finish.
On the other hand, those that require scrubbing are a bit difficult to use but this process spreads the liquid to all the crevices and also aids in removing stubborn stains, leading to reduced usage and faster cleaning results.
2. Wheel Material
Wheels, and in particular the rim section, are made using different materials and consequently, there are specific cleaners that are designed to be effective in each one.
For instance, there are some cleaners that are specifically designed for chrome wheels and should be considered if your car has such wheels.
Basically, you should consider the type of rims you have and buy the most compatible chemical formulation for it.
3. Ease of Use
Another important thing to consider is the ease of use and with trigger spray nozzles, this is well taken care of. Other features to look for include checking whether it is a rinse action type of cleaner or not, in which the rinse action type is easier to use since no scrubbing is required.
Equipment You Will Need to Clean Your Wheel and Tire
In addition to a wheel and tire cleaner, there are a couple of other things that you need. These include:
1. Pressure Washer
Of course, you need water to clean but it is not ideal to use bucket water. Pressure washers provide the required force to push stains out of the rim and rubber after they have been loosened by the cleaner.
2. Wheel Brush
A wheel brush enables you to scrub off stubborn dirt and also enables you to reach deep inside the rim into the hidden arches where brake dust and other baked stains hide.
After rinsing, towels are important for drying off and buffing the wheel’s surface so that you can see the results clearly, after which you may respray the areas that are not good enough so as to leave the whole rim looking clean and new.
Once you are satisfied with the results, it is important to finish off the job with some waxing so as to maintain the shine for a longer time while also preventing dust accumulation on the surface.
It is important to take proper care of your vehicle and wheel maintenance is necessary for good looks as well as for keeping the rim and rubber free from corrosive salts and other substances.
All in all, you need to buy the best wheel and tire cleaner for the job so that you get positive results and the review above is ideal for helping you do just that.
- 10 Best Wheel and Tire Cleaners – Review
- 1. CarGuys WCG-18OZ – Best Quality Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- 2. Meguiar's G9524 – Extreme Cling Wheel Cleaner
- 3. TriNova 5864129805 – Wheel Cleaner in Extra Long Tube
- 4. Sonax 230200-755 – pH Neutral Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- 5. Adam's Polishes DWC-16 – Color Changing Wheel Cleaner
- 6. Armor All 78011 – Triple Action Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- 7. Mothers 05924 – Cheapest Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- 8. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16 – Citrus-Based Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- 9. Eagle One E300891000 – Thick Foaming Wheel Cleaner
- 10. 3M 39036 – Good Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- How to Buy the Best Wheel and Tire Cleaner
- Equipment You Will Need to Clean Your Wheel and Tire