Last Updated on December 23, 2023 by Stewart

Alloy wheel cleaners can be a tough thing to purchase, especially when it comes to the cheaper variants as these normally contain acid which can damage the alloy wheel. Personally, I prefer to opt for either a pH neutral wheel cleaner (followed by an iron fallout remover), or to use a wheel cleaner that is on the more alkaline side of the pH scale.

Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner - Premium Car Care Kit Comes with (500ml) Acid-Free Car Wheel Cleaner Spray and (2) Soft Car Wheel Cleaning Brushes
Autoglym Magma Liquid Clay, 500ml - Colour Transform Technology Fallout Remover, Removes Stubborn Iron Specks From Car Bodywork, Brake Discs, Car Wheel Cleaner, Red
Bilt Hamber BH-AW1 Auto Wheel Cleaner,1 Litre
Meguiar's G180124EU Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Iron Remover 709ml, Changes colour as it cleans!, Brown, purple
Turtle Wax 53749 Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel & Tyre Cleaner, Spray On Colour Change Foaming Formula for Alloy Wheels and Tyres, Brake Dust Remover, Clean and Prep for Tire Shine, 680 ml
Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner - Premium Car Care Kit Comes with (500ml) Acid-Free Car Wheel Cleaner Spray and (2) Soft Car Wheel Cleaning Brushes
Autoglym Magma Liquid Clay, 500ml - Colour Transform Technology Fallout Remover, Removes Stubborn Iron Specks From Car Bodywork, Brake Discs, Car Wheel Cleaner, Red
Bilt Hamber BH-AW1 Auto Wheel Cleaner,1 Litre
Meguiar's G180124EU Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Iron Remover 709ml, Changes colour as it cleans!, Brown, purple
Turtle Wax 53749 Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel & Tyre Cleaner, Spray On Colour Change Foaming Formula for Alloy Wheels and Tyres, Brake Dust Remover, Clean and Prep for Tire Shine, 680 ml
Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner - Premium Car Care Kit Comes with (500ml) Acid-Free Car Wheel Cleaner Spray and (2) Soft Car Wheel Cleaning Brushes
Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner - Premium Car Care Kit Comes with (500ml) Acid-Free Car Wheel Cleaner Spray and (2) Soft Car Wheel Cleaning Brushes
Autoglym Magma Liquid Clay, 500ml - Colour Transform Technology Fallout Remover, Removes Stubborn Iron Specks From Car Bodywork, Brake Discs, Car Wheel Cleaner, Red
Autoglym Magma Liquid Clay, 500ml - Colour Transform Technology Fallout Remover, Removes Stubborn Iron Specks From Car Bodywork, Brake Discs, Car Wheel Cleaner, Red
Bilt Hamber BH-AW1 Auto Wheel Cleaner,1 Litre
Bilt Hamber BH-AW1 Auto Wheel Cleaner,1 Litre
Meguiar's G180124EU Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Iron Remover 709ml, Changes colour as it cleans!, Brown, purple
Meguiar's G180124EU Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Iron Remover 709ml, Changes colour as it cleans!, Brown, purple
Turtle Wax 53749 Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel & Tyre Cleaner, Spray On Colour Change Foaming Formula for Alloy Wheels and Tyres, Brake Dust Remover, Clean and Prep for Tire Shine, 680 ml
Turtle Wax 53749 Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel & Tyre Cleaner, Spray On Colour Change Foaming Formula for Alloy Wheels and Tyres, Brake Dust Remover, Clean and Prep for Tire Shine, 680 ml

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner

Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner is available in 500ml and 1 litre sizes. Curiously, the 1 litre version comes in a kit with two brushes, and it’s actually cheaper to buy this size when compared to just buying the 500ml bottle, twice.

I really do like that it’s a fast acting cleaner. Not only does it melt away brake dust and grime easily on the wheel, but it also acts as a fantastic tyre cleaner as well. The two brushes included in the 1 litre kit are a great starting point for cleaning the alloy wheels, although you’d do well with getting some more, or even a few microfibre cloths to clean the back of the alloy as well.

When I’ve applied a wax to the wheels, I haven’t noticed any real degradation to the wax after using this cleaner. One thing to note though is that there isn’t a fallout remover on it, so you’ll need to follow it up separately with one of them. Having said that, after using this on a particularly dirty set of alloys, I noticed that there wasn’t a substantial amount of iron fallout left behind.

It really does leave the wheels looking like new, and you don’t need to apply a lot of it either. It should be noted though that the wheels need to be cool to the touch to use this, otherwise it can leave stain marks on the alloys. I haven’t tried it on hot wheels since I didn’t want to cause any damage to mine. Given that you could in theory blast the wheels with cold water before starting the clean to cool them down, I don’t consider the cold wheel rule to be an issue.

Due to it’s fast acting cleaning, I tend to use Custom Wheel Cleaner in the colder, winter months when I want to get a great clean, in the shortest time possible. In the summer months, my preference is to use Autoglym Magma and UHD Shampoo as discussed below.

Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner - Premium Car Care Kit Comes with (500ml) Acid-Free Car Wheel Cleaner Spray and (2) Soft Car Wheel Cleaning Brushes
  • It is safe for use on all wheel types including alloy, lacquered alloy, steel, chrome, painted, anodised and plastic covers

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Autoglym Magma

For those that want a one size fits all product, Autoglym Magma is a great way to decontaminate the paintwork as well as the wheels. When I’m using Magma as a wheel cleaner, I like to use this in tandem with a car shampoo such as UHD Shampoo. The reason for this is that Magma isn’t a foaming cleaner the way that Custom Wheel Cleaner is. By using Magma with UHD Shampoo, it allows you to get a great, deep clean.

The colour change really helps to show the level of iron contamination on the alloys and it’s usually sufficient to only apply it to the wheels once. My recommendation is to apply it to cool wheels that are dry and leave it to work for 3-4 minutes.

Whilst it’s working, I add in 20ml of Autoglym UHD Shampoo to a bucket and add in 10 litres of water and then use a wash mitt or brush to clean the alloy wheel. I have found that the two of these in combination of each other works really well. It’s also a more cost effective method in the summer months since the car is getting washed every week anyway and I don’t need the massive cleaning power that you get from Custom Wheel Cleaner. A little bit of Magma goes a long way on wheels that have a coating on them.

Autoglym Magma Liquid Clay, 500ml - Colour Transform Technology Fallout Remover, Removes Stubborn Iron Specks From Car Bodywork, Brake Discs, Car Wheel Cleaner, Red
  • Colour Transform Technology reacts with iron particles on your bodywork and wheels so they can be easily rinsed away for a deep clean

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Autoglym Ultra High Definition Shampoo, 1 Litre - High Foaming Car Shampoo Leaves a Silky Smooth, High-Gloss Finish
  • Ultra-premium car shampoo provides a luxuriously smooth finish with an invigorating, sensual fragrance

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner

Bilt Hamber have been on the detailing scene for quite some time. Their wheel cleaner is one of the best on the market. When testing it across tens of cars, I’ve always found it to be a fast acting and highly effective alloy wheel cleaner.

In an ideal world, all alloys would be perfect, however we know that this isn’t the case. The great thing about Auto Wheel Cleaner is that it is pH neutral, so it won’t cause any damage to your alloys that may have been kerbed or have other damage on them.

It contains an iron fallout remover in it and is very easy to use. After 5 minutes (in cool conditions), the worst alloys I used this on had lit up like a Christmas tree.

It is effective enough that you don’t always need to agitate the grime with a selection of brushes, however on more intricate wheels, I would always recommend using a wheel brush to clean the nooks and crannies.

I was blown away with how well it cleans wheels, but it is a tad more expensive than the others on this list. It’s really a trade off on how much time you have to clean the wheels compared to how much money you want to spend.

Sale
Bilt Hamber BH-AW1 Auto Wheel Cleaner,1 Litre
  • Non-acid non alkaline universal wheel cleaner

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner

Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner is a tad more expensive than the Autoglym offerings, but it really is a great cleaner. It fits the pre-requisite of it not being an acid wheel cleaner, which is great since  it can be used on a variety of wheel types and finishes.

As is the case with the other wheel cleaners on this page, I recommend that this is used when the wheels are cool to the touch.

In the product videos for it, they do add (in my opinion) way too much product. After trying it out on alloys that hadn’t been cleaned for a few weeks, a few liberal sprays were sufficient enough to remove the majority of the dirt on the wheel with agitating it.

Meguiar’s are keen to point out that this is more like a spray on, rinse off product and you don’t need to get the brushes out, but I would say you’re going to go through more of the product that way.

An alternative is to give a few sprays to the wheel, let the gel bed into it and then use a soft brush to move the product around the wheel. Not only will you still get an amazing clean from it, but the product will last a lot longer too.

If however you want the fasting acting and minimal effort wheel cleaner, this is the product for you.

Meguiar's G180124EU Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Iron Remover 709ml, Changes colour as it cleans!, Brown, purple
  • Ultimate wheel cleaner active gel quickly dissolves heavy brake dust, changing colour to purple as it cleans

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel and Tyre Prep

Part of the Hybrid Solutions range from Turtle Wax is the rather excellent Hyper Foam Wheel and Tyre Prep. It works extremely well at both cleaning wheels and also giving a deep clean to tyre sidewalls as well (which is crucial before applying a tyre dressing).

In terms of application, I would say less is more. Thanks to it’s high foaming action, it quickly dissolves brake dust and grime. I did find that on wheels that are cleaned every week that it didn’t need much agitation. However, for wheels that haven’t been cleaned for quite some time, it will require some mild agitation to remove all of the brake dust.

It also turns purple when it comes into contact with iron particles, showing that it is breaking these particles down.

What really impressed me is the fact that at this price point, there is also a corrosion inhibitor built into the wheel cleaner. This is something I’ve not seen before in an alloy wheel cleaner, so it was a welcome addition for this. Of course, you could also coat the wheels afterwards with a Turtle Wax protection coating. Definitely recommended.

Sale
Turtle Wax 53749 Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel & Tyre Cleaner, Spray On Colour Change Foaming Formula for Alloy Wheels and Tyres, Brake Dust Remover, Clean and Prep for Tire Shine, 680 ml
  • All-in-one quick cleaning foaming formula dissolves dirt, grime, heavy brake dust and browning. Leaves wheels and tyres perfectly prepped for tyre dressing or coatings.

Last update on 2024-04-17 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.