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Best Wheel Brushes: Clean Your Wheels the Right Way

These handy cleaning tools will shake free all of that dirt and debris.

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BY/ LAST UPDATED ON May 16, 2022

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. Since there are so many different sizes and designs of wheel brushes, we've created this handy guide to help you find the right one.

Best Overall

Takavu Wheel Brush

Summary
The best wheel cleaning and detailing brush that is long enough to hard difficult spots or to be used on other metal parts around the vehicle.
Pros
  • Long 18-inch design is perfect for reaching in between the rim spokes or behind the wheels
  • Safe for all finishes
  • Knuckle guard protects hands
Cons
  • There have been some reports of the end cap popping off right out of the box.
Best Value

Chemical Guys Wheel and Tire Brush

Summary
A small, affordable wheel brush that gets the job done during a quick hand detailing job.
Pros
  • Comfortable handle
  • Ergonomically designed to stay in place while using liquids and soaps
  • Brush head is small for reaching behind the wheel
Cons
  • Longer handle model can be difficult to maneuver around the wheels, especially when trying to reach behind the rims of larger wheels
Best Wheel Brush Honorable Mention

Woollywormit All-in-One Auto and Car Wheel Detailing Brush

Summary
A unique, flexible brush design that can reach behind challenging obstacles or contours without sacrificing the cleaning results.
Pros
  • Long, flexible design makes it easy to get between spokes
  • Good, clean finish with the right cleaning liquids
  • Includes patented lug nut cleaning tool
Cons
  • Small handle is difficult to hold for larger hands and can fall off from time to time
Best Wheel Brushes: Clean Your Wheels the Right Way

When you’re giving your car a regular cleaning, you can’t skip the wheels. You can give them a scrub with your mitt and soap just like the rest of your vehicle’s exterior, but to get them truly clean and debris free, you’re going to need a wheel brush. 

While a mitt, sponge, or cleaning cloth can wipe away dirt, mud, and other road debris, your wheel’s nooks and crannies can be tricky to reach. The bristles of a brush are better able to scrub away the dirt hiding in your rims. It’s a must-have tool if you’re detailing your wheels. We found the best wheel brushes for getting your rims sparkling once again, and we’re highlighting our top picks.

Our Methodology

The best wheel brushes are those that are both comfortable to work with and effective at sweeping away dirt in small, cramped spaces. In order to name my top picks, I sought out brushes that offered good reach, a slim cleaning head to slip into the spaces of your wheels and rims, and bristles that are safe for various types of finishes. I also considered comfort and ease of use by looking at user reviews, which provided insight into what it’s like to work with each product in hand and with various rim styles. And I also considered the bristle material, durability, and effectiveness on different kinds of dirt.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Best Wheel Brushes Reviews & Recommendations

The Takavu Wheel Brush offers an easy way of getting rid of grime and brake dust stuck between wheel spokes, tires, and tight nooks and crannies with just a simple wash. It has soft but stiff synthetic bristles that are safe for chrome, polished, painted, and matte finishes. They will also serve you for a long time without breaking from the handle. The brush is about 9.5 inches long and has large bristles, which makes it easier to clean between spokes without compromising on its ability to maneuver into smaller crevices. Apart from that, it has an ergonomic plastic handle that’s further equipped with a knuckle guard to protect your knuckles from banging on the metal surface as you clean it. There have been reports of the plastic end cap popping off as soon as you open the box. You risk scratching your wheels or having it jammed in your brake rotors if you don’t glue it back on. Also, the bristles splash water everywhere unless you work them gently.
This wheel brush from Chemical Guys features fully synthetic bristles with feathered ends for gentle cleaning. The feathering also helps the bristles to hold more soap. The bristles are chemical resistant and can remove grime and grease that has caked on wheels, rims, tires, and undercarriages. The brush has a rugged, non-slip plastic handle for a perfect grip even when you are wearing plastic gloves. It’s safe for chrome, polished, powder-coated, wrapped, and custom wheels. However, its biggest downside is the large handle, which can make it hard to move the brush behind the rims or clean through tight spaces. Also, it can be hard to hold when your hand is soapy and wet. In addition, the bristles can scratch or leave swirls on painted rims.
We included this option for a safer way to clean your rims and wheels without damaging them. This Wollywormit cleaner features thick chenille microfiber, which provides the best way to remove grime and brake dust from your wheels without scratching the surface. It has a long 13-inch body with a patented handless design. You can grab anywhere along its body, and it can bend to reach behind the wheels. Where you’d expect the handle to be is a patented lug nut cleaner with cavity cleaner attachments. Also, you can throw out any part that wears out since you get an extra lug-nut cleaner of a different size and three replacement chenille microfiber sponges. From the overall design, you will notice that there aren’t any exposed metal parts, making it safer for cleaning painted or polished surfaces. While it has a clever design to it, the lug-nut cleaner is a bit small and can be difficult to hold for large hands. Also, it’s not the best for removing caked-up dirt on the barrels of the wheels.
The Mothers Wheel brush is one of those small items you can use to reach all remote and tight areas in your vehicle. Thanks to the lightweight design, the brush is easy to move around and handle. You won't feel hand fatigue even after extended use, and the protective rubberized bumper on the handle will ensure a superior grip. Overall, this brush is ideal for cleaning wheels, fenders, and bumpers. It has soft bristles that come through tight spots and pick up even the smallest particles. Therefore, an ergonomically-designed product like this feels good in the hand and lasts throughout many cleaning processes. The main downside to this product regards the soft bristles. The brush is not stiff and sturdy enough to efficiently remove heavy dirt and debris off tires. If you need something for excessive cleanups, we recommend you to check out other options on our list. The Mothers Wheel brush is more suitable for light and quick dusting and cleanups.
Chemical Guys never fails to deliver high-quality cleaning products and accessories. This time, we have a compact wheel brush ideal for cleaning tight and hard-to-reach areas. The 100 percent sheepskin bristles are soft and durable at the same time. They pick up the dirt efficiently and hold more than eight ounces of soapy water. The Chemical Guys brush cleans all kinds of wheels, including alloy, chrome, anodized, and polished ones. You don't have to worry about scratching or damaging wheels and rims on your vehicle. This brush cleans gently and keeps the surface lubricated. It also packs easily due to its small size, and the narrow tip on the head reaches those tight spaces that collect all the road dirt. Unfortunately, the brush is not that durable. Although it holds up well for the price, it might fall apart after heavy daily use. You'll have to add a few more bucks to get a brush with a sturdier head. Also, the handle is not very long, so you probably won't be able to reach deep into the rim to clean brake dust.
This is a multipurpose brush suitable for cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and other vehicles. It cleans and polishes wheels and rims without scratching the surface, so it's perfect for a variety of materials. The brush cleans crevices of brake dust, road grime, and other harmful particles. You can easily clean and maintain your car's wheels and rims in the long run. The EX Detail brush is made from quality materials and is resistant to strong solvents. That means you can use a more efficient cleaner without the fear of your brush dissolving under your fingers. Still, the bristles are soft enough to gently go over vehicle parts and reach tight and remote spots. The softness of the brush doesn't influence its overall durability, which somehow leads us to the high price. You'll have to spend quite some cash on this brush, especially compared to the lowest-priced brushes on our list. It's a smart investment, but consider what you need for your application. If your wheels require excessive rubbing for removing environmental deposits, we recommend sturdier brushes.
If you're looking for tools and accessories that will help you clean wheels until they sparkle, we recommend checking out this three-piece kit. It includes three brushes that will help you get the job done quickly and reach all areas on your vehicle. On top of that, these brushes are built from quality materials and have an impressive lifespan. The ABN three-piece kit includes a woolie and two brushes with bristles. All of them range in size to provide better reach and give better cleaning results. They remove everything from light dust to road grime without damaging the wheels. Additionally, all three brushes come with sturdy and long polypropylene handles, which makes them easy to operate and prolongs the lifespan of the brushes. Although the kit contains three brushes, it's still a little expensive. Those who are on a limited budget might want to get only one brush, even if these three provide a thorough cleanup. Another thing to keep in mind before the purchase is the design of the handles. They don't bend and lack a rubber coating for a firmer grip.

Our Verdict

Our pick for the best overall wheel brush is the Takavu Wheel Brush, which offers great reach and length plus a solid level of effectiveness for even the toughest kinds of dirt and debris. If you’re hoping to find a good combination of affordability and effectiveness, the Chemical Guys Wheel and Tire Brush is another option that’ll deliver. 

What to Consider When Buying Wheel Brushes

At first glance, wheel brushes can kind of all look the same. But when you dive into the details, there are some key considerations you’ll want to think about. From handle length to bristle material and style to durability, don’t overlook the smaller aspects of each brush. 

Size 

The size of the wheel brush affects your cleaning rate and the efficiency of your work. Select a brush that’s a decent size so that you don’t have to stay too long cleaning one spot. For example, it would take too long to clean your wheels if you use something that resembles a toothbrush. However, you don’t want something that’s so large that it feels heavy in your hand.

Material 

Your brush’s performance is largely affected by the material used to make the bristles. You need something that’s neither too hard nor too soft. The type of wheels you have will affect your buying decision. For example, if you have shiny, polished wheels, then you need a brush with softer bristles to ensure you don’t scratch them. Some wheel brushes have metal bristles and, while they may be more effective at removing heavy dirt buildup, they can scratch the wheels if you scrub too hard. 

Design 

When it comes to the design, we are talking about the flexibility of the brush and how well it can clean tight spaces. You will have an easier cleaning experience if you have a brush with a body that can bend and long bristles to clean the largest of wheel openings. However, brushes with smaller and softer bristles are the best for removing the dirt left behind by the larger brushes. 

Pricing

For less than $10, you can find a selection of wheel brushes with short handles. You won’t get much reach or comfort, but these budget-friendly brushes can get the job done (without scratching up your rims). Spend $10 or more, and you’ll find a wider selection of options, including more ergonomic brushes and wheel brushes with high-strength soft bristles. You can even choose more varied brush materials. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Do wheel brushes scratch the surface of the wheel?

The good ones don't. The bristles of the brush need to be soft enough to flex against the surface so they don't dig in and scratch the metal.

How do I clean the wheel brush?

Most of the time, a basic water rinsing is enough. You can also use soapy water to get any dirt or grime clinging to the bristles.

Can I use a drill brush on my rims?

If you want to take the hard work out of cleaning your wheels, you can opt for a brush that’s powered by your drill. It’s easy to find brush heads that fit onto power drills. Just make sure you opt for bristles that won’t scratch your wheel material.

Can I use a tire brush on my wheels?

Cleaning your tires typically requires a tougher, stiffer brush. That kind of brush could potentially scratch up your wheels, especially if they’re a softer or more delicate material. You want to opt for a wheel-friendly product — not a tire brush — to prevent damage.

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