The best wheel brushes for a deep clean

Parkers favourite wheel brushes have clever designs to offer effective cleaning without damaging wheels.

Photo: Hidde van Esch

by Ryan Gilmore |

If you've ever driven your car through a muddy field or during the slushy roads of winter, filthy alloys are an inevitability. And sadly they can really bring the look of your car down, especially ground-in mud.

Make your alloys look brand new with a brush designed to make your wheels look fresh. We've found the best brushes on the web as well as some advice to keep your wheels looking fantastic.

Best wheel brushes in detail:

Meguiar's Supreme Microfibre Wheel Brush

Editor's pick
Meguiar's Supreme Microfibre Wheel Brush
Amazon

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The best option for cleaning wheels comes from Meguiar's. This microfibre brush will effectively remove dirt without worrying about damaging the finish of your alloy wheels. A thin (but robust) plastic spine means this brush is the most effective option for navigating intricately designed alloy wheel designs.

It's a sturdy option too, thanks to the plastic construction (which also limits the chance of scratches) and grippy, comfortable foam handle. Some reviews have noted that the microfibre occasionally can come away which is annoying, but it does appear to be a rare occurrence as Meguiar's are renowned for quality.

Pros Cons
• Top-grade cleaning • Supreme shine demands premium price
• Durable

Autoglym Wheel Brush

Best wheel brush for detailing
Autoglym Wheel Brush
Amazon

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Perfect for those smaller details on your ally wheels, this quality brush from Autoglym features a tapered head that will make removing dirt easy. The bristles are also designed to resist 'mushrooming' over time from too much pressure and are also designed to be resistant to any chemical you may use when cleaning a wheel.

Another fantastic feature is that this brush will preserve your wheels thanks to the lack of metal in its construction. While it may not be the largest brush, as a secondary detailing brush it cannot be beaten and will make your finished wheels look even better.

Pros Cons
• Excellent quality • Not designed for full-wheel cleaning
• Perfect for detailing

Karcher Wheel Rim Brush

Best wheel brush for Karcher pressure washers
Karcher Wheel Rim Brush
Amazon

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A pressure washer is one of those tools that will transform how you wash your car. It unlocks snow foaming, deeper car cleaning and you can even use it to clean your garden. This wheel brush attaches to the end of a Ku00e4rcher K2-K7 series pressure washer and will allow you to effectively wash between your wheel spokes and make full use of your pressure washer.

For removing hardened dirt, nothing will get close to a proper pressure washer attachment like this. The combination of high pressure water and the bristles will have caked on mud removed in an instant. This is the best choice if you're a keen off-roader and your car is utterly filthy.

Pros Cons
• Help with deep-cleaning • You'll need a Karcher pressure washer
• Top-quality construction

The Dustpan and Brush Store 2 In 1 Rubber Hand Brush

2 in 1 cleaning
The Dustpan and Brush Store 2 In 1 Rubber Hand Brush
Amazon

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A very solid option for cleaning wheels, this handheld brush features rubber bristles to clean the alloy without damaging them. This also means they can be cleaned by running the brush under a tap. The entire brush is covered in rubber which makes it safe against delicate alloys and it even features a squeegee blade, perfect for removing condensation.

Tested 2021: "The first thing that strikes you with this brush is the quality. There's a thick layer of rubber encasing every surface which offers great peace of mind as you're cleaning. For lifting embedded dirt there's not much that can get close to how effective this brush is. It may not be the easiest to manoeuvre but it is effective. I also tried this brush on carpet and upholstery (after cleaning the bristles with water) and found it was equally effective at lifting dirt here too. Overall a great brush for your car."

Pros Cons
• Great build quality • Not good for very intricate alloy wheel designs
• Will not damage your wheels

Armor All Luxury Alloy Wheel Brush

Best budget wheel brush
Armor All Luxury Alloy Wheel Brush
Amazon

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If you want a simple but durable wheel brush on a budget then you can't go too far wrong with this option from Armor All. It features robust bristles that will effectively remove dirt and shouldn't scratch your wheels.

The rubber handle is ergonomic and comfortable too. It does feature a central metal spine that can leave nasty scratches on your wheels if you aren't careful but as a budget option, it's still good so long as you take more care.

Pros Cons
• Good value for money • Be wary of the metal in the brush head
• A sturdy option

Amison Wheel Brush

Give those tyres a clean too
Amison Wheel Brush for Car Alloy Wheels and Tyres
Amazon

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Unless you're running a car with massive alloys there's a fair chance you'll have a decently sized sidewall to your tyre that can get filthy over time. Pressure washing is usually enough to remove most dirt but for the best results, this ergonomic brush is ideal. The bristles may not be the softest but for removing dried-in mud without giving your hands cramp, it's a solid choice.

Pros Cons
• Good for cleaning dirty tyres too • Bristles not that soft
• Ergonomic handle

What you need to know about wheel brushes:

The alloy wheel of a BMW 6 Series (E24)
©Photo: Julian Hochgesang

What features should I look for in a good wheel brush?

The best wheel brushes differ slightly from regular brushes for cars will avoid exposed metal because metal can leave nasty scratches on your freshly cleaned alloys.

Also, consider what alloy wheels you have. If the design is particularly intricate it's best to look at getting a detailing brush with a tapered head so you can get into those hard-to-reach areas. These can also be used for cleaning your car's grille, once the brush has been cleaned, of course.

How should I clean my wheels?

  1. Wash your alloys using either a hose or a pressure washer to remove larger bits of dirt. If you're wanting to take your cleaning further use some snow foam.
  1. Apply some alloy wheel cleaner to your wheels as directed.
  1. Use your wheel brush to deeply scrub your alloys removing any ingrained dirt.
  1. Wash off the product and give your wheels a final rinse.
  1. Use a microfibre towel to dry your alloys.

If you want to go a step further, have a look at getting some tyre dressing to make your tyres look brand new.

Can I use an alloy wheel brush on non-alloys?

The steel wheel of a white van
©Photo: Getty Images

If you own a car that doesn't feature fancy alloy wheels don't worry, you can use these wheel cleaning brushes. Whether you have plastic wheel trims or bare steelies you can use these brushes in the same way you would alloys to clean away grime.

Why should I bother cleaning my wheels?

It's all too easy to look at your car and think that your wheels don't matter as much as shiny paintwork but this can't be further from the truth. Not only will clean alloys help you rake in some extra cash when it comes to selling your car, but cleaning your wheels will help fight off any risk of corrosion.

Your car's wheels lead a tough life and will get a lot of debris and containments thrown at them as you drive around. Your wheels will come into contact with road salt, grime and water, all of which can cause corrosion if they're not cleaned off.

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