Best Wheel Brushes 2020: Group Test | express car (2023)

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You need a decent wheel brush to keep your car rims shiny, but which one to choose?

By:Dave'a Pollarda

May 12, 2020


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If your alloy wheels are up to the job and improve the appearance of your car, they need to be kept clean and the best way to keep them shiny is to use a good cleaner and brush designed for the job. A good brush should be hard enough to clean effectively, but not to the point of damaging the paint finish. But if your wheels are a particularly complex design, you may need to buy two brushes to get to each part.

Most of them have a metal center with bristles attached to them and must be used carefully so as not to scratch the wheels. They vary in size, but the longer brushes make it easier to clean the inside of the wheel.

How we test them

We were looking for brushes for thorough cleaning without damaging the surface of the wheel. Our test feet were 6.5J x 16 with wide and narrow spokes, and we tried to clean up both the inside and outside edge of the wheel. Additional points were earned for this, as well as the ability to clean tight radii and the ability to bypass wheel studs. In addition to the cleaning efficiency, we highlight the good workmanship, the comfort and the extras, such as ankle protection. Convenience has been balanced with the best prices online.


Halfords new large brush is an irresistible product, it's only £4 but packs a punch. And while the much larger barrel brush is more expensive, it also does a good job in most areas. Our previous winner, the Muc-Off Dual Ended Brush, is still an effective product, but it can't withstand this onslaught and repeat its previous victory.

  1. Halfords Large Alloy Wheel Brush
  2. Halfords Round Barrel Brush
  3. Two-ended Muc-Off Brush


Halfords Large Alloy Wheel Brush


Halfords has taken care of the wheel cleaning business, and this version goes straight to the top. Its construction is conventional, with a single rounded center surrounded by stiff bristles, and it's strong enough to handle heavy work, yet still able to squeeze into the tight spokes of our wheel. We also like the sturdy plastic handle, which has helpful rubber inserts along its entire length. The 14cm brush is long enough to reach directly to the inside edge and although there's no knuckle protection, the 17cm handle means you're unlikely to touch your finger.

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Halfords Round Barrel Brush


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Another Halfords bid, but very different to our winner. Including the wooden handle and knuckle guard, this measures 45cm long and a healthy 25cm is the brush itself, both figures being the highest in the test. As befits its name, it is best to clean the inner edge, easily reaching the far edge, where a slight twist removes all dirt. Surprisingly, you can also get into our tight radii for a great clean all around, except for the wheel bolts. But it is a bit expensive.

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Two-ended Muc-Off Brush


The previous Muc-Off winner is still a serious contender for his money, although his price has held steady since the last test, so Halfords Large has an advantage. It's the only one here with two well-bristled tips that can be used together, perfect when you need to apply extra pressure, or split to get into tight radii and tricky places. We like the combination of a plastic handle with rubber inserts and a good thumb grip. It works well but at only 10.5cm long the brush can't reach internal areas as well as some.

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Halfords Alloy Wheel Brush


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If you're buying based solely on price, you can't help but notice this, easily the cheapest we've ever tested. Not bad at all, it has a nicely sculpted handle made of plastic and rubber and, like the Muc-Off, double prongs, though they don't split. This is good because it makes the 14cm brush strong and able to take a lot of pressure. On the other hand, it is very thick and cannot enter the tight radii. It fits quite well on the inside edge, but it has a slightly shorter handle than the large version, so you have to be careful not to catch your fingers.

Shop now at Halfords

Meguiar's Supreme Wheel Brush - Medium


From the cheapest in the test to Meguiar's medium brush, which is more than eight times more expensive. It's the only one here that doesn't have bristles and instead has an impressively long 17cm brush head (second longest here) covered in thick microfiber bristles. It is attached to a 12mm diameter plastic hub and is unlikely to contain any metal that will damage the wheel. We like the handle made of thick foam, and contrary to appearances, the brush itself is very effective, especially on the internal parts. However, it couldn't get into the tight radii of our test wheel.

Shop now at Halfords

Triple Wax Alloy Wheel Brush


Bright yellow Triplewax is as mainstream as it gets. The plastic grip could really use some rubber sections to improve grip, though four sculpted areas near the base help with control. Its 13cm brush length isn't bad, but with a handle of the same length, it's hard for your fingers to go directly into the barrel, and still not reach the inside edge. Its steel braided center is extremely rigid, ideal for removing stuck-on dirt and easily fits into tight radii. But it is more expensive and better elsewhere.

Shop now at Halfords

ValetPRO BRU22 Chemical Resistant Brush


Despite the obvious limitations, we really like this brush, which is very well balanced and easy to use. It's also really solid, giving the impression that it will withstand not only the effects of chemicals, but years of hard work as well. It's the only one that goes directly into and around the wheel studs, and it also works well on the rest of the wheel where you can use the dot action. But it's not quite as hot when you need to use it on the side of the brush, on larger areas of the wheel, and work through the spokes to the inner rim. This is a useful addition to a regular bristle brush.

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Muc-Off Soft Wash Brush


As the name suggests, the bristles on this brush are much softer than usual. That's good news for the wheel itself, but not so much for accumulated brake dust. The brush is ideal for basic wheel washing and with a little effort can get into the toughest spots and tight radii. The design at the base of the handle helps protect slippery fingers, but thanks to the large head, it doesn't get anywhere to clean the barrel. Again, this is better for opening up a more traditional brush with stronger bristles.

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What is the best tool to clean rims with? ›

Wheel brushes are one of the best ways to clean up the rims of your vehicle. Unlike microfiber towels and other car applicators, wheel brushes tend to have the right design to get in between the spokes and behind the wheels; places where other applicators have a hard time reaching.

What kind of brush to use for rims? ›

5 Essential Wheel Cleaning Brushes
  • A sturdy, reliable scrub brush. ...
  • A soft, flexible, bottle-bristled brush. ...
  • A soft-bristled, short-handled brush. ...
  • A stiff-bristled, long-handled brush. ...
  • A boars-hair detailing brush.

What not to use on rims? ›

Don't Use Acidic Cleaners

Acid will get the wheels clean and clear of all dirt and brake dust. It will also strip the finish off the wheel that protects it and keeps it looking good. Don't use dish soap either, since it's made for dishes and not cars. Dish soap will get any grease off the wheels, but not much else.

Why do my rims scratch so easily? ›

The first and honestly one of the most likely causes of rim damage is working with tires that are too low for the roughness of the road. Every time you go over a bump, the springiness of well-inflated tires absorbs that bump and keeps the hard metal of the inner wheel and rim safe.

How do you clean rims without scratching them? ›

Use a soft-bristled brush to loosen wheel buildup

Choose a brush designed to clean without scratching the wheel's surface. Wheels have lots of crevices where dirt can hide, so be thorough. Spend time using the brush to reach the areas between the spokes of your car's wheels.

How long do car wash brushes last? ›

The lifespan of a brush will depend on several factors, but you do have control over many of them. On average, according to Hadeed, cloth brushes should last for at least 200,000 cars, and foam should last twice as long.

What is the best wheel cleaner for caked on brake dust? ›

We recommend a decontaminator, such as Sonax Wheel Cleaner. Spray this wheel-specific cleaner on a cool, dry wheel and wait 10 minutes or so. Though the product sprays on clear, its color changes from clear to red as its chemicals interact with the iron molecules in the brake dust.

Why do detailers wash wheels first? ›

Wheels & tires first

You'll want to clean these before the paint because they're typically the dirtiest part of your vehicle. Plus, if you wait to clean them until the end of your wash you'll run the risk of splashing dirt & brake dust back onto the clean paint.

What do professionals use to clean alloy wheels? ›

AlloyKlenz is a safe to use, powerful alloy wheel cleaner and brake dust cleaner which contains 5% Oxalic Acid for unbeatable results.

What is the cheapest way to clean alloy wheels? ›

Get rid of tough grease and dust on alloy rims by using a heavy-duty oven cleaner. Oven cleaner is strong enough to cut through oil, rust, water, and mineral stains. Once you coat your rims with the cleaner, wait the allotted time frame before cleaning away with a soft bristle brush and water.

What is the best household product to clean alloy wheels? ›

One of the best approaches is using a mixture of white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), soap, and warm water. You can spray this solution directly onto the alloy wheels, leave it for a few minutes, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. You may find that this removes the dirt.

What is the safest way to clean rims? ›

Now comes the fun and easy part: simply spray your dirty wheels with a wheel cleaner and, if you feel it's necessary, give them a good scrub with the wheel brush. You may want to periodically wash off the wheel brush, especially if the wheels are particularly dirty.

Can I use a Mr Clean Magic Eraser on my rims? ›

Clean® knows how to clean rims on your vehicle in just two steps. Consider the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable his best rim cleaner. It's 50 percent stronger than the Magic Eraser Original, so it's revved up and ready to get your car rims clean.


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