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Wheel Cleaning Supplies


After some questions from clients, I wanted to share the products I use for pretty much every detail job to thoroughly clean wheels and tires…


Pictured above are the following:

P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner

I like the P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner and it’s something I’ve been using for a very long time.  I have it diluted 1:1 and 2:1 with water because it still works really well and I normally don’t have to deal with any really stubborn wheels.  If the wheels are only slightly dirty, I’ll even just spray on a light mist of the P21S at 2:1 ratio, then just use a regular Sheepskin Wash Mitt with any wash soap to clean them up, since I want to avoid brushing them if not necessary.  While I like and utilize the Sonax Wheel Cleaner, I prefer P21S because it foams up and sticks to the wheels, allowing me to brush and clean them before rinsing off.  On the other hand, the Sonax cleaner doesn’t really foam up and tends to fling up all over my hands, especially when using the EZ Detail Brushes.

Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner Plus D103

Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner Plus D103 (APC+) is a great cleaner for pretty much anything around the wheels.  I usually spray the wheel wells and tires with it, then use brushes to clean it up.  For tires and wheel wells, I use it at 4:1 dilution ratio, but I also have 8:1, 10:1 and 15:1 for various other tasks.

DI Brushes Large EZ Detail Brush

The DI Brushes Large EZ Detail Brush is probably the best way to clean up the inside barrels of the wheels.  Simply spray the wheel cleaner inside and brush back and forth to remove the dirt.  One tip: Don’t use any downward pressure as it will start bending the brush and eventually lead to the handle breaking off.  Rather, let the bristles do the cleaning and simply brush it in and out of the wheel with very little to no pressure.

DI Brushes Small EZ Detail Brush

As you can see in the photo, I always bend my Small EZ Detail Brush that’s used on wheels and keep the brushes for other tasks straight.  Reason being, I like the bent brush to get behind spokes easily and I keep it bent because, as mentioned above, bending it back and forth will easily break the wire and handle will simply fall off.

DI Brushes Boar’s Hair Detailing Brush

The DI Brushes Boar’s Hair Detailing Brush is great for cleaning around wheel bolts, valve stems and calipers.  For more information, please visit my full Review of the Boar’s Hair Detailing Brush.

Meguiar’s Wheel Face Brush

This is one brush I have used for a very long time and one that is no longer manufactured.  I still have a few left over that I purchased years ago, but I’m slowly transitioning to using the DI Brushes Horse’s Hair Wheel Brush.  I do wish Meguiar’s would go back to making this brush as it is really good and lasts a pretty long time (as you can see in the photo, mine’s reaching the end of it’s usable life), but there are definitely great alternatives out there.

Meguiar’s Tire Brush

Same situation as the wheel brush, the Meguiar’s tire brush has also been a favorite of mine for a long time and I only have 2-3 left in my possession.  I now use a generic brush from a local store as well as the Tuf Shine Tire Brush, but do mainly utilize the Meg’s tire brush pictured above.

Lastly, there are times where more aggressive products are necessary, so products like CarPro Iron X and the Heavy Duty Wheel Brush are definitely worth mentioning for removing built up grime and brake dust.  However, the products listed above are a great set to get you through pretty much any wheel cleaning encountered during a detail job.

Hope that helps some readers in narrowing down their search and as always, thanks for reading!

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Ivan Rajic LUSTR Deatil
Ivan Rajic
LUSTR Detail
257 N Woodwork Lane
Palatine IL 60067
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2 comments on Wheel Cleaning Supplies

  1. Ray Scott says:

    Ivan, I detail a BMW M3 with special wheels. These were from my customers 2012. The area around the rivets on the inside of the wheel have what looks like caked on brake dust on them. I have used the brushes described and sonax and it will not come off. I also used some laquer thinner to no avail. What would you suggest to remove these stubborn . Thanks.


    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Ray,

      Sometimes brake dust penetrates the wheel or wheel paint surface and becomes nearly impossible to remove in such tight spaces. Aside from taking the wheels apart and trying to get it out that way, I would probably suggest some more aggressive cleaners like Iron X or Meguiar’s wheel brightener, but as with anything do a test spot first to make sure no damage is done. Wish I could be of more help, but those tight places normally require lots of experimentation with both chemical and mechanical cleaning.

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