Best alloy wheel cleaner 2023: Top picks for spotless tyres

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When it comes to cleaning your wheels, we'd argue that you're only going to get the best results using the best alloy wheel cleaner. Fortunately, our list is here to help.

Whilst car shampoos and wax sprays focus on the bodywork of your vehicle, we've honed in on products designed to turn your wheels from filthy to spotless in a matter of moments.

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The key here is selecting an alloy wheel cleaner that can dissolve tough dirt across every inch of your wheels without causing agitation. Using this as a guide, we've selected some of the best car cleaning products for your wheels to help you come away with spotless results.

Whether you're searching for a spray-on solution, like this Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner, or something a little cheaper, like this CarPlan Demon Wheels formula, we've got you covered.

Stick around too because we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding alloy cleaners, including whether acidic formulas actually damage your wheels, to help you come to an informed decision about which solution is right for you and your vehicle.

So, without further delay, here's our list of the best alloy wheel cleaners available now...

Best alloy wheel cleaner

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Best all-round alloy wheel cleaner - Meguiar's Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner

Best alloy wheel cleaner Meguiar's product image of a black spray bottle with a golden yellow label and an image of an alloy wheel on the front.
Credit: Meguiar's Store

Meguiar's Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner is said to be a fast-acting solution to suit all wheel types as its active gel formula quickly dissolves heavy brake dust, turning it purple in the process, making it easy to spot and clean every inch of dirt.

Moreover, the solution is acid-free and, therefore, pH neutral, thus helping this particular cleaning product be safe to use on all wheels according to Meguiar's Store.

Being pH-balanced like the brand's best leather cleaner, the formula is also said to be completely suitable for painted brake components as well, thus helping this alloy cleaner achieve an all-around spotless finish on your wheels.

Best alloy wheel cleaner spray - Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner

Best alloy wheel cleaner Bilt Hamber product image of a white spray bottle with a blue label and cap.
Credit: Bilt Hamber

This Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner is arguably the complete package with its pH-neutral formula which Bilt Hamber boasts can be universally applied to any type of wheel.

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Simply spray the solution on, and its unique colour-changing formula should help you identify every single inch of dirt so you're ready to wipe away with your sponge or brush. It's water soluble as well, so can be hosed down afterward.

The formula works by reacting with the oxidising surface of your wheels, causing the rapid removal of rust whilst reducing the size of embedded particles such as brake dust.

Ultimately, we feel there's a lot to like about this alloy cleaner, hence its inclusion on our list.

Best budget alloy wheel cleaner - CarPlan Demon Wheels

Best alloy wheel cleaner CarPlan product image of a clear spray bottle containing a pink cleaning product, plus black and red labels.
Credit: CarPlan

If you're looking for a solution that shouldn't break the bank with its price tag, then this CarPlan Demon Wheels cleaner could be for you.

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It comes with a convenient spray applicator, allowing you to quickly apply this fast-acting formula to break down oil, road grime, and baked-on brake dust, before rinsing off to reveal your spotless wheels.

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Keep in mind this is an alkaline solution, so we'd advise using it with caution when cleaning your wheels. In fact, WhatCar recommends adding a touch of water when using this solution, which can also help balance out the alkaline mixture.

That being said, we still believe this alloy cleaner can be a great option to consider if you're after something relatively inexpensive to clean your vehicle.

Best neutral alloy wheel cleaner - Carfidant Ultimate Wheel Cleaner

Best alloy wheel cleaner Carfidant product image of a black spray bottle with a blue label.
Credit: Carfidant

This Carfidant Ultimate Wheel Cleaner is a neutral formula designed to quickly and effectively remove dirt and brake dust off your wheels by targetting the particles at their source.

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Its spray-on application means all you have to do is spray the solution onto your wheels, let the solution soak in, then rinse off to leave your alloy wheels spotless.

Carfidant also boasts that its formula is safe to use on your tyres and shouldn't cause staining or cracking of the rubber in case you accidentally went over your alloys.

On the whole, this neutral formula looks to be well worth considering for all types of wheels.

Best acidic alloy wheel cleaner - Autoglym Clean Wheels

Best alloy wheel cleaner Autoglym product image of a white spray bottle with an orange label.
Credit: Autoglym

We've featured Autoglym before in our list of the best car window cleaning products and polish for black cars, so it may come as no surprise that we're featuring the company again here.

Autoglym's Clean Wheels solution looks to be another great example of its expertise, providing you with an acidic cleaning solution for your alloy wheels.

That said, acidic cleaners need to be used carefully and perhaps even sparingly. In fact, WhatCar suggests using this solution on lacquered alloys, painted wheels, and plastic finishes only due to its slightly harsher formula.

However, Autoglym boasts that its solution is incredibly fast-acting as cuts through even the most corrosive brake dust and road grime. So, if you're comfortable using an acidic product, then this formula could be the cleaning solution for you.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

When it comes to finding the best wheel cleaning products, there are usually a few questions that pop up. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most common queries right here.

Does alloy wheel cleaner damage wheels?

Neutral alloy wheel cleaners are, by and large, safe to use on all wheel types as they contain an active ingredient that reacts with iron particles to loosen any dust and debris.

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You may encounter some issues with acidic or alkaline alloy wheel cleaners which are typically harsher, more aggressive cleaning solutions. They may be fast-acting, but they can also damage the finish of your alloy wheels.

Therefore, we'd recommend only using acidic or alkaline alloy wheel cleaners sparingly, possibly even only as a last resort if you're struggling to get your wheels looking spotless. Also, consider only using them on lacquered alloys that are a little more protected than regular alloy wheels.

How often should you clean your alloy wheels?

There's not really a set rule on how often you should clean your alloy wheels; however, it's important to clean them somewhat regularly in order to prevent the dirt and debris that builds up between cleans from becoming a problem, i.e. difficult to remove.

Generally speaking, alloy wheels require cleaning every one to two weeks, although this can vary depending on how often you use your vehicle and the type of roads you drive on. You can also clean your wheels more frequently than this if you desire.

What's the best way to clean alloy wheels?

The best way to clean alloy wheels, in our opinion, is as follows:

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  • Switch off your ignition and give your wheels enough time to cool down.
  • Add some of your alloy wheel solution to water (or use as per instructions), then dip a soft sponge into the mixture ready to clean away the worst of the dirt.
  • Once most of the debris has been removed, take an old toothbrush and clean it in between the spokes.
  • Gently rinse off the remaining grime with a hose or jet wash, then dry off with a microfibre cloth.

Should you rinse your alloy wheels first before cleaning them?

Like paintwork, alloy wheels will only benefit from being rinsed before you start applying cleaning products.

Pre-washing helps to remove any loose dirt and debris from your rims which you may end up spreading across your alloys instead of wiping away.

As a result, you might end up with slightly dirty alloys rather than spotless wheels as intended.

We'd recommend using a sponge and some water or one of the best pressure washers to rinse your alloys before cleaning.

How do you clean brake dust from alloy wheels?

Out of all the dirt and debris that builds up on your allows, brake dust is perhaps the hardest to clean if it's left on your wheels for too long.

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However, the best way to remove brake dust is to essentially follow the steps we've mentioned above.

We'd definitely recommend rinsing your alloys first before diving in with a soft-bristled brush or sponge.

You can also purchase cleaning products and formulas designed specifically for removing brake dust, or you can use the popular homemade solution of white vinegar and baking soda, although we'd recommend opting for a specific cleaning product to avoid accidentally damaging your alloys.

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