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The best alloy wheel cleaners

  • Clean the dirtiest part of any car
  • Specialist wheel cleaners make cleaning wheels a breeze
  • The best brands discussed, including Autoglym, Bilt Hamber and more

Written by Chris Williams Published: 26 August 2022 Updated: 6 December 2023

If you’re at all serious about keeping your car clean and you enjoy the surprisingly therapeutic process of removing grime, the best alloy wheel cleaner would make a great product to keep your pride and joy sparkling.

Wheels are often the dirtiest part of your car and are constantly subject to both dirt and mud from the world and dust and grime from your brakes. The stuff that comes off your brakes is mostly iron unless you have fancy carbon-ceramic brakes (these are only on serious performance cars, and even then, it’s often a four-figure optional extra). Iron gains a static charge when heated and clings to the wheels in a more determined fashion than regular dirt.

You guessed it; specialised wheel cleaners are better at ridding your wheels of this determined muck than an all-purpose cleaner. At least, the good ones are. Our favourites below are some of the best wheel cleaners you can get.

The best alloy wheel cleaners at a glance:

Editor’s choice: Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best wheel cleaning kit: Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner Complete Kit – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best wheel cleaner for deep cleaning: Pro-Kleen Dragon’s Blood – Buy now from Amazon UK

The best alloy wheel cleaners from the Parkers experts:

Editor's pick

Rrp: £18.20

Price: £17.30
Simply spray it on, wait for the solution to change colour (agitating with a brush if the wheels are heavily soiled), and then rinse it off. The result is beautifully clean alloys in less than five minutes. The Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner has a pH-balanced formula that makes it safe to use on all wheels, even chrome and magnesium rims.


  • pH-balanced
  • Safe for diamond-cut wheels


  • Strong smell
Best wheel cleaning kit

Rrp: £22.99

Price: £17.01
Amazon Amazon Prime
If this is your first time showing your wheels some love, then a cleaning kit should give you everything you need to do a good job. This kit from Autoglym contains two wheel brushes alongside a wheel cleaner spray, the ideal starter kit. The spray contains a blend of biodegradable surfactants, solvents, and alkalis, meaning it's safe for chromed, anodised and polished aluminium wheels.


  • Great starter kit
  • Soft brushes allow access to difficult areas


  • Still requires some effort for best results
Best wheel cleaner for deep cleaning
Price: £34.95
The name Dragon's Blood sounds dramatic, and it looks equally striking too. An iron fallout remover reacts with brake dust to turn your alloys bright purple. Then, you simply rinse them clean with water. This five-litre product is great value and pH neutral, making it safe for all types of wheels. A word of warning, though: it doesn't smell pleasant. 'Be prepared for a smell you'll never forget!' says maker Pro-Kleen. Indeed. The package has been updated and now includes a spray bottle for easier application.


  • pH neutral
  • Large quantity


  • Smells dreadful
Best waterless wheel cleaner
Price: £28.99
A wonderful 2-in-1 product. It cleans wheels and shines tyres without the need for water, so is ideal for a spruce-up away from home. Just spray it on, then wipe your wheels clean. It even offers UV protection to shield them from sunlight. The Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless cleaner isn't suitable for very dirty alloys, but it is suitable for all wheel types, and we love how quick and convenient it is.


  • No water required
  • Quick and easy


  • Not good for heavily soiled alloys
Best wheel cleaner mousse

Rrp: £12.99

Price: £8.30
Mousse is both a delicious dessert and an effective way to clean your car's alloys thanks to this product from Autoglym (need we say don't eat it?). A neutral pH level means it's safe for all wheel types, and thanks to the foam's expanding nature, it sticks to the alloys with ease. The foam will even turn red when it's time to agitate it with an alloy wheel brush. A nice lemon scent is a nice bonus.


  • Turns red when it's time to agitate
  • Easy to apply


  • Spray nozzle can clog
Best wheel cleaner for chrome wheels
Another Meguiar product, this time for polished alloys. Its pH-balanced Mirror Bright cleaner also works on painted and aluminium alloys, but those with shiny wheels (the kind you can see your face in) should get the best results. The gentle formula dissolves brake dust, allowing you to rinse it away.


  • Gentle on all wheel types
  • Great results


  • Not so good for tougher stains
Best simple wheel cleaner

Rrp: £13.82

Price: £12.99
Amazon Amazon Prime
Autoglym has been around since 1965 and holds two royal warrants. Clean Wheels is an acid formula, so isn't suited to chrome or anodised wheels, but it does a sterling job on everything else, even plastic wheel trims. Spray it on, agitate with a brush and then rinse it off. The job takes minutes and will leave your car looking refreshed.


  • Easy to use
  • Quick results


  • Not suitable for chrome or anodised wheels
Best budget wheel cleaner
Price: £4.25
Amazon Amazon Prime
Alternative Retailers
We recommend the Armor All Wheel & Tire Cleaner to those who will clean their car's wheels from time to time and would rather not spend too much on it. Granted, it doesn't offer quite the impressive cleaning power of the Bilt Hamber or Pro-Kleen products, but it does reasonably well. If what you're after is a great price and something that cleans your wheels (of all types) to a good standard, this is for you.


  • Good value
  • Works on all types of wheels


  • Not as impressive as some others

What to consider when choosing a car alloy wheel cleaner

Budget: Prices vary widely, although you don’t need to spend a lot for good results. You simply need to find the best products. That work has gladly been done for you by us.

Frequency: If you address the cleanliness of your wheels every once in a while, you may need a more intensive cleaner. A dedicated fallout remover may be extreme and smell appalling, but it cannot be beaten for deep-cleaning alloys.

Are your wheels chromed or anodised? If so, choose a pH-neutral product that won’t damage their delicate surface. Each cleaner advises what types of wheels they are suitable for.

For heavily soiled wheels: Use a wheel brush to scrub with in order to loosen and remove any particularly stubborn grime.

Don’t neglect the tyres: Sparkling wheels can be ruined by filthy tyres. A dedicated tyre cleaner is one option to keep your tyres black.

To protect your hard work: You can apply a wheel sealant or protector to the wheels after having cleaned them. The best of these products make it harder for brake dust and road grime to stick and accumulate on your wheels. Depending on the product, they can last from a matter of weeks to even a year or more.

Chris Williams is a Commercial Content Writer at Bauer Media and writes across multiple brands such as CAR, Parkers, and Live For The Outdoors.

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