7 Best Wheel Cleaner for Black Wheels [Reviewed in 2021]

When you’re looking for a wheel cleaner, the choice can seem daunting. There are so many brands and types of cleaners on the market that it’s hard to choose which one is right for your needs.

But fear not! We’ve compiled this guide with all the information you need to make an informed decision about what product will work best for your black wheels.

best wheel cleaner for black rims

NAME

IMAGE

OUR RATING

PRICE

Meguiar's G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner

9.5/10

Carfidant Wheel Cleaner Spray Premium Rim & Tire Cleaner

9/10

Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus

9/10

Top 7 Best Wheel Cleaner For Black Wheels:

1. Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner

Meguiar has a reputation for being a bit pricey, but if we’re any judge, the Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner, a safe and fast-acting cleaner, is worth its price several times over!

It delivers the best performance of all the cleaners we checked out, with an immediate effect on brake dust and road grime. It’s not a heavy-duty product, but as long as it hasn’t been weeks since your last time cleaning, it’ll get the dirt off in an instant.

That’s not to say this product wouldn’t work on more neglected rims too, but we think you’ll probably need a paintbrush to agitate the cleaner.

You can safely apply this wheel cleaner to painted brake components and your wheels. The gel turns purple as it dissolves brake dust and can be hosed off without being agitated first.

The Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner is pH-balanced and acid-free, preventing any accidental injuries when you’re trying to clean your expensive rims.

Pros:

  • Available in large quantities of 24 oz. and 32 oz.
  • Doesn’t damage the pristine condition of your wheels
  • Dissolves brake dust easily and quickly
  • The product turns purple after dissolving brake dust, making it easy to see.

Cons:

  • Not a heavy-duty product, so you’ll need more effort for wheels that haven’t been cleaned for a long time.
  • Purple goo needs several rinses to wash off.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

2. Carfidant Wheel Cleaner Spray Premium Rim & Tire Cleaner

The Carfidant Wheel Cleaner is what anybody in a hurry should be looking at. Its cleaning power can give Meguiar a run for its money, but the best part is that it gets the job done quicker and with considerably less effort.

It works on almost all rims and wheel types: painted, aluminum, mag, alloy, chrome, clear coated, and even plastidipped.

We liked that it didn’t just clean brake dust and most of the road grime from wheels. You know those annoying paint marker dots you get on new black wheels? The Carfidant Wheel Cleaner got them right off, and that’s saying something.

From what we saw, you’ll save money with this cleaner, as it’s also something of a tire polisher. It restores a little of the gloss that makes the wheels look almost newly bought.

Instead of scrubbing old grime off, we noticed that if you have a pressure washer, that should take care of it and eliminate any need for scrubbing yourself.

Pros:

  • Extremely fast acting
  • Dye-free formula won’t leave marks on your black rims
  • Strong enough to clean months-old brake dust and road grime
  • Safe for all types of metal wheels
  • No detectable chemical smell to clog up your sinuses

Cons:

  • Like the Meguiar Wheel Cleaner, it isn’t chemically active, so you’ll need a different cleaner for brake dust that has been allowed to sit for years.
  • Needs a little scrubbing after letting the product sit for a couple of minutes to clean stubborn dirt.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

3. Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus

It’s not a spray-and-walk-away solution like the previous two, but the Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus comes in high on our list of wheel cleaners because simply put, it’s a very efficient cleaner sold for a fraction of the price you’ll find higher brands charging.

In practice, the Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus works pretty much like the Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner: it reacts with brake dust and turns bright people. You can rinse it off after that, but we’d recommend taking a brush to it just the same.

This cleaner is safe for application on a wide variety of wheels but works incredibly well for wheels with black or chrome finishes. The pH-balanced formula gets off brake dust quickly, and in most cases, will also clean other contaminants staining your wheels.

We have a special tip for first-time users: apply a wax sealer on your wheels before using this product. This allows you to preserve the finish on the rims while also making it easier to clean the brake dust and grime.

Unless you’ve got fifteen-spoke rims (which need more product), you can clean a set of BMW wheels about three times with one bottle of Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus.

Pros:

  • Cleans thick layers of grime baked onto your wheels over time
  • Extra strength formula is effective for cleaning road dirt
  • Purple goo is easy to rinse off with a hose.
  • An extensive 750ml bottle guarantees multiple uses.

Cons:

  • Deeper grime spots need scrubbing after applying this cleaner
  • Considerably more expensive than other cleaners.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

4. CAR GUYS Wheel Cleaner – Rim and Tire Cleaner

We checked a lot of wheel cleaners for black wheels, but almost none of them performed as well as the CAR GUYS Wheel Cleaner, a professional grade product that, while being a little expensive, provides thorough and hands-free wheel cleaning.

This cleaner is quick and easy to use, being more or less spray-and-walk-away, and gets your caked-on brake dust off in a couple of minutes. You’ll need a spray gun with an open nozzle to get good coverage, but we’d say the investment is worth it.

Surprisingly, you can also dilute the CAR GUYS Wheel Cleaner in a spray bottle, which you usually can’t with most spray cleaners. If you’re a weekend warrior bravely getting the week’s grime off your precious black wheels, you can dilute this product evenly.

Our research says that it’s also one of the few cleaners that don’t leave streaks or white spots on black wheels, which is a nice change.

However, we recommend using a pressure washer with this for the best results, which helps in getting that annoying layer of dirt off your wheels first.

Pros:

  • You can use it on dirty wheels, calipers, rotors, exhaust tips, and old tire dressings.
  • Clings to wheel surfaces for minimal runoff
  • Removes small spots of rust from your wheels
  • Mild smell that won’t stink up your garage
  • Works perfectly on both powder-coated and Plastidipped black wheels

Cons:

  • Runs out pretty quickly, and buying multiple bottles gets expensive.
  • Leaves a gray haze on scrubbing brushes
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

5. Chemical Guys CLD_997_16 Diablo Wheel Gel Concentrated Wheel Cleaner

Available in 16 Fl. Oz., 64 Fl. Oz., and 128 Fl. Oz. quantities, our Chemical Guys pick is the CLD_997_16 Diablo Wheel Gel. It’s not as strong as other Chemical Guys products but instead acts more like a lubricant and car soap for your wheels.

Don’t get us wrong, though. It’s a terrific wheel cleaner that can get most brake dust and road grime off your car, but this cleaner is not strong enough to clean more than a week’s worth of dust.

Instead, we recommend mixing about 5 ounces of the Diablo Wheel Gel into your bucket of water and using another product as your primary wheel cleaner. This helps your brush or scrub stay lubricated and efficiently get the caked-on dirt off.

The bottle says it can be diluted in a six parts water, one-part cleaner ratio, but we thought that was too far. Three parts water and one part cleaner are perfect for most uses, making the bottle last several cleanings.

Pros:

  • Cleans well with a set of soft wheel brushes
  • Low acidic property allows you to clean rims and tires simultaneously
  • Safe for out-of-bottle application on powder-coated rims
  • Will never damage your aftermarket or OEM wheels

Cons:

  • Not concentrated at all, meaning you might need another, more robust wheel cleaner.
  • The low chemical concentration also means this cleaner won’t make your wheels shine.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

6. TriNova Wheel Cleaner Rim Cleaning Spray

It removes unwanted grime, dissolves weeks of brake dust, and brings back the shine to your black wheels, but what made the TriNova Wheel Cleaner so popular with us was its optimally designed formula.

You heard that right: if you have sensitive and, above all, expensive, aftermarket parts, this is the wheel cleaner you should be looking at. It’s gentle to softer metal and can be used on everything from chrome and aluminum to whitewall tires.

A little scrubbing and agitation will be required if you use the TriNova Wheel Cleaner, but instead of hours of scrubbing, a little agitation with a soft wheel brush will do it just fine. When you’re done, rinse with water to get shiny, new-looking rims.

Unlike almost every other listing here, it gives you a lot of product for the price. You won’t need to buy another bottle every week, as it should last you at least three to four cleanings of all four wheels.

We also wanted to mention that this is the best product we tested for chrome-tipped wheels. Like the Carfidant Wheel Cleaner, this heavy-duty cleaner is perfect for wheels that haven’t been cleaned in months.

Pros:

  • The bottle is shipped pre-sealed and capped to prevent spillage.
  • Cleans dirt from between wheel spokes
  • Great for degreasing engine blocks and oily or greasy hoods
  • Dissolves rust on your rims
  • Safe for cleaning tires since it doesn’t contain GBL chemicals

Cons:

  • If you haven’t cleaned your car before applying it, the first application takes a few minutes to sink in.
  • Requires a lot of brushing or scrubbing.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

7. Turtle Wax T-18 All Wheel and Tire Cleaner

A list of car cleaners isn’t complete without a listing from Turtle Wax, a company that has provided staple automotive cleaners for years now. The Turtle Wax T-18 Wheel Cleaner is one of their best products yet and comes in a 23 Fl. Oz. bottle.

It’s a soft, non-corrosive wheel and tire cleaner, so you can use this on anodized wheels without worrying. It also excels at cleaning tires, while most other wheel cleaners require multiple passes to get the grime off tires.

From everything we read about the Turtle Wax T-18, it’s an all-around wheel and tire cleaner. It’s not heavy-duty at all, but it’ll keep road gunk and most brake dust off your wheels and keep your tires clean too.

We did notice a significant downside, though: you need a lot of the cleaner to get brake dust off. This means that a single bottle doesn’t last very long, and you’ll have to buy multiple bottles for larger wheels.

However, it’s an inexpensive product. It’s probably the cheapest wheel and tire cleaner here, so buying multiple bottles isn’t that big of a deal.

Pros:

  • Comest at affordable prices compared to other cleaners
  • It gets most brake dust and road gunk off in a couple of minutes.
  • Excellent for cleaning dirty, dusty tires
  • 23 Fl. Oz. size provides ample liquid for three to four cleanings

Cons:

  • It doesn’t clean the wheels and rims very well.
  • A weaker chemical concentration means if you need a professional grade cleaner, this isn’t the one for you.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Best Wheel Cleaner for Black Wheels Buying Guide

Now that you know what are the best rim cleaners for the black rims of your car, here’s what you need to know when picking the products to clean wheels yourself-

Safe for Rim Color & Protective Coating

The wheel cleaners for black rims will be formulated to protect the color of your wheels, and they won’t damage or strip off any protective coatings you have on them.

It’s also a good idea to use a cleaner that is safe enough for all types of materials in order to avoid damaging materials around the wheels by mistakenly spraying the cleaner on them.

Safe on Tires

Many of the cleaners on the market work great at removing brake dust and exterior materials from your wheels, but it’s important to choose a product that is safe around rubber tire sealant.

This will ensure you don’t accidentally remove this protective layer applied by manufacturers when they put on new tires.

Efficient Cleaning Power

Some wheel cleaners are designed to stop the brake dust from forming, while others actually clean off existing deposits.

Depending on how often you use your car and what conditions it’s exposed to will determine which type of cleaner is best for you.

If you live in a dry area with less salt exposure, choose a product that prevents corrosion along with cleaning rather than one that only removes it.

If you live in a more humid and salty environment, then choosing an effective cleaner will be the best option for your needs. Harsh environments require specialized products rather than an all-in-one spray.

Easy to Use

The best cleaner for black rims will be simple to use and won’t require you to follow a complicated process.

You don’t want to invest in an expensive product that is labor-intensive or has steps involved, as this defeats the purpose of buying a quick-cleaning solution over one which takes time and effort on your end.

Good Value to Money Ratio

Last but not least, you want to make sure that your choice of cleaner for black rims will be worth the investment.

Look at how much product is included in each can or bottle and compare it with other brands on the market to ensure you’re getting good value for your money.

Since these are like groceries that you need regularly, settling in a product that provides a good value to money ratio is the best decision you can take.

Final Verdict

This time, we saw at least a couple of products that grabbed our attention as potential winners. The Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner was the best for quick cleaning wheels. The Turtle Wax T-18 was the most cost-efficient, with the Carfidant Wheel Cleaner Spray coming in first place at an overall combination of affordability and efficiency.

It was tough choosing, but we settled on a winner for the best wheel cleaner for black wheels: The Carfidant Wheel Cleaner Spray!

It gave us the best performance we saw yet, outdoing sterling products like the TriNova Wheel Cleaner and Chemical Guys CLD_997_16 while also being relatively inexpensive.

All in all, if you want a quick recommendation, we’d suggest the Carfidant Wheel Cleaner as a suitable cleaner for your money.

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