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Product Review: P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner

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The German based P21S manufacturer is continuously seeking perfection with each one of their products and they succeeded with this fantastic wheel cleaner. Just spray your wheels down and rinse them clean with the P21S Wheel Cleaner. This unique wheel cleaner is pH balanced and gel based. This is contrary to most cleaners which use strong acids and are liquid based wheel cleaners. P21s Wheel Gel Cleaner is pH balanced and completely safe to use on any wheel with any kind of finish. There are no harsh corrosive agents in this cleaner that can possibly fade or tarnish the wheel. The gel formula helps clings to all vertical and horizontal surfaces that liquid based cleaners just run off of. The wheel gel then helps release road grime, brake dust and other contaminates that accumulate over time. Cleaning wheels has never been easier or more thorough. Get the safest and most effective wheel cleaner on the market with the P21S Wheel Gel Cleaner. The 1000ml and 5000ml bottles are considered a refill size by the manufacturer and it does not come with a trigger. The 500ml Kit comes with a trigger and a foam sponge to help you clean.

The P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner is a product I have used throughout my detailing career, both as an enthusiast and professional.  It’s hard to find a better alternative because this cleaner is both safe and effective, without the harsh smell of some other wheel cleaners.  One of my favorite things about P21S wheel cleaner is the fact that it foams up nicely and works effectively even when diluted 1:1 or 2:1 with water.  Most of the vehicles we get at the shop require some level of brushing to remove the buildup, so the P21S wheel cleaner works well in that it foams up on the surface, breaks down the buildup and removes easily with a wheel brush.  In the photos below, we had a newer Toyota Camry in for service and I wanted to show how well the P21S cleaner can work.

The wheel wasn’t horrible, but it had a lot of brake dust and dirt stuck in between the spokes…

LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(1)

Spraying down the entire wheel…

LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(2) LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(3)

After a couple of minutes, the foam becomes less and less…

LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(4)

Before brushing, I wanted to show how much only rinsing helps in cleaning the wheel…

LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(5)

As you can see below, while the wheel is noticeably cleaner, it’s surely not what I would call clean…

LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(6)

This is the only downside I can think of with P21S wheel cleaner.  Compared to Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus, P21S seems to require brushing in order to clean the wheel completely.  Sonax is able to remove more buildup by simply breaking it down and rinsing off.  However, considering that even with Sonax the wheel doesn’t get completely cleaned and requires a bit of brushing or at least a wipedown, I can’t say one is better than the other.  I use both as I sometimes like only rinsing and a quick wipedown after using Sonax, but at the same time Sonax tends to splatter all over when using a brush for inside of the barrels, in which case P21S is highly preferred.  With a quick application of product to the wheel brushes and a quick brushing action, the wheel ends up perfectly clean…

LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(7) LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(8) LUSTR.P21SWheelCleaner(9)

As mentioned above and as many detailers do these days, P21S is compared to Sonax quite a bit.  I personally use both and sometimes even on the same wheel, so I honestly can’t say one is better than the other.  To me, they work differently and effectively, I simply prefer P21S due to the foaming action and no splatter.

I think it’s a great product that has been around for a very long time and for good reason.  It’s safe for any wheel finish, works well and is very easy to use.  Hard to find a replacement for it, even though I am slowly adding a 3rd wheel cleaner to our arsenal, which is the Chemical Guys Diablo Wheel Cleaner.  I will have a review of that shortly, but it will definitely not replace P21S for me any time soon.

I would highly recommend this product to anyone looking for a wheel cleaner, because as I said above, it’s very hard to find something that is as good and safe as the P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner!

Ivan Rajic LUSTR Deatil
Ivan Rajic
LUSTR Detail
257 N Woodwork Lane
Palatine IL 60067
LUSTRDetail.com
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4 comments on Product Review: P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner

  1. Bruce Devilbiss says:

    I saw another writeup in another form about P21S wheel cleaner. So back in June I got a small bottle just to try. This stuff works great. I’m just a weekend detail er but this is my favorite cleaner that I have found to date. I don’t mind a little brushing cause that is all I do……very little. I also use P21 total cycle cleaner on my motorcycles.

    thanks for the writeup.

  2. John says:

    I love P21S wheel cleaner. Spray it on, allow to sit a few minutes, gently scrub with a soft flag tipped wheel brush and small wheel wooly for the lugs, then simply rinse. Leaves the wheels on my Ram sparkling and squeaky clean. Gel stays put with minimal run. IMO a must have.

  3. Bob says:

    I have a 2017 Ford Explorer with 20″ Polished Aluminum wheels. What kind of product should I use to clean these wheels?

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      This P21S wheel cleaner should work for you Bob, but any exposed aluminum wheels should be cleaned gently and often, as well as protected often so you minimize the oxidation.

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