The 9 Best Wheel & Tire Cleaners for Car Detailing

The 9 Best Wheel & Tire Cleaners for Car Detailing

If we were to think of the most commonly used car detailing products the first thing to come to mind is car shampoos but in a close second is wheel and tire cleaners. When you are doing a complete detail or a maintenance wash you most likely are scrubbing tires and cleaning wheels. 

Wheels and tires are possibly the filthiest part of a car with all of the road grime, brake dust, and other contaminants they collect as the miles build up. For this reason using an effective cleaner to remove tire blooming and dirt and cleaning the faces and barrels of wheels is imperative. Not only do you want a wheel & tire cleaner that works well but is also cost effective and efficient. We have tested dozens of wheel and tire cleaners over the years and in today's detailing world there are several that stand out. We don't recommend most of these cleaners on raw aluminum wheels as they can be damaged from the potent chemicals. Please read the manufacturers directions and recommendations before using and going wild. Another caveat is none of these tire and wheel cleaners contain an iron remover as that is another list for another day.

What to look for in a wheel and tire cleaner?

With so many products on the market it is a good idea to look for a wheel and tire cleaner that can be diluted and if you are like us we really enjoy cleaners that foam up well. Diluting your products is a great way to get more for your money but also it allows you to control how powerful the cleaning ability is in your sprayer. Full strength wheel and tire cleaners can be overkill and waste more product than what is need costing you money. 

We prefer wheel and tire cleaners that foam well as they cling to the wheel and tire much better than a normal spray that is runnier. This clinging ability helps breakdown brake dust and dirt much better and is more enjoyable to work with. Using your wheel and tire dilution in a foaming pump sprayer or foam cannon really helps with the cleaning experience, We really enjoy our IK Foam Pro 2 pump sprayers because they foam really well and hold a lot of product.

What is the benefit of using a combination wheel & tire cleaner?

Using a combination cleaner isn't always the best way to do things but in the case of wheels and tires it makes sense. Yes, there are countless cleaning products made just for wheels and other created just for tires but using a 2 in 1 product makes things more efficient and more cost effective. With wheel & tire cleaners getting better and better and with so many options on the market we rarely grab dedicated wheel cleaners or tire cleaners. Combination wheel and tire cleaners can shave 5-10 minutes off of your cleaning process versus having a separate wheel and tire cleaners. This time adds up in a shop setting or mobile business and even in your own driveway. 

Our favorite wheel and tire cleaners for your garage or shop are:


GLOVEBOXRx Wheel & Tire Cleaner

GLOVEBOXRx Wheel & Tire Cleaner 

Price: $16.99 (2-Pack of Refills $10.99 or $5 per bottle)

Size: 16 Ounce bottle with 2 Refill Cartridges

Pros: Perfect dilution, saves space, refillable cartridges that are cost effective and extremely easy to use. Perfect for maintenance cleaning!

Cons: There aren't any but only available from GloveBox! 


Maniac Wheel & Tire Cleaner 

Price: $19.99

Size: 1L

Pros: Highly dilutable and a real powerhouse at 3:1 and smells good for a strong cleaner. Works great in a foam sprayer and in a foam cannon.

Cons: Not available in other sizes, pros will want 5L containers.

Code:  GLOVEBOX20 for 20% off

Adam's Wheel & Tire Cleaner 16 Ounce Bottle

Adam's Wheel & Tire Cleaner

Price: $12.99 - $44.99

Size: 16 Ounces & 1 Gallon

Pros: A great ready to use formula that has fantastic cleaning power and is often on sale.

Cons: Not safe for aluminum wheels that are anodized or polished.

Hyper Foam Wheel Cleaner & Tire Prep

Turtle Wax Hyper Foam Wheel Cleaner & Tire Prep

Price: $11.00 to $30.00

Size: 23 Ounces & 1 Gallon

Pros: A fantastic foaming wheel and tire cleaner that is extremely effective on brake dust and works really well in a foam sprayer or foam cannon. Works really well diluted 1:1 and is hard to beat. The price of this product and availability at local auto parts stores is quite nice.

Cons: The 23 ounce bottle comes with a foam sprayer but uses a lot of product and is much more efficient in a pump sprayer.

Brake Buster Total Wheel Cleaner

P&S Brake Buster

Price: $11.00 - $125.00

Size: 16 Ounces, 32 Ounces, 1 Gallon, 5 Gallon

Pros:  A detailing favorite that is cost friendly but works well and is highly dilutable to stretch more out of it for maintenance cleaning. Foams and cleans well in a pump sprayer and a foam cannon.

Cons: None

Code: GLOVE15 for 15% off

Ethos Total Wheel & Tire Cleaner 16 Ounces

Ethos Total Wheel & Tire Cleaner 

Price: $13.95 - $44.95

Size: 16 Ounces & 1 Gallon

Pros: Ethos did their homework on this product and it does most of the work for you while not requiring a lot of elbow grease. Safe on most wheel types and finishes.

Cons: Not designed for diluting based on the directions.

Shine Supply - Wise Guy Wheel Cleaner - Car Supplies WarehouseShine Supplyacid free wheel cleanerstrong wheel cleanerwheel cleaner

Shine Supply Wise Guy Wheel & Tire Cleaner

Price: $22.00 - $38.00

Size: 16 Ounces & 1 Gallon

Pros: A really potent wheel and tire cleaner that is dilutable and makes cleaning wheels easy.

Cons: The cost of the 16 ounce bottle is steep but it comes with a dilution bottle and allows you to squeeze much more out of it so it actually a fair deal. It is not safe on anodized or polished aluminum wheels.

3D GLW Series Wheel & Tire Cleaner 16 Ounces


3D GLW Wheel & Tire Cleaner

Price: $15.99 to 

Size: 16 Ounces & 64 Ounces

Pros: A well balanced wheel and tire cleaner that works on all wheel finishes.

Cons: Higher priced for 16 ounces and not formulated for diluting. Much more suited for a car enthusiast.

Code: GB15 for 15%


JaxWax HD Wheel & Tire Cleaner 16 Ounce Bottle

JaxWax HD Wheel & Tire Cleaner

Price: $12.95 to $149.95

Size: 16 Ounces, 32 Ounces, 1 Gallon, 5 Gallon

Pros: A great ready to use cleaner that works on all wheel types and is safe on aluminum.

Cons: Not designed for diluting but with many sizes available that is not as big of a deal. We have some good results for maintenance cleaning at 1:1 although that is not stated on the directions.

Code: GB20 for 20% off

What else you should know about wheel & tire cleaning

While we try and test lots of wheel and tire cleaners we know there is more to the story. Often the condition of the wheels and tires will dictate what level of cleaning power you may need as well as the environmental conditions you are working in. We know from experience that cleaning wheels and tires in the winter can be extra work when you are battle road salt. Because of variables like this we often use different dilutions and products to tackle the job. We also like using different brushes and wash mitts for the appropriate wheel finish. Black and matte finish wheels can be subject to swirls and scratches so they may take a little more work from your cleaners than your mechanical cleaning. Finally, we always recommend cleaning wheels that are cool and always test your cleaners before cleaning the entire wheel's surface. This will cut down on accidental damage to sensitive surfaces and will also cut down on headaches and expensive repairs. 

Using a foam cannon or foaming pump sprayer will make your experience that much better so try new things and test new tools. You never know when you will speed up your process and use less product. Happy cleaning, go make those wheel and tires look squeaky clean!