Are you using a sponge or, even worse, a rag to clean your wheels? Sponges cannot remove grime, mud or brake dust. And rags will eventually dull the finish of shiny rims. Enter wheel brushes.
Brushes are essential for cleaning wheels. The bristles work with car soap to loosen grime so it can be rinsed away. But not all brushes are created equal. Some are worthless. But how can you find the best wheel cleaning brush without wasting your time searching the stores and internet for a good one? You don’t want to waste a penny either.
Here we give you a buyers guide to help you decide what kind of brush you need. Then we will look at the best wheel brush in several categories. There are no winners and losers here because this is all very subjective. Your needs differ from the needs of others.
What type of wheels do you have? If you have rims with spokes, you need a good brush that is designed to get into tight areas. Stiffer bristles are better at removing grime, but they may scratch fine finishes. Shiny wheels generally need a brush with softer bristles.
We have reviewed several brushes that are great for getting into hard-to-reach areas. Some of them also double as interior or even engine brushes. Don’t overlook that advantage of the wheel cleaning brushes that we are going to talk about.
Some of them are better at detailing interiors than brushes that are designed for that purpose. Two of the brushes that we looked at are often used by bikers to clean their engines. That’s tough and functional!
Now, back to your wheels. If your wheels don’t have tight spots, a big tire brush is probably best for you. They clean both rims and tires well. They even work great to wash your entire exterior. We checked out two of these, and we think you will love them both. They are comfortable to use and really work up a great cleansing lather of soap suds.
The Best Wheel Brushes 2020
This kit comes with three brushes. The long brush is 19 inches long with a 3 inch diameter head. The medium and small sizes are 12in x 2in and 8in x 1in, respectively. Together, these brushes will clean between spokes of any rim.
They are made of soft wool, so they will not scratch. Many brushes are too stiff, and they make tiny little scratches on rims. These scratches may not be noticeable at first, but they can dull the finish of shiny rims after repeated washings. This is the softest set of brushes currently available.
Cleaning grills and door handles are a snap with these brushes. The handles flex to get into all of those hard-to-reach places.
Don’t forget about your interior! These brushes do double duty. You will love the small brush. It really gets into little interior crevices like vents, interior door handles and storage compartments.
All-in-all, this trio is great for detailing inside and out. This is a great choice if you worry about scratches on your rims.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Here is another 3-pack kit, but this one is a bit different. Instead of wool, the brushes are made from soft bristles that really stand up to harsh cleaners. They even stand up well to rust-removing sprays. This is great for those less expensive rims that tend to accumulate rust around the center bore and lug holes.
Since they stand up so well to tough cleaners, many people use these brushes to clean tight spots on their engines. It is rather difficult to get thick engine grease out of the bristles though. No worries, the brushes sport labels on their handles: engine, wheel and interior. Thanks to its long handle and bristles, the interior brush is perfect for deep compartments like center console storage areas.
But we are mostly talking about cleaning your wheels now. The wheel brush, even though made of soft bristles, is tough enough to scrub away grime from neglected rims. It is great for often overlooked areas like lug holes.
This kit compares to the Wheel Woolies, but the brushes are tougher and a little less gentle.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
This is a versatile brush that, like some other brushes reviewed here, also works great as an all-around interior and exterior detailing brush.
The total length is 10 inches including the 6.5 inch handle. That is a bit longer than most other brushes of this type, so it feels substantial in your hand and makes it good for long cleaning jobs. Professional detailers love this brush. It stands up to heavy use without losing bristles. This means you can use a twisting motion to get into lug recesses and the tight angles between spokes without damaging the brush.
Given its durability, it is surprising that this brush is so soft. The natural boar hair will not scratch delicate finishes, even when applying heavy pressure.
The handle is made of metal, and the neck that holds the bristles to the handle is made of high-impact plastic. It is made to stand up to solvents, not just soap, so it can be used for greasy jobs.
Final word: This is a versatile brush that is great for cleaning and detailing your entire car. It would be nice if Chemical Guys would offer a 3-pack of these brushes so one could be used for the wheels, one for the engine and one for the interior.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
This is a tough and easy-to-use brush. The strong nylon bristles are angled perpendicular to the handle, so it is great for twisting in hard-to-reach spots to remove grime and dirt. Many motorcyclists use it to clean their bike’s engines. That’s how tough this brush is!
The head of the brush is cone-shaped. That makes it great for getting into tight spots, but there is a little nub that sticks out the end opposite the handle. This one drawback makes it hard to use to clean in recesses that bottom out, like lug holes. But it is still a great wheel cleaning brush for intricate wheels, thanks to the flexible stem. The stem is strong, too and is made of vinyl-coated metal.
Even though the bristles are tough enough to remove the hardest grease and mud, they are still gentle enough to be safe for all wheel finishes, including clear coat. EZ Detail really found a good balance of strength and softness with these bristles.
This is a fantastic choice for getting between spokes and into similar gaps, but you would need another brush for lug holes and other recesses.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Here is a good wheel cleaning brush that is similar to EZ Detail’s cone-shaped offering, but this one is a bit bigger. The bristles are made of the same strong nylon. The larger diameter of the brush head gives this one the advantage of cleaning between spokes a little quicker without sacrificing the ability to get into smaller crevices.
This one also has that little nub sticking out of the end, so it has the same disadvantage of not being able to get into lug recesses very well.
Some people will like the red and black color better than EZ Detail’s solid blue.
This brush has a guard between the handle and the brush head that is supposed to protect the user’s hand somehow. That feature may actually be useful when cleaning an engine or something, but it is hard to imagine busting your knuckles when cleaning a wheel.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
These bristles are amazingly soft. Up until now, we have mainly talked about the best wheel brushes for cleaning rims, but this brush is meant for rims and tires. And it will clean both well without scratching.
The entire brush is coated with soft rubber, except for the bristles of course. This is an essential feature for this type of brush. You want bristles that are soft enough to avoid scratching delicate wheel finishes, but you don’t want to scratch with a hard plastic handle either. The rubber coating also makes it much more comfortable to hold and use than those cheap plastic brushes.
The long bristles hold a lot of soap suds for a good and quick cleaning.
It is also great for cleaning other parts of your car’s exterior, like the grill, bumpers and even the body of the car.
This is the best wheel cleaning brush for wheels that do not have intricate spokes. If your wheels have a lot of narrow gaps, you should get an additional brush that is designed to reach into small areas.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
This brush’s bristles are stiff, but the ends of them are feathered to be gentle on finishes. The feathering also allows the bristles to hold more soap.
There is no rubber coating here, but that may not be a drawback because the handle and body are made of wood. Wood does not scratch unless you are careless with it. This brush is actually just as comfortable to hold as Mothers’ wheel and tire brush because people are so used to holding wood handles. Think about it: There is probably not a day that goes by without you holding and using something made of wood, and you probably never even realize it.
This is a great brush that is similar to Mothers’ brush. Many people prefer the wooden body because it is natural.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
There are many kinds of wheel brushes available. What you need depends on whether you need to clean in tight spots or not. You also want to consider the softness of the bristles.
No matter what your needs are, one of the wheel brushes we reviewed above will suit your purposes. Feel free to check out our best tire shines out there.