The Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner 2023

A dedicated alloy wheel cleaner is designed to safely dissolve and easily remove brake dust, road grime and other dirt. Compared to car shampoo, it provides more cleaning power for a “like-new” finish to your wheels and below are our top recommendations.


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Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner
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If you require a quick answer, the best alloy wheel cleaner is the Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel, which is a non-acidic formula that’s safe to use on all wheel types and doesn’t require any agitation with a brush. However, if you require an extra strong formula that powers through even the most stubborn of brake dust, Meguiar’s Ultimate is the best alternative.

To rate the alloy wheel cleaners within our roundup, we based our recommendations on thorough testing, our experience using multiple wheel cleaners, the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the cleaner’s effectiveness, compatible wheel types, ease of use, colour activation, finish, time to activate and value.

Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner Overview

Although some of the best-rated car shampoos may be able to remove most dirt, they won’t be able to provide the powerful cleaning power of an alloy wheel cleaner. Therefore, if you really want to give your car a deep clean, a dedicated cleaner for your wheels is a great addition to your car cleaning product collection.

Below is a list of the best alloy wheel cleaners that are suitable for all wheel types and provide instant results.

The Best Alloy Wheel Cleaners


1. Best Overall: Bilt Hamber Alloy Wheel Cleaner


By far the most popular alloy wheel cleaner in the UK is by the reputable Bilt Hamber brand. It’s a water-based formula that provides powerful cleaning power and benefits from being safe to use on all types of wheels.

In terms of the application, it’s contactless and all you need to do is spray it onto the wheel, allow 1 to 5 minutes for it to activate and then thoroughly rinse clear.

Pros
  • Non-acidic and non-alkaline cleaner
  • pH balanced and biodegradable
  • During testing, we liked the colour changing activation as it indicated when we needed to rinse it clear
  • No touch cleaning
  • High-quality 1 litre spray bottle
  • Made in the UK
Cons
  • Relatively expensive per litre when compared to other wheel cleaners

The Auto Wheel formula by Bilt Hamber is the best alloy wheel cleaner that’s made in the UK and is safe to use on all wheels. The powerful formula gets to work straight away and it doesn’t even require you to agitate it in most cases.

2. Best Value: Autoglym Clean Wheels Cleaner


Another popular but more affordable alternative is the Autoglym Clean Wheels, which is also made in the UK. The formula is a blend of acidic cleaners, non-ionic surfactants and metal attack inhibitors that are super effective and instantly get to work. The brand also states that it’s safe to use on alloy, chromium, painted and plastic-trimmed wheels.

Pros
  • Spray-on, brush and rinse clear application
  • Available as a 1 litre or 500 ml spray bottle
  • During testing, we found that it removed brake dust with ease
  • Fast acting formula
  • Made in the UK
Cons
  • Not suitable for non-standard or anodised wheels

To conclude, the Autoglym Clean Wheels is an easy-to-use formula that provides excellent results each and every time. Although agitation is required for heavily soiled wheels, it’s worth the extra work for the “like-new” finish.

It’s important to note that this formula isn’t suitable for non-standard or anodised wheel surfaces due to its strength. However, the brand’s Custom Wheel formula is the best alternative because it’s a safe yet powerful wheel cleaner.

3. Best For Brake Dust: Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner


Meguiar’s offers several alloy wheel cleaners but their most popular and highly rated is the All Wheel formula. It’s the brand’s new and improved wheel cleaner that’s even more powerful but is still suitable for all wheel types.

Compared to other wheel cleaners, the All Wheel formula is a gel formulation, which means it clings to the wheels for tough cleaning. Whether your wheels are covered in brake dust, road grime or dirt, it’s no problem for this cleaner.

Pros
  • Additional cleaning power for tackling tough brake dust
  • Contactless application that requires no agitation
  • Colour activation formula that turns brake dust purple and road grime brown
  • During testing, we liked the fact that there was no foul smell
  • pH balanced formula that's safe to use on all wheel types
  • High-quality 710 ml spray bottle
  • Easy to apply (takes 2 to 4 minutes to get to work)
Cons
  • Most expensive wheel cleaner within our roundup

Although expensive per litre, the All Wheel formula is a highly-rated alloy wheel cleaner that won’t disappoint. It’s also Meguiar’s new and improved formula that’s been thoroughly tested and proven to provide great results.

4. Most Versatile: Gtechniq W6 Iron & General Fallout Remover


Gtechniq is a fast-growing detailing brand in the UK and is well-known for its high-quality products. This alloy wheel cleaner is no different and it’s designed to remove fallout and brake dust with ease.

A unique feature of this alloy wheel cleaner when compared to the alternatives is that it can be used to remove fallout. It’s also not limited to just the alloy wheels because it can also be used on the paintwork and other surfaces too.

Pros
  • Safe to use on all wheels
  • Doesn’t strip any previously applied coatings
  • High-cling formulation
  • Gets to work in 3 to 5 minutes
  • Doesn’t require any brushing of the cleaner
  • Available as a 250, 500 or 5 litre bottle
  • Doubles up as a fallout remover
Cons
  • Must be used within 12 months of opening

If you require a fallout remover as well as an alloy wheel cleaner, the Gtechniq W6 formula is the perfect solution. It’s a highly effective formula that dissolves fallout, brake dust and iron particles with ease. It’s also safe to use on all wheel types and even the paintwork for complete peace of mind.

5. Best For Sensitive Wheels: Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner Kit


Another wheel cleaner by Autoglym is their Custom Wheel formula, which is designed for all wheel types. Compared to their alternative above, it has a gentle formulation, which makes it suitable for anodised, chrome and sensitive wheels.

In terms of the application, simply spray the formula onto the wheels, brush heavily soiled areas and rinse off. It really is that easy to use and the brand also offers this wheel cleaner as a complete kit which comes with two wheel brushes.

Pros
  • Acid-free and safe to use on all wheels
  • Removes brake dust and road grime
  • Optional kit available with 2 wheel brushes
  • Available as a 500 ml or 1 litre spray bottle
  • Made in the UK
Cons
  • During testing, we felt that it needed extra agitation for tough dirt when compared to the brand's alternative wheel cleaner

If you have unique alloy wheels that are anodised, chrome or known for being sensitive, the Custom Wheel formula is the perfect solution. The Gentle formulation is far more effective than just using car shampoo and you have the complete peace of mind that it’s safe to use. However, for the best results on tough dirt, agitation with a wheel brush is advised.

6. Best Value Runner-Up: Williams Racing Non-Acidic Alloy Wheel Cleaner


Another formula that’s safe to use on all wheel types is by the Williams Racing brand. It’s available in a large 5-litre bottle and is designed to effortlessly clean dirt, grease, tar and brake dust via the non-acidic formula.

In order to use this alloy wheel cleaner properly, we highly advise using the provided long hose trigger. You can opt to pour it into separate spray bottles but for the small cost of the trigger, it’s simply not worth the hassle.

Pros
  • Non-acidic formula
  • Safe on all wheel types
  • Long hose trigger for application (we found this much easier to use during testing)
  • Cleans dirt, grease, tar and brake dust
  • Activates within 5 minutes
Cons
  • Unless you clean your car regularly, you may not require 5 litres
  • Requires agitation with a brush

To conclude, the Williams Racing alloy wheel cleaner is an excellent all-round option that’s safe to use on all wheels and won’t disappoint. Considering that it comes in a large 5-litre bottle, it’s a fraction of the price per litre when compared to many of the alternatives recommended within this article.

How We Rated

Alloy wheel cleaners are an essential detailing product of ours when cleaning cars and over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of testing many different formulas from some of the top brands in the UK.

Whilst testing the wheel cleaners, we used them on heavy brake dust and even light dirt to test their effectiveness. As you can see in the image below from a recent test, the Bilt Hamber cleaner provided a very satisfying purple colour transformation whilst the Autoglym formula remained white.

Alloy Wheel Cleaner
Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner UK

To keep up our commitment to testing and reviewing the latest alloy wheel cleaners (for this article), we are continually testing out the latest offerings from top brands in the UK. This means that when we notice a brand has released a new and improved formula, we will attempt to buy it to put it to the test (where applicable).

best car wheel cleaner
best wheel cleaner

To give you an idea of how easy alloy wheel cleaners are to use, below is a video we posted on our YouTube channel that shows us putting the Autoglym formula to the test:

As well as testing and our experience using a range of wheel cleaners, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the formula’s effectiveness, compatible wheel types, ease of use, colour activation, finish, time to activate and value for money.

Conclusion

Alloy wheel cleaners save the hassle of scrubbing your wheels for much longer than required and they also provide far better results than using just car shampoo. Although car shampoos can get rid of most of the dirt on your wheels, stubborn brake dust can certainly be a challenge.

Before purchasing any of our recommendations, we advise that you choose a formula that’s safe to use. Some are more powerful than others and may not be safe for all wheel types such as chrome or other sensitive wheels. On the bottle, it’ll state whether it’s safe to use on all wheel types or what surfaces to avoid. After you’ve cleaned your wheels, we advise that you use a highly-rated tyre dressing to provide a “like-new” factory finish to both your wheels and tyres.

If you require further information regarding our alloy wheel cleaner recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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