The best and safest way to remove brake dust, dirt, and road grime from wheels is to match the type of wheel cleaner to the type of wheel you're cleaning. Using the wrong wheel cleaner can lead to discolouring, dulling, and permanent staining. When in doubt, contact the wheel manufacture and ask them for their recommendations.
When cleaning neglected or extremely dirty wheels with extra heavy build up of brake dust and road grime, instead of relying solely on a chemical cleaner for its cleaning power, boost the power of your wheel cleaner by using either a soft wheel brush like -
When it comes to cleaning extremely dirty wheels, many people seek out an extra strong wheel cleaner to do all of the work, when all the extra strength they really need can be found in their arms.
Don't make the mistake of trying to take the easy way out by resorting to an extra strength cleaner that can potentially damage your wheels because it's too strong. This is a common mistake people make when they rely on cleaners that are too strong, or use common under the sink multi-purpose cleaners that were never intended for use on their particular wheel surface.
Recomended Wheel Cleaners:
Twice is Nice
Instead of using a more aggressive and potentially harmful cleaner on your car's wheels, try cleaning your wheels twice using a soft bristle wheel brush. Even a high quality household paintbrush along with a little extra elbow grease will help you get your wheels clean easily and safely.
Your first wheel cleaning will remove a majority of the built up brake dust and road grime. This will allow the next application of wheel cleaner to go right to work on the built up brake dust and road grime that was underneath the first layer.
By using a high quality wheel brush or a household paintbrush, you will effectively agitate the built up brake dust and road grime enabling the wheel cleaning chemicals to penetrate, loosen, and break their grip on the surface of your wheels. A second application will only take a few extra minutes and it will do a much better job of safely cleaning your wheels, versus trying to get the job done quickly with only one application.
Of course, as Barry always says, "Frequent car care is easy car care". This goes for cleaning wheels too. Washing your car often and thoroughly cleaning your wheels each time you wash your car, including all of the nooks and crannies, will prevent excessive brake dust and road grime from building up in the first place. Applying a protective coating, premium wax or paint protectant will help reduce buildup and insure cleaning your wheels is fast and easy.
When selecting a wheel protectant it is also very important to choose the right product.
Recomended Wheel Protective Coating, Premium Wax & Paint Protectant:
The easy way to achieve a mirror-bright shine on polishable wheels - use a:
For brake dust protection/reduction use: