Best Wheel Cleaner (Top 5 Reviews with Comparison)

1. Sonax (230200-755) Wheel Cleaner

Sonax’s (230200-755 wheel cleaner is what would be described as a mid-level, mid-strength wheel cleaner. It’s designed to be used on wheels of nearly all types of finishes including alloys, clear coat, painted wheels and more. You’ll need to test the product on anodized wheels and brake discs however. Sonax created this cleaner to be ph balanced and acid free. While this is a good thing for the environment, it takes a few applications to get your wheels clean. 

Pros:

  • Extremely safe to use on any type of wheels
  • The cleaner is considered “skin friendly”. Even though you should always use gloves when using any wheel cleaner, you really should be worried about using the cleaner if you suffer skin allergies.
  • Good dirt removal action
  • It can be easily applied, but you might have to play with the tip to get a proper spray.
  • The color changes when applied to the wheel so you can be assured of proper cleaner coverage. 
  • Non-toxic
  • Acid-free and Ph-balanced
  • Will not damage paint surfaces
  • Rinses away easily

Cons:

  • Not the strongest cleaner, but then again, it’s not meant to be either.
  • It can sometimes take more than one application to get your wheels cleaned properly.
  • Several customers have reported that the spray tip isn’t the best, coming out as more of a stream than a full spray.
  • This cleaner will not work for cleaning tires. It’s a wheel cleaner only, meaning you’ll have to buy an additional cleaner if needed.  
  • The cleaner is not powerful enough to remove rust, so be careful if you meant to buy something more powerful. 
  • It can be used on anodized wheels, but it would be wise to test the cleaner first. 

Equipment You’ll Need to Clean Your Wheels:

  • It’s recommended that you use gloves with this product.
  • After spraying the cleaner on, you should wait a few minutes to let the formula seep in and penetrate through dirt and grime. 
  • The foam changes colors when first sprayed on so you can make sure you have proper coverage. 
  • If you have wheel rust, you’ll need a wheel brush, as the cleaner cannot remove it on its own.   

Conclusion

Most reviews for the Sonax (230200-755) Wheel Cleaner are very good, with customers giving the product anywhere between four and five stars on most online sites. It’s not a perfect cleaner, and it can be more expensive than other products, but the cleaner’s benefits and eco-friendly branding far outweigh its shortcomings. There’s no doubt that the cleaner will get the job done right.  

2. Meguiar’s G-9524 Wheel Cleaner

Meguiar’s G-9524 is an all in one cleaner that can be used on wheels as well as tires. It offers great features for its price point, such as “Xtreme Cling”. That means the gel-based cleaner will actually cling to the surface of whatever needs to be cleaned, rather than running down your wheel like water. Please note that this cleaner is not recommended for use with motorcycle wheels or tires. 

Pros:

  • Meguiar’s says that the G-9524 cleaner is safe for all wheel finishes.
  • Xtreme Cling formula makes sure the cleaner comes out as a foam that sticks to the wheels and not drip away.
  • Can be used on both wheels and tires, offering an economic alternative to separate products.
  • G-9524 is moderately strong but will not damage factory-coated wheels.
  • Non-toxic
  • Acid-free 
  • Ph-balanced
  • Will not damage paint surfaces

Cons: 

  • Although the fumes are not considered severe, the smell can be noticeable. 
  • Cannot be used  on motorcycle wheels or tires
  • You’ll need to clean your wheels and tires in a shady area, as this cleaner has a tendency to dry very quickly in the sunlight. 
  • It would be wise to use gloves with this product. It’s quite strong.
  • Some customer reviews have mentioned being careful about leaving the product on for too long when applying to painted wheels. 

Equipment and Tips You’ll Need to Clean Your Wheels:

  • It’s recommended that you use gloves with this product.
  • Use only on cool wheel surfaces.
  • Just spray the cleaner on and wait a few minutes to let the formula seep in and penetrate through dirt and grime. 
  • Let the formula do its magic but beware of the fumes 
  • A wheel brush may be required for detailed cleaning.
  • The cleaner will change color from white to brown while lifting off the dirt.
  • Spray with a powerful stream of water, as the gel can be thick at times.

Conclusion

All in all, Meguiar’s G-9524 is a wheel and tire cleaner that will get the job done with great results. The cleaner keeps a consistent four to five stars on most online sites. For its price point that’s saying a lot. As long as you remember that G-9524 is moderately powerful, you will no doubt be delighted in how well it’ll get your wheels and tires clean. The gel-based formula cannot be used on motorcycle wheels or parts, but for any other applications it seems to do a great job. 

3. Mothers 05924 Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner

Mothers products have been around and making fantastic cleaning and detailing products ever since the company formed way back in the 1970s. With a history like that you know it’s a brand you can trust. The company’s 05924 Foaming Wheel Cleaner is designed as a wheel and tire cleaner. But that’s where the confusion begins. The label clearly says “All Wheel and Tire Cleaner”, but that might not necessarily be the case. The manufacturer says the cleaner is only designed for use with factory/OEM wheels. Use caution when matching the cleaner up to your wheels.  

Pros:

  • 05924 is a foaming cleaner, which means that it will stick to your wheels and tires longer and penetrate deeper. 
  • The gel-based cleaner sticks to the surface for better dirt removal.
  • The cleaner features an anti-spotting formula which always helps.
  • Non-acidic formula designed to clean all wheels and tires, according to the manufacturer.
  • Ph-balanced.
  • Non-toxic.

Cons

  • Even though the bottle says the cleaner is for all wheels, this is not the case. It does not play well with aluminum, anodized or billet wheels.
  • Foam builds up quickly inside the bottle, making spraying quite difficult at times. 
  • It’s supposed to be a spray and rinse formula, but you’ll need to scrub for best results. 
  • Cannot be allowed to dry on wheels because it might damage the finish.
  • Bottle runs out rather quickly. 
  • Cannot be used on other vehicle wheels or casings, for instance with motorcycles.

Equipment and Tips You’ll Need to Clean Your Wheels:

  • It’s recommended that you use gloves with this product.
  • Make sure the wheel is rinsed with some cold water before applying. 
  • Spray the formula on and wait a few seconds.
  • Rinse wheel and tire area again. Use a strong stream of water.
  • Use a wheel brush if you need to. 
  • Use a lint-free cloth to dry your wheels.  

Conclusion

Mothers 09524 Foaming Wheel and Tire Cleaner does a good job for what it is but you’ll need to review the manufacturer notes before purchasing. The label says it can handle all wheels, but on the backside it says it can’t really do all that. The label also mentions that the cleaner is “Wash and Rinse”, but the manufacturer suggests you use a brush with the product. Customers generally like the product, but the cleaning recommendations can be confusing. Otherwise, this is a great product that anyone would be happy using.

4. CarGuys Wheel and Tire Cleaner

CarGuys Wheel and Tire Cleaner is a consistently top-rated product. The acid-free and ph-balanced product is friendly to the environment as well. The product focuses on getting rid of that irritating road corrosion which affects all wheels and tires no matter what. CarGuys Wheel and Tire Cleaner is one of the very few cleaners that can be used to clean motorcycle wheels and tires, which is a huge plus. It’s also multipurpose, meaning it can be used to clean up things like exhaust tips, metal parts and much more. Being both potent and safe is why customers love this product so much.

Pros:

  • All in one cleaner takes care of both wheels and tires.
  • Safe for motorcycle wheels and tires.
  • Does a great job removing brake dust. 
  • Surprisingly powerful formula for an environmentally friendly product.
  • Gel-based product sticks to surfaces for better cleaning. 
  • Very good at removing road corrosion.
  • Leaves wheels with a nice gloss.
  • There is a towel included, which is nice.
  • Product is multipurpose, and can be used to clean whitewall tires as well.
  • Ph-balanced.
  • Non-toxic.
  • Acid-free.
  • No-fuss money back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Some customers report that the cleaner can sometimes leave a haze on wheels.
  • The bottle design doesn’t spray the formula very well. 
  • You’ll still need a brush at times to clean stubborn areas.

Equipment and Tips You’ll Need to Clean Your Wheels:

  • It’s recommended that you use gloves with this product.
  • Make sure your wheels are cooled off before using.
  • Do not use in direct sunlight.
  • Be sure the cleaner is well shaken before using.
  • Spray on and leave for a few minutes. 
  • You might need a wheel brush for the stubborn areas.
  • Rinse wheel and tire area with high-pressure water. 
  • Dry wheels immediately.  
  • For other metal parts such as exhaust tips, you should be able to use the cleaner without diluting it.

Conclusion  

CarGuys Wheel and Tire Cleaner does what it says it will do. It can make your wheels and tires look their best with minimal effort. Plus, the fact that it’s safe for motorcycle wheels and tires is a very big win which sets it apart from many so-called “all wheel and tire cleaners”. The non-toxic formula is not only safe for the environment, but also shouldn’t cause problems for those who suffer from skin reactions. Little touches like including a nice wiping towel shows that the company is laser-focused on customer satisfaction. 

5. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16 Signature Series Wheel Cleaner

This is a powerful cleaner which uses a citrus-based formula to get your wheels clean. What makes this cleaner stand out is that it can clean a multitude of surfaces inside and outside your car. CLD_203_16 is ph-balanced and can clean windows, seats and much more if you need it to. Cleaning your vehicle’s suspension or other areas like brake parts is a breeze with this cleaner. The non-toxic nature of the cleaner combined with a powerful formula is why people buy this product without hesitation. 

Pros:

  • Powerful citrus-based cleaner which smells great.
  • Multipurpose formula can be diluted to clean anything on your car from the door to the windows.
  • Gel-based, so it will stick to surfaces with ease.
  • Great value for the money due to its many uses.
  • Brake dust and caliper cleaning is impressive. 
  • Ph-balanced.
  • Non-toxic.
  • Acid-free.

Cons:

  • The formula is thick and some consumers have mentioned that the cleaner can leave a residue if left on for too long. 
  • The manufacturer does not provide information about cleaning motorcycle wheels, so you might want to contact them first. 

Equipment and Tips You’ll Need to Clean Your Wheels:

  • It’s recommended that you use gloves with this product.
  • It’s best to rinse off the wheels first. 
  • Spray on and leave for a few minutes. 
  • Keep a bucket of soapy water handy in case you need to get some stubborn areas. 
  • You might need a wheel brush depending on how grimy your wheels are.
  • Rinse wheel and tire area with high-pressure water. 
  • Cleaner can be diluted for cleaning other surfaces, according to the manufacturer. 

Conclusion 

Don’t let the name on the bottle fool you. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16 Signature Series Wheel Cleaner will surprise you mostly because of its versatility as a multipurpose cleaner. It seems to be able to tackle nearly any job you throw at it. It can be diluted quite easily and can handle the tough jobs. It’s non-toxic, safe for the environment and works with all wheel types, from aluminum to polished wheels. Chemical Guys CLD_203_16 will have you driving down the road with confidence while making sure your wheels are sparkling.