Best Wheel Cleaning Brushes: Wheely Clean

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best Wheel Cleaning Brushes

If you tend to skip over our DIY post weeks, perhaps this one will be more to your liking. While not everyone wants or has the space to wrench on their own ride, there’s a solid chance that most gearheads like to have a few cleaning tools on hand.

Attacking your car’s wheels with a general use brush isn’t the best of ideas; they may contain bristles stiff enough to cause scratches. Also, that brush may have held some dirt from the last time you used it on … something. The best solution is to pick up a specific wheel cleaning brush and keep it reserved for hoop duty.

We’ll recommend a few in this post that require the use of a power tool but in the interest of trying to include every gearhead we will also feature some handheld options as well. After all, the only grease you should have on your wheels is of the elbow variety.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Griot's Garage Micro Fiber Wheel Wand

This two-pack of brushes feature a microfiber brush head that's just the ticket for getting in and around the intricacies of some wheel designs. In fact, they would have been fabulous for the turbine-style wheels on your author's 1989 Lincoln Mark VII, a remnant from this site's Panther Love days that only a few long-time readers will remember.

These brush heads attached by ultrasonic welding which is likely a common practice in reality but nevertheless sounds very cool. At least there's little chance of it detaching during a vigorous cleaning session and scratching up your car's wheels.

Pros

  • Respected brand name, compact size

Cons

  • Some complaints about handle quality

Bottom Line

  • Tuck a couple in your detail kit

2. Mothers PowerCone 360 Metal Polishing Tool

Here is a tool that isn't specifically marketed as a wheel cleaner but can certainly be used as one. Its patented spherical cone extends polishing ability and effective surface area, proving the point that companies - even ones singularly focused on a particular sliver of the car world - benefit from an R&D budget.

Mother's says this tool shines a wide range of automotive surfaces including billet, chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum. In other words, most of the stuff of which wheels are made. A quick swap bit permits easy and fast installation into the power drill of your choice

Pros

  • Thoughtful design, easy-to-use

Cons

  • Drill not included

Bottom Line

  • Saves yer elbow grease

3. Chemical Guys Short Handle Wheel & Tire Brush

Not every wheel brush needs to be a long and thin unit or one that is mounted on the end of a power drill. This cleaning tool blends old-school design with modern technology from a company that knows what they're doing when it comes to car care.

Feathered ends of bristles are said to deliver a safe and gentle cleaning to your car's wheels, removing caked-on grime and grease from those filthy and disgusting hoops. A heavy-duty non-slip handle offers a good gripping surface while the large brushing area should make quick work of wheel surfaces.

Pros

  • Big brush surface, tapered bristles

Cons

  • Difficult to get in small areas

Bottom Line

  • Pairs well with fine detail tools

4. Adam's Wheel Brush – Car Detailing Brush

Yeah, this brush is markedly similar to the green one listed above from Chemical Guys. But there are a few key differences - and we're not just talking about the color. This one apparently has a bit of a shorter handle for better scrubbing. The specs bear that out, with this brush measuring just 8 inches from tip to tail, about 1.5 inches shorter than the other brush.

It's also double the price, so judge yourself accordingly in that arena. There are only about two dozen reviews for this product; most of them are highly complementary. Adding an extra dose of internet security is the fact that shoppers are directed right to an Adam's Polishes store instead of a third-party reseller.

Pros

  • Great brand name, zomg it's red

Cons

  • More expensive than similar brushes

Bottom Line

  • Premium price for a premium product

5. Brush Hero Wheel Brushing Set

If you have multiple surfaces of different toughness to clean, then the crew at Brush Hero asserts that their multi-brush set fits the bill. Their smaller packages come with just one replacement brush but this set includes three, all of which serve a different function.

A soft black brush is good for sensitive surfaces, while a tough white brush is better for serious muck. There is an even tougher blue brush for the most resistant stains and a tall black navigator brush for those hard to reach spots. No batteries or electricity required: the Brush Hero connects to a garden hose and is powered by water pressure alone.

Pros

  • Works on water pressure, quartet of brushes

Cons

  • Proprietary system means Brush Hero replacement costs

Bottom Line

  • A unique take on an old problem

6. SPTA Wheel & Tire Brush Car Detailing Kit

This option is surely in the off-brand corner but it seems to have good ratings from real-world customers. The kit includes nine different items for a reasonable price. The main star is a 15-inch bendable brush that looks for all the world like those long-reach dusters they sell on the shopping channel. There is also a short handle brush with a large face.

Also included are five detail brushes of varying sizes, good for farking crud out of the wheel’s lug nuts areas and other intricate space. Rounding out the set is a brush intended not for wheels but for the A/C vents in a car's cabin. A microfiber towel is tossed in for good measure.

Pros

  • Nine piece set, affordable

Cons

  • Some reports of janky brush quality

Bottom Line

  • One can rarely have too many detailing tools

7. Takavu Master Wheel Brush

This is essentially the long brush from the kit listed just prior, complete with polypropylene bristles and an easy-grip handle. It is about half the length, though, so the seller promotes it as a wheel cleaner for motorcycles or other thin-rimmed rides (the back tire on a superbike doesn't count, pedants).

Still, this brush will make for a good cleaning tool, needing just a bucket of hot water and your favorite automotive cleaner to go to work. A hilariously named 'rubber ring protector' means you can clean your car's wheels with wild abandon without worrying about hitting your knuckles on bare metal.

Pros

  • Just a brush and nothing more

Cons

  • What's that brand again?

Bottom Line

  • Basically a giant pipe cleaner

8. Woollywormit Wheel Brush

Slightly inappropriate (or hilarious - your choice) brand name aside, this product offers a lot in a small package. The main item is a 13 inch long flexible microfiber-covered brush designed to fit between wheel spokes and openings. This will permit cleaning more than just the surface of a wheel.

Also included? Little microfiber nubbins to get in those pesky lug nut areas. In fact, the seller claims this is the only patented wheel brush with an integrated lug nut cleaner. Every package includes two different-sized lug nut cleaners, each of which comes with 4 cleaning sponges. This is serious OCD-level stuff, folks.

Pros

  • Great for fine detail work, lots of attachments

Cons

  • You're done for if your buddies find out

Bottom Line

  • A bit over the top but who cares?

What is the best wheel cleaning brush?

Any brush with soft bristles and a bendable stem that enables you to reach the extreme inner and/or narrow areas of the wheels can be considered a good one. A few examples include:

EZ Detail Brush Big ( Buy here!)

Speed Master Wheel Brush ( Buy here!)

Chemical Guys ACC_G08 ( Buy here!)

EZ Detail Brush Little ( Buy here!)

In addition, you may have your preferences about the brands that you trust the most. You can use soft brushes manufactured by them to keep the wheels of your car clean without hurting their cosmetics.

Can you use a brush to clean rims?

Yes, you can, as long as you use the correct one to get the job done. Because the rims remain behind the front cover of your tires, they are hard to reach when it comes to cleaning. Therefore, you must use a brush with the following characteristics:

Bristles – The brush should have ultra-soft bristles with feather-soft tips to protect the wheels from any scratch marks

Stem – The stem of the brush should be flexible so it can be bent to reach the areas that are not easily accessible

Stem-Tip – The tip of the stem should be covered with a soft material, preferably vinyl plastic, so it doesn’t harm the rims while cleaning

Knuckle Guard – To protect your hands from getting hurt while cleaning the extreme inner parts of the rims

A couple of recommendations that can check the above boxes include:

EZ Detail Brush Big ( Buy here!)

Speed Master Wheel Brush ( Buy here!)

Do brushes scratch rims?

Yes, they can if you use the hard ones. To elaborate, a complete wheel is an assembly of multiple parts such as alloy fronts, inner barrels, rims, and rubber tires. Therefore, using the correct brush to clean the rims is extremely important to avoid any scratches. A suggestion that might help you in this is as follows:

EZ Detail Brush Little ( Buy here!)

With a decent number of positive reviews on Amazon, this brush is ideal for cleaning most parts of the wheel assembly of a vehicle. Because the brush is small in size and has a bendable stem and a knuckle guard, it enables you to clean the extreme inner and narrow areas of your car wheels like its rims, inner barrels, etc.

What is the best thing to clean alloy wheels with?

It is advisable to use a dedicated non-acidic alloy wheel cleaner such as:

Sonax Wheel Cleaner Full Effect ( Buy here!)

Wolfgang Tire and Wheel Cleaner ( https://www.wolfgangcarcare.com/wg4600.html)

P215 Wheel Cleaners

In addition to these, you must also use an ultra-soft brush so the coating and shine of the wheels don’t get damaged. It is imperative to understand that cleaning alloy wheels is a multi-step process, and the procedure is given below for your convenience:

Note: The professionals suggest that you should clean one wheel of your car at a time.

Step 1: Rinse the wheel. It is preferred to use a nozzle to apply pressure to get rid of brake dust and dirt.

Step 2: Apply a non-acidic alloy wheel cleaner. For this part, you can choose any from those suggested above, or get your preferred one online or from the nearest store.

Step 3: Use a soft brush such as Chemical Guys ACC_G08 ( Buy here!) to gently clean the front coating of the alloy wheel.

Step 4: Use a lug nut cleaning brush such as Recessed Wheel Lug Nut Cleaning & Polishing Brush ( https://www.wolfgangcarcare.com/corvette-lug-nut-brush.html) to clean the lug nuts.

Step 5: Use a soft wheel cleaning gel such as BLACKFIRE Tire & Wheel Cleaner ( https://www.blackfirewax.com/blackfire-tire-cleaner.html) gel to clean the tire wells.

Step 6: Rinse the wheel and all its parts.

Step 7: Use a soft microfiber cloth such as Microfiber All Purpose and Wheel Detailing Towel ( https://www.wolfgangcarcare.com/microfiber-wheel-towel.html) to dry the wheels and get rid of the water droplets and other such unwanted elements.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: Aleksandr Kondratov/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

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2 of 13 comments
  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Apr 10, 2021

    I remember

  • SavageATL SavageATL on Apr 12, 2021

    I have never tried it for cleaning wheels, but that mother's power cone thing is the best thing ever made for polishing silver. I have enormous quantities of silver and it gets in to all the nooks and crannies of finely detailed silver. Messy, but removed tarnish quickly and effectively like nothing else.

  • JMII Wonder what the Hyundai version will look like because I am NOT a fan of this styling.Also someone needs to explain to H/K/G that you want the dark colored interior parts were you touch/sit and the lighter color parts elsewhere. For example the door panels here are dark with light armrests - this is backwards. Genesis made the same mistake in the GV60's white/ash (grey) interior. While I greatly appreciate something other then the dreaded black cave interior did they not consider how impossible this will be to keep clean in the real world?
  • JMII I see lots of ads for their CUVs but given the competition in this segment why would I buy an Outlander over a similar product from Toyota, Honda or Hyundai? Mitsubishi needs to offer something compelling, some hook or defining difference. I don't think I've encountered a single person who says "wow have you seen the new [blank] from Mitsubishi? I need to get me one of those".I owned a Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T back in '96 and it was fun car. Mitsubishi once made interesting choices with a rally heritage - those cars were fast and pretty high tech at the time. Like Nissan they kind of fell into the we will finance anyone pool so other then an Evo as a track toy anyone I knew steered clear of them.
  • ToolGuy It will be interesting to see how this does.
  • TheMrFreeze Last I looked it wasn't the Gen Z'ers who had money to buy cars (or even have driver's licenses), it's us older folks who, by and large, aren't willing to risk spending that much money on a Chinese car
  • TheMrFreeze Possibly a smart move by their parent company. If they position Mitsubishi here in the US to be a bargain brand, maybe build more low cost cars in places like Thailand (where the Mirage is/was built), they could possibly usurp the low-end segment of the US market the Chinese would have tried to occupy had the 100% tariff not happened. Mitsubishi does have the advantage of at least some brand recognition and an existing dealership network here in the US to start with.
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