Car wheels likely have the dirtiest surface. Wheels come into direct contact with the dirt, muck, salt, and grime on the streets. When you apply the brakes, your brake pads create friction and bring your car to a halt as brake calipers squeeze the brake pads against the rotor. In the process of pressing against the rotor, the pads and rotor lose a tiny layer of material. 

Wheel and rim cleaning spray

With the heat generated by friction, the fine powder transforms into dark metallic brake dust, which bakes onto the wheel. There are plenty of people who don’t care about brake dust on the surface of a wheel. However, after some time the metallic debris will begin to etch into your wheels, which can cause permanent damage to the surface finish. 

As the wheels of a car receive this extra layer of debris, they have to be treated differently, compared to the rest of the exterior. Most car shampoos are not strong enough to attack baked-on brake dust.  An effective wheel cleaner can assist in removing brake dust and other contaminants. Then, finish up with some wheel wax to help your wheels last longer before another round of cleaning is required.

Sonax Wheel Cleaner

Sonax is a top brand that has been providing consumers with cleaning products for years. In just a few minutes, Sonax Wheel Cleaner Full Effect will remove the most stubborn dirt, including brake dust, oil, and rubber residues, while changing color to indicate that it’s working. 

This formula is acid-free and non-corrosive, safe for use on all types of wheels including aluminum, alloys, chrome, painted wheels, anodized wheels, stainless steel wheels, and clear coated wheels. Your wheels’ finish will be protected since the product is pH neutral. The result is a safer wheel cleaner than many competitors that use harsh chemical solvents. It’s hard on dirt, but smooth on wheels. 

You can observe Sonax Wheel Cleaner in action! Upon spraying, the liquid is fluorescent green and turns red as it reacts with any grime or dirt. The red color indicates that brake dust, greasy film, and dirt will be loosened. It’s as easy as spraying on, seeing how the color changes, and washing off. The wheels need to be allowed to dry for ten minutes before rinsing. Additionally, re-apply if dirt is still seen on the wheels.

Chemical Guys Signature Series Wheel Cleaner

This cleaner can be diluted if needed or can be used as it is. With a 4:1 ratio, it makes a perfect wheel cleaning solution. Furthermore, you should dilute the bottle with an 8:1 ratio when carrying out light stain removal. Clean each wheel using a soft brush after sprinkling it with the solution as directed. The amount of brake dust that will come off the tire, inside the rim, and outside the rim during washing will shock you.

The rim surface finish was not damaged by using this product. The cleaner should be tested before general use, if necessary, on an inconspicuous area of your rims. It is a pleasant cleaner that won’t make the eyes water. 

You can use diluted formulations on a range of different rims, such as alloy and chrome. These spray bottles come with a highly concentrated potent formula. In this way, the heavy-duty dust will be eliminated without difficulty. This cleaning tool outperforms similar products by 35 percent. The cleaner has a slight acid content that effectively attacks road grime and ferrous contaminations. Additionally, it is perfect for custom wheels.

P&S Brake Buster Total Wheel Cleaner

The P&S Brake Buster Total Wheel Cleaner was created to provide a safer (non-acid) option for removing brake dust while leaving corrosion inhibitors.  Additionally, it is very generously priced. It is a really good value with the ability to clean tires and wheels. 

Brake Buster foams up beautifully on the rim and is easy to apply.  No matter how diluted it is, it still attacks brake dust and road grime on wheels. All the parts of the wheel are spotlessly clean, including the face, barrels, and the calipers. For very dirty wheels, you can use it straight, and with a little scrubbing you can remove stubborn stains and grime.

This product is safe for use on premium quality wheels for removing brake dust, oil, dirt, stains, and light corrosion. It cleans the wheels by adhering to the wheel surface and penetrating the dirt deposits to remove them. Using Brake Buster provides protection from corrosion by depositing a thin layer of protective film on the wheel. Despite its effectiveness on both wheels and tires, it doesn’t leave rust or odor.

You can also use this for tires that have been left uncleaned for the past couple of weeks. Use a dedicated rubber and tire product for anything longer.

CAR GUYS Wheel Cleaner

In terms of environmentally friendly features, this wheel cleaner stands out. Made in the US, it meets all safety standards. It is chemically safe, pH-balanced, and non-toxic. This small company offers a unique business model and a fantastic customer service.

Because of the non-corrosive formulation, the product works well with chrome wheels. Moreover, it can be used on clear coated rims or painted alloy rims. Following the directions with this stuff is a good idea and makes an excellent product. Some scrubbing with a wheel brush or woolie may be necessary depending on the state of your rims.

In addition, the solution can easily remove salts that ruin wheel finishes leading to rust. Winter grime is also eliminated, allowing your wheels to remain gleaming. No wheel cleaner, not even the really expensive ones, will remove brake dust by itself. Therefore, if you have a lot of dirt and baked dust, use a wheel brush as well.

Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner

Because of the many types of finishes on wheels, it’s not always easy to find the right product. Thankfully, this product eliminated the problem by being able to be used on wheels of all finishes and brakes! Despite its toughness on brake dust, Meguiar’s Ultimate Wheel Cleaner won’t hurt your wheels or painted brake components! 

Iron tends to turn the solution purple, while road grime and dirt make the solution brown. It not only cleans the rims but you also see exactly what caused the mess.  In addition, it helps indicate where contamination is most severe. A wheel brush may therefore be used in such places. The instructions advise you to spray Ultimate Wheel Cleaner directly onto a dry wheel. It releases a spray of dense particles that adhere to the contaminated wheel.

With this product, your wheels will be clean in no time. The fact that it’s pH balanced makes it safe to use it over and over for both regular maintenance and quick washes without problems.

Chemical Guys Diablo Wheel Gel

The Diablo Wheel Gel from Chemical Guys gives your wheels and rims the shine they deserve. With its pH balance, this wheel cleaner performs very well and saves you a lot of time when it comes to cleaning the wheels. 

To clear dust, dirt, and grime off the surface, you spray the cleaner on it and then rinse it off after waiting for some time. In fact, this wheel gel uses an advanced suspension cleaning formulation from Chemical Guys that is one of a kind. During the cleaning process, the gel breaks down brake dust and road grime. It further makes it easier for you to do the rinsing by loosening all contaminants from the surface. 

Its formula is rich and consistent, so no matter what concentration it has, it sticks firmly to the wheels. By doing so, the formula breaks down all of the build-up in the wheel’s crevices and nooks. Any type of aftermarket or OEM wheel can be treated with the gel regardless of its finish. 

With 100% biodegradable constituents and free of toxic chemicals, the product features a premium natural scent.

Eagle One A2Z All Wheel and Tire Cleaner

There’s a limited amount of wheel and tire cleaner in a small spray bottle, so if you have several vehicles, it won’t be enough. Eagle One’s A2Z All Wheel and Tire Cleaner utilizes a one-of-a-kind design that provides the perfect solution. You can buy it in an impressive 2-quart container.

This product uses an effective 2-in-1 formula that eliminates brake dust, dirt, and grease effectively. The product is designed to adhere to any wheel surface. You can, however, use the product without fear of damage since it is acid-free.

A key ingredient of the product are alkali builders that help remove stubborn dirt and dust. For lighter contaminants, the wheels need only rinsing, without having to scrub.

Older brake dust can pose a bit of a challenge, although this product is ideal for newly generated brake dust. The old brake dust might still cling to the wheels even after using the product for several minutes. Its performance is therefore limited in some ways. Any wheels which have accumulated brake dust for more than 2 to 3 months will benefit greatly from agitation with a wheel brush.

Adam’s Wheel Cleaner

When it comes to cleaning and caring for your vehicle, Adam’s will be a name that you are familiar with. They offer a full range of products for vehicle cleaning, detailing, and maintenance. It features a unique purple and blue color changing formula. As brake dust escapes your wheel rim, you can actually see it bleed out. 

You shouldn’t use Adam’s Wheel Cleaner in the garage, as it has a very strong chemical smell that will linger. The wheel cleaner takes care of metallic contamination and brake dust. As the formula changes color, it is easy to tell when it has penetrated deep into the grime because it turns purple.

Even hardened grease and grime can be removed with the advanced chemical technology. There is no acid in the formula, and its pH is neutral. It can be used on any wheel type, including factory painted, chrome, or alloy.

Cleaning the wheel with this formula is effective and only requires minimal effort. This product is easy to use because of its convenient spray bottle. It is important, however, to handle the product carefully as certain chemicals in the formula could cause skin irritation.

Mothers Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner

Most modern wheels feature clear coating. A traditional wheel cleaner was designed to clean bare metal by eating off dirt and grime. New wheels demand a new kind of cleaner. Mother’s Foaming Wheel and Tire Cleaner was developed especially for newer coated wheels.

It safely cleans and restores painted, clear coated, color coated wheels and steel, modular, chrome or painted wheels. Despite its powerful cleaning abilities, the cleaner leaves the wheels’ coating intact while dislodging baked-on tar, dirt, brake dust, bugs, and oil. The enhanced foaming action instantly dissolves thick grime without much scrubbing. Additionally, it has a quick dry time and doesn’t leave behind any residue. Getting your wheels clean and spotless will only take a few simple steps.

Spray the cleaner on your wheels and tires when they are cool. One to two minutes should be enough time for the foam to work. Avoid working in direct sunlight and don’t let any cleaner dry on the wheels. Using a strong jet of water, rinse your wheels and tires. 

This product should not be used on motorcycles, polished aluminum wheels, billet wheels, or anodized wheels.