Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best wheel cleaners in 2024 are Turtle Wax T-18, Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner, WeatherTech TechCare, Chemical Guys Diablo Gel, and Adam’s Polishes wheel cleaner.
  • A bottle of wheel cleaner costs around $20 and should clean about 20 wheels or last 5 cleaning sessions.
  • The best wheel cleaners are those that work quickly to penetrate and remove rust and grime, even with minimal scrubbing.
Best Wheel Cleaner
Turtle Wax T-18 All Wheel and Tire Cleaner

A low-cost, heavy-duty tire cleaner that outperforms the competition.

Best for Custom Wheels
Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner

A powerful cleaner safe for custom-painted tires.

Best Value
Chemical Guys Diablo Gel

A concentrated cleaning gel that can be cost-effective.

Check Price
Best For Bulk Purchasing
Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner

A high-powered, color- changing cleaner with a strong odor.

Check Price
Best Biodegradable Cleaner
WeatherTech TechCare Wheel Cleaner

A fast-acting wheel and tire cleaner that’s biodegradable.

Check Price

What good is a car wash if your wheels are dirty? To have a car that’s clean from top to bottom, it’s important to invest in the best wheel cleaner you can find. The best wheel cleaner depends partially on the types of wheels you’re trying to clean. The most powerful cleaners are good at removing rust, brake dust, and the most stubborn dirt, but they can also remove paint and chrome if you’re not careful.

 


 

Wheel Cleaner Reviews

Five of the best wheel cleaners pictured outdoors with other cleaning materials including a water hose.

We tested several of the best wheel cleaners in head-to-head matchups to see which left our wheels the shiniest. We also sorted through Amazon customer reviews to learn how the products performed on other types of tires.

What Is The Best Wheel Cleaner?

We named the Turtle Wax T-18, Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner, Chemical Guys Diablo Gel, Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner, WeatherTech TechCare, and the Duragloss 821 as the best-rated wheel cleaners on the market in 2024.

Brand/ModelCostOverall RatingAward
Turtle Wax T-18$0.38/fl. oz.4.9Best Wheel Cleaner
Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner$0.45/fl. oz.4.6Best for Custom Wheels
Chemical Guys Diablo Gel$1.00/fl. oz. (concentrated solution)4Best Value
Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner$0.90/fl. oz.4Best for Bulk Purchasing
WeatherTech TechCare$0.92/fl. oz.3.9Best Biodegradable Cleaner
Duragloss 821$0.61/fl. oz.3.6Also Consider

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

Wheel Cleaner Ratings: Our Testing Process

Our reviews team ordered several popular wheel cleaners from a variety of brands. After researching customer reviews, looking for cleaners that are known for their results, we ordered the most promising options for testing. We tested products side-by-side, evaluating ease of use, grime penetration, and overall shine. Each wheel cleaner was given a rating out of 5.0 stars based on these criteria.

Learn more about how we tested wheel cleaners here.

1. Turtle Wax T-18 All Wheel And Tire Cleaner: Best Wheel Cleaner

The Turtle Wax Wheel & Tire Cleaner.

  • Cost: $0.38/fl. oz.
  • Amazon review score: 4.5 out of 5.0 based on more than 5,200 ratings
  • Available sizes: 23.0 fl. oz. single bottle, 23.0 fl. oz. 6-pack

Turtle Wax T-18 Review

The Turtle T-18 All Wheel and Tire Cleaner was the cheapest and best-performing wheel cleaner we tested. This biodegradable formula penetrates grime and provides a like-new shine. We think it’s the best option for most drivers, though it may not be ideal for those with custom-painted (or non-aluminum) wheels.

You can see how the Turtle Wax T-18 performed in each of our testing categories below: 

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use5.0
Grime Penetration4.5
Overall Shine5.0
Value5.0
Overall Rating4.9

Turtle Wax T-18: Our Experience

We compared the foaming Turtle Wax T-18 wheel cleaner head-to-head with Meguiar’s and Adam’s Polishes wheel cleaners. In both tests, Turtle Wax T-18 removed noticeably more caked-in dirt from the wheel than the competitors.

The Turtle Wax formula is also fast-acting, so you only need to wait about 30 seconds after application before scrubbing and rinsing.

A wheel cleaned by Turtle Wax T-18 wheel cleaner, Meguiar’s, and Adam’s Polishes wheel cleaner for comparison.

Turtle Wax T-18: What Customers Are Saying

Like us, most customers are surprised at how well this low-cost tire cleaner performs.

“This is seriously the greatest stuff. I use a regular tire cleaner that they offer at the car washing place I go to, and it’s OK, but this stuff works almost instantly. You can see the rust and dirt just come out.” – Holly & Nicole

If there is an issue with the Turtle Wax T-18, it’s that it works too well. Some customers say that while it removes grime and brake dust, it can also deteriorate custom paint jobs.

“It did remove the brake dust deposits/discolorations on the aluminum wheels on my SUV without any issues. However, on my truck that has [silver-painted] metal wheels, it did discolor the rim and left it blotchy.” – S.

If you’re cleaning factory standard tires and aluminum wheels, Turtle Wax may be your best bet because it performs at a high level and is relatively inexpensive.

2. Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner: Best For Custom Wheels

The Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner.

  • Cost: $0.45/fl. oz.
  • Amazon review score: 4.5 out of 5.0 based on more than 2,800 ratings
  • Available sizes: 24.0 fl. oz., 32.0 fl. oz.

Meguiars Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Review

Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner is acid-free and pH-neutral, making it safe to use not only on aluminum wheels but also on custom-painted rims. The spray changes color as it works and has a pleasant aroma.

You can see how the Meguiar’s Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.5
Grime Penetration4.5
Overall Shine5.0
Value4.5
Overall Rating4.6

Meguiars Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner: Our Experience

This was the second most effective tire cleaner we tested (left side of tire pictured below). It didn’t work quite as well as the Turtle Wax (right side), but this foaming wheel cleaner appeared to provide a like-new shine better than any of the other cleaners.

A wheel that was cleaned by the Meguiar's Wheel Cleaner (left) in comparison to the Turtle Wax cleaner (right).

Meguiars Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner: What Customers Are Saying

Most reviewers note how well Meguiar’s works, even without scrubbing. While we used a cleaning brush during our test, many reported that simply spraying and washing was enough to fully clean their wheels.

“This product, in my experience, takes a lot of the ‘elbow’ out of the ‘elbow grease’ equation. Just spray on the wheels and let it do all the work.” – RtDK

A few customers mentioned issues if you leave the spray on too long before rinsing.

“Used as directed and left a sticky goo on my rims.” – Max  M.

Other negative reviews claim the product didn’t effectively clean their wheels, but this is counter to our experience and the vast majority of other reviewers on Amazon.

3. Chemical Guys Diablo Gel: Best Value

The Chemical Guys Diablo Gel wheel cleaner.

  • Cost: $1.00/fl. oz.
  • Amazon review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on more than 6,100 ratings
  • Available Sizes: 16.0 fl. oz., 128.0 fl. oz.

Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Review

Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Wheel Cleaner is sold in a concentrated form, making it effectively the cheapest wheel cleaner we tested. While the gel costs around $1.00 an ounce, the instructions require that you mix it with water before using at a ratio of 1:3. So you ultimately pay around $0.33 cents per ounce of cleaning fluid (less if you purchase by the gallon or half gallon). Some customers even report effective results after mixing the gel at a ratio of 1:6.

Diablo Gel is pH-balanced, and the manufacturer claims it’s safe for powder-coated and chrome wheels. You can see how the Chemical Guys Diablo Gel performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use3.0
Grime Penetration4.0
Overall Shine4.0
Value5.0
Overall Rating4.0

Chemical Guys Diablo Gel: Our Experience

Diablo Gel works and can remove almost all grime, while providing a pleasing shine. However, it doesn’t produce the results of some other top-rated cleaners cleaners. On our especially rusted wheels, it took two passes with the Chemical Guys Diablo Gel to remove the thickest rust. Still, the product was effective, especially for the cost.

A side by side comparison of a wheel that was cleaned by Adam's Polishes (left) and Chemical Guys Diablo Gel (right).

Chemical Guys Diablo Gel: What Customers Are Saying

The most powerful wheel cleaners dissolve brake dust even without agitation. Based on our experience and customer reviews, you’ll need to scrub a bit to clean your tires with Diablo Gel. However, this product is considerably less caustic than other wheel cleaners and represents a solid choice for custom wheels.

“Absolutely amazing product. This stuff is hands-down the best wheel/brakes/suspension cleaner out there that is 100 percent safe for all finishes and waxes/sealants.” – Thumper

If looking for a more powerful formula, you might find Diablo Gel disappointing.

“My Armor All works insanely better for the price at cleaning wheels and tires. That being said, [Armor All] has a tendency to eat away at the finish of my old Toyota wheels. So yes, the Diablo Gel is not as good but [is] a less harsh cleaner.” – David

4. Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner: Best For Bulk Purchasing

The Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner.

  • Cost: $0.90/fl. oz.
  • Amazon review score: 4.5 out of 5.0 based on more than 5,000 ratings
  • Available sizes: 16.0 fl. oz, 128.0 fl. oz., 640.0 fl. oz.

Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner Review

Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner is another acid-free, pH-balanced wheel cleaner that should be able to dissolve grime while leaving your wheels intact. Designed for use by detailing professionals, Adam’s Polishes is available in a 16.0-ounce spray bottle or 5.0-gallon container (buying the latter greatly reduces the cost per ounce).

You can see how the Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner performed in each of our testing categories below: 

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.0
Grime Penetration4.0
Overall Shine4.5
Value3.5
Overall Rating4.0

Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner: Our Experience

Adam’s Polishes (left side of tire pictured below) performed similarly to Turtle Wax and Meguiar’s. While it didn’t quite beat out Turtle Wax in a matchup, it was a close comparison. This is one of the few sprays that experienced color changing as it worked, which is a handy indicator of when it’s time to wash the cleaner off.

One feature of Adam’s Polishes that stood out is the odor, which was much stronger than the other wheel cleaners we tested. It smells very strongly of artificial cherry – not a terrible smell but something some consumers may find unpleasant.

A wheel that was cleaned by the Adam's Polishes wheel cleaner (left side).

Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner: What Customers Are Saying

Most reviewers corroborate our experience: Adam’s Polishes works really well, but it doesn’t smell very good.

“[Adam’s Polishes] wheel cleaner is good enough to react with the iron particles on the caliper and loosen them to the point it can be sprayed right off, with little to no agitation only if you use a pressure washer with a 40-or-less degree nozzle.” –Bilal F.

While the smell is certainly pronounced, we didn’t find it that unpleasant, and some reviewers even liked it. However, it does not smell like something you want to inhale, so be sure to wear a mask when using any chemicals, including Adam’s Polishes.

Adam’s Polishes wheel cleaner is designed to only remove rust and brake dust while keeping your paint and exteriors intact. However, at least one user says this product damaged his chrome tires.

“This stuff pretty much etched the finish and ate the finish off the center caps. I’ll give 2 stars because it did remove the brake dust, but I’m deducting 3 because it took the chrome with it.” – Second Nature Customs

5. WeatherTech TechCare Wheel Cleaner: Best Biodegradable Cleaner

Product shot of a spray bottle of WeatherTech TechCare Leather Conditioner

  • Cost: $0.92/fl. oz.
  • Amazon review score: 3.9 out of 5.0 based on more than 15 reviews
  • Available sizes: 18.0 fl. oz.

WeatherTech TechCare Wheel Cleaner Review

WeatherTech TechCare offers two wheel cleaners, an acid-free wheel cleaner, and a heavy-duty wheel cleaner. We tested the acid-free wheel cleaner and it worked very well to remove dirt and grim without much scrubbing. While a little more expensive than other cleaners, this product is biodegradable as well as acid-free. It is safe to use on any tire and works quickly.

You can see how the WeatherTech TechCare wheel cleaner performed in each of our testing categories below: 

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.5
Grime Penetration3.5
Overall Shine4.0
Value3.5
Overall Rating3.9

WeatherTech TechCare Wheel Cleaner: Our Experience

The TechCare wheel cleaner works quickly and effectively. The foaming action began immediately upon application and it allowed us to easily remove the dirt and brake dust that coated the tire of our test vehicle.

The formula is virtually odor-free and so may be an excellent choice for those sensitive to chemicals. We noticed no streaking when we polished the wheel after applying the TechCare cleaner.

By its nature, the WeatherTech wheel cleaner is less corrosive than other options. This makes it safer to use (for the user and the environment) but also limits its ability to destroy the thickest grimes. It worked perfectly on our test vehicle, but may not have quite the cleaning ability of Turtle Wax or Meguiar’s products.

WeatherTech TechCare Wheel Cleaner: What Customers Are Saying

There are fewer than 20 ratings for the WeatherTech TechCare acid-free tire cleaner on Amazon and even fewer ratings on RealTruck. Those who have bothered to write reviews of the product say that it works great and they are pleased with their purchase.

6. Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner

The Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner.

  • Cost: $0.61/fl. oz.
  • Amazon review score: 4.4 out of 5.0 based on more than 40 ratings
  • Available sizes: 22.0 fl. oz., 128.0 fl. oz.

Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner Review

Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner is formulated for use on any type of wheel, including painted, polished, or clear-coated metals. This cleaner is one of the costlier products but may require more effort to fully remove deeply embedded grime.

You can see how the Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner performed in each of our testing categories below: 

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use3.5
Grime Penetration3.5
Overall Shine3.5
Value4.0
Overall Rating3.6

Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner: Our Experience

While we found Duragloss 821 to be less effective than the other cleaners on this list, it still did a decent job restoring shine in our test tire despite not fully removing the thickest rust in a single pass. Though the product is less caustic to rust, it’s safer for the finish of your wheel.

An image of a wheel that was cleaned by the Duragloss wheel cleaner (left) in comparison to Adam's Polishes wheel cleaner (right).

Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner: What Customers Are Saying

This is the least-reviewed of the cleaners we tested, but customer reviews are mostly positive. Several note that Duragloss 821 is effective and safe.

“Over the years, we have tried a number of wheel cleaning products. This is the best we have found, and we have used it exclusively for the last 10 to 12 years.” – Curt

Duragloss 821 has few negative reviews, but we believe the product doesn’t work as well as advertised.

“It’s nothing special, which is somewhat disappointing, as Duragloss products are very good.” – Airgas1998

 


 

Other Best-Selling Wheel Cleaners

There are more good wheel cleaners out there, and you may need to try more options to find your favorite. While we weren’t able to test the following recommendations, they do come highly reviewed on Amazon.

P&S Brake Buster Wheel Cleaner

 P&S Professional Detail Products - Brake Buster Wheel and Tire Cleaner - Non-Acid Formula Safe For All Wheel Types

Check Price

Cost: $0.27/fl. oz.

Sold by the gallon, this heavy-duty wheel cleaner can take care of grease, dust, you name it. Brake Buster is acid-free and safe for use on nearly any type of tire. Many on Amazon are impressed with how well this cleaner works, even with little scrubbing.

Black Magic No Scrub Wheel Cleaner

Black Magic BM41023 No No Scrub Wheel Cleaner, 23 Fluid Ounces
Check Price

Cost: $0.25/fl. oz.

Black Magic offers a low-cost, spray-on wheel cleaner that doesn’t require scrubbing. Many Amazon reviewers are surprised that this cleaner actually works without scrubbing, but that appears to be the case. Nearly all reviewers think this cleaner is $5 well spent.

 


 

Wheel Cleaner Buying Guide

The main things to consider when purchasing a wheel cleaner are price and function. The best wheel cleaner can easily remove brake dust and road grime, leaving clean wheels that sparkle like new.

However, even with the best wheel cleaners, you must take certain considerations into account. For example, some wheel cleaners are PH-balanced and specifically designed for custom wheels and paint jobs. Also, the most effective wheel cleaners for aluminum wheels may eat through paint. Be sure you select a wheel cleaner that’s right for your rims.

You might also consider how much wheel cleaner you use. The best choice for an automotive detailer may not be the best option for someone who only occasionally cleans the wheels of their vehicle. Some wheel cleaners are available in bulk quantities or as concentrated gels and you must mix them with water before use.

 


 

Best Wheel Cleaners: Bottom Line

Wheel and tire cleaners are part of the car detailing kit that usually sees the most grime. Everything from dirt, break dust, and every other contaminant on the street works its way onto tires and rims. For car care enthusiasts, the Turtle Wax T-18 or the Chemical Guys Diablo Gel should work as great cleaning options. Overall, we think the following are the top wheel cleaners in 2024:

  1. Best Wheel Cleaner: Turtle Wax T-18 All Wheel And Tire Cleaner
  2. Best for Custom Wheels: Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner
  3. Best Value: Chemical Guys Diablo Gel
  4. Best for Bulk Purchasing: Adam’s Polishes Wheel Cleaner
  5. Best Biodegradable Cleaner: WeatherTech TechCare
  6. Also Consider: Duragloss 821 All Wheel Cleaner

 


 

Wheel Cleaners: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about wheel cleaners:

 


 

Full Wheel Cleaner Testing Methodology

Five of the best wheel cleaners as tested and reviewed by our auto product team.

We tested wheel cleaners by applying them to dirty tires according to the included instructions. We used a scrubbing brush to agitate the tires and took note of ease of use, grime penetration, and overall shine produced.

Many of these wheel cleaners were tested head-to-head on the same tire, applying each product to half of the wheel for a direct comparison. After each test, it was easy to rate cleaner performance side-by-side.

The WeatherTech TechCare acid-free wheel cleaner was tested separately from the five other cleaners in this list in order to update and expand our recommendations. While we were not able to use it on the same tire as any other wheel cleaners on this list, we did test it under similar conditions as the other cleaners and found it to be worthy of recommendation based on our experience.

Ease of Use

Our ease of use rating is based on the amount of time and effort it takes to apply a wheel cleaner. Spray-on wheel cleaners that require little agitation to work effectively score best in this category.

Grime Penetration

Grime penetration is a score of how well a wheel cleaner removes caked-in dirt and rust. Wheel cleaners able to remove thick rust with the least amount of agitation score best in this category.

Overall Shine

Our overall shine score is based a wheel cleaner’s ability to produce a lustrous wheel shine. Those able to restore wheels to like-new appearance score best in this category.

Value

Our value score is based on the cost of a cleaner relative to its performance in other categories. Wheel cleaners with the lowest cost per ounce that also produce satisfactory results score best in this category.

How We Score Products

Every wheel cleaner we test is given a score between 1.0 and 5.0 stars in each category. Here’s what those star ratings mean in concrete terms:

5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating means a wheel cleaner is among the best in a category.

  • Ease of use: The wheel cleaner sprays on and requires nearly no agitation. It works with a single application.
  • Grime penetration: The wheel cleaner removes all dirt and rust with little agitation
  • Overall shine: The wheel cleaner restores wheels to a like-new appearance
  • Value: The wheel cleaner is effective and costs less than $0.40 an ounce.

4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating means a wheel cleaner performs better than average in a category.

  • Ease of use: The wheel cleaner sprays on and requires some agitation. It works with a single application.
  • Grime penetration: The wheel cleaner removes all dirt and rust but may require some or significant agitation.
  • Overall shine: The wheel cleaner restores wheels to a fine appearance, but not like-new.
  • Value: The wheel cleaner is effective and costs less than $0.70 an ounce.

3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating indicates what is average or typical for a wheel cleaner, based on our testing experience.

  • Ease of use: The wheel cleaner requires two applications to produce results on heavily soiled tires.
  • Grime penetration: The wheel cleaner removes most but not all dirt and rust.
  • Overall shine: The wheel cleaner improves shine.
  • Value: The wheel cleaner is effective and costs less than $1.00 an ounce.

2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating indicates the product performs poorer than the average wheel cleaner.

  • Ease of use: The wheel cleaner requires three or more applications to produce results.
  • Grime penetration: The wheel cleaner fails to remove most dirt and rust.
  • Overall shine: THe wheel cleaner does not improve tire shine.
  • Value: The wheel cleaner is not very effective and costs around $1.00 an ounce.

1.0 Star: A 1.0-star rating indicates that the wheel cleaner performs well below expectations in a category.

  • Ease of use: The wheel cleaner should not be used without training and special equipment.
  • Grime penetration: The wheel cleaner is incapable of removing rust.
  • Overall shine: Applying the wheel cleaner reduces tire shine
  • Value: The wheel cleaner is ineffective and costs more than $2.00 an ounce.

Why Trust Motor1.com

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

 

*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.