The Best Tire Cleaners In 2023

Last updated: Today

Erin Carpenter

Top 5 Best Tire Cleaners 2023:

  1. Sonax Wheel Cleaner Full Effect
  2. Chemical Guys Tire Cleaner
  3. CarGuys Wheel Cleaner
  4. Adam’s Wheel & Tire Cleaner
  5. Carfidant Ultimate Wheel Cleaner Spray

Most car lovers have their focus on cleaning the most visible parts of the car, as well as the inside of it.

While all of that is okay, most make a mistake by omitting one of the essential parts of their cleaning routine – the tires.

Remnants of the most persistent stains, dirt, and grime accumulate on your tires overtime work effectively against you and your car and can cause your tires to deteriorate.

If you realize that cleaning your tires is much more necessary than just rinsing them with soap and water, you are in the right place.

There are many tire cleaners that can do an okay job, but why settle for mediocre care when you can have the best?

Stick with me because I will help you find the best tire cleaner to maintain the longevity of your tires!

5 Best Tire Cleaners In 2023: Detailed Reviews

1. Sonax Wheel Cleaner Full Effect – Best Overall

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Our first pick is so well-rounded that we were left without words.

Where do we begin?

The Sonax cleaner contains an acid-free, pH-balanced formula that does not damage your tires, and is 100% safe for any wheel finish (including chrome, aluminum, steel, clear coated, PVD, magnesium, etc.).

What is incredible is that you can literally see it working because it contains the color-changing formula. 

When the spray gets in touch with the substance you want to clear (e.g., iron from brake dust, or dirt), it turns fluorescent yellow. And when it starts acting and destroying the dirt, you can see it red. At our lab, we had an argument whether it was red or purple, actually, but that’s a whole another story. The color is there.

When it’s done with its magic (it only takes 3 to 5 minutes), all you have to do is to rinse it with water, and your tires are clean and shiny!

It will surely dilute and remove even the most stubborn dirt. If you think that there is some left (though we doubt it), respray the cleaner and watch for color changes!

Not only that – the Sonax tire cleaner offers all of this at a great, budget-friendly price!

You can get it in two variants: a 16.9 fl. oz., and 169.1 fl.oz. In our experience, one 16.9 fl. oz.-bottle can do around 10-12 wheel treatments, depending on the size of your wheels.


  • Excellent value for the price
  • Color-changing formula
  • Suitable for all kinds of tires
  • Effective chemistry formula
  • Easy to use


  • It’s hard on the skin. This is more of a caution for you to always use gloves than a con!

2. Adam’s Wheel & Tire Cleaner – Runner-Up

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Another advantageous tire cleaner is Adam’s, which we liked for more or less similar reasons as the previous one.

Its cleaning formula is very effective in removing brake dust and dirt, and it immediately dissolves metallic brake contamination upon contact. Although it is so strong, it is important to emphasize that it remains pH neutral, which makes it safe for most finishes.

It is also equipped with color-changing technology that is activated simultaneously with cleaning agents. Just like with the previous spray, once it begins with the process of cleaning your wheel, you can observe a reddish color, and it lasts until it’s finished.

Unlike some cleaners that require only a rinse, I suggest that you use a wheel brush to clean your tires after the cleaner does its job.

As for the effect it has on your wheels, I can say that, apart from cleaning, Adam’s tire cleaner gives you a rich shiny but matte look. Both the rims and tires come out like new.

It comes in 1 gallon, 5 gallons, and 16 oz-Volume, which definitely caters to every user’s needs.



  • A bit of an unpleasant odor

3. Chemical Guys Tire Cleaner – Budget-Friendly Pick

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If you’re a perfectionist and clean your wheels more often than most people, the good news is that you don’t have to splurge regularly to get a 1 gallon or 16-ounce Chemical Guys tire cleaner.

What also adds to the affordability of this product is that it is one of those that works even better when diluted. Of course, if you have a heavy-duty job and a lot of dirt and mud to deal with, do not dilute it, but for regular cleaning, you can dilute it up to 8:1 ratio. We can confirm that it works perfectly at any rate!

Compared to other tire cleaners, this one works faster, but always make sure to scrub it with a brush once it’s done. 

You might need another product for a shiny or matte finish, if that’s your cup of tea, though. But as far as cleaning is concerned – this is a premium choice!

It is a perfect balance between a tough spray that removes dust and dirt and reduces corrosion, but it is gentle enough for all the wheel finishes (even custom-made vinyl ones).

Owing to the citrus-based formula, this wheel cleaner will not produce any unpleasant smell.


  • Contains natural citrus extracts
  • Easy to remove
  • The cheapest on our list
  • Strong, yet gentle
  • Can be diluted; consequently, it lasts longer
  • Won’t harm any kind of tires


  • No color formula
  • Not so shiny finish, but it does the cleaning part really, really well

4. CarGuys Wheel Cleaner – Best for Environment

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The Car Guys tire cleaner has vaulted past its competition because of its effectiveness and environmentally-friendly chemical formula.

It cleans all the particles of dust, dirt,  and road salts with ease.

Coming with a bit higher price tag for an 18-ounce-bottle, it is backed up with expensive chemicals that aren’t harmful to the environment. Therefore, it is acid-free, non-toxic, and pH balanced.

We’re pleased to report that this tire cleaner has a very mild smell compared to other picks.

Generally, it is safe on every wheel and tire type, regardless of the material. No worries, it won’t even damage the fancy paint or polish job that you recently got!

It need not be diluted in water, and there are no instructions, but naturally, we simply had to experiment a bit. The good ratio that we found is 1:4, for some minor cleaning jobs.

If you’re interested in the extra features, you will be a bit disappointed here. This cleaner is strictly meant for cleaning your wheels and tires, and it won’t leave any protection or shine, like the Sonax does, e.g..

Lastly, it is nice to know that the manufacturers included a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee, though we’re adamant you won’t need it!


  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Expensive and high-quality chemical formula
  • Safe for all types of tires
  • Effective cleaning
  • Money-back guarantee


  • A bit pricey
  • No extra features

5. Carfidant Ultimate Wheel Cleaner Spray – Best Water-Based

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The last competitor that caters to all of your needs comes from Carfidant, which produces an assortment of high-quality car accessories.

This cleaner aggressively attacks even the most persistent brake dust particles. Still, it is 100% safe for all rims and tires, regardless of whether they are aluminum, alloy, mag, chrome, painted, or else.

Just like all of our picks, it contains a pH neutral chemical formula without any dye or scent that can be harmful to the skin.

What also impressed us is how easy it was to remove – just rinse it with water, and that’s it! No need for scrubbing.

It doesn’t bring shine or luster, but it certainly helps clean the dirty wheels, even the most irritating stains, and that’s precisely what you want of a good tire cleaner.

Unlike some other tire cleaners, there is no need to dilute this cleaner with water. It is water-based and mild compared to other tire cleaners.

By the way, for the best effect, we suggest that you use this and all other tire cleaners only on cool and dry wheels.


  • Safe for any kind of rubber & rims
  • pH neutral
  • The manufacturers offer a refund
  • No unpleasant odor
  • Skin-friendly


  • Less effective than our other picks

Factors To Consider When Buying A Tire Cleaner

Now that you’ve been introduced to the top products that I picked, I will help you to discover which one is the best for you and your needs.

1. Tire Cleaner Type

There are a few things that fall under this category, and I’m going to break it down to you in three simple categories.

pH level

The most important characteristic of a tire cleaner is its pH level. Tire cleaners can be pH neutral or not, in which case, it is acidic.

If the tire cleaner you are looking at is pH neutral, it means that its chemical makeup is such that it is safe to use on all kinds of surfaces because of its non-corrosive aspect.

However, if you opt for a pH neutral tire cleaner, you might be in need of some backup in the cleaning process, such as appropriate fiber cleaning products.

On the other hand, acidic tire cleaners are corrosive to materials such as steel, aluminum, and more. They are stronger and more effective when it comes to cleaning stubborn stains if the metal parts aren’t directly exposed to them.

Nowadays, there are excellent pH neutral cleaners that are strong enough to eliminate virtually anything, so all of my picks come from this category.

Cleaning Process 

Not all cleaners function in the same manner. Products significantly differentiate not only in the way they are applied and used but also in the steps which come as the aftermath of the cleaning process.

Some tire cleaners necessitate scrubbing as an essential part of the cleaning process. This step should not be eliminated or skipped, as it is necessary to do so to achieve the anticipated results.

Although it is tiresome and dull, the results are, nevertheless, amazing as the scrubbing step eliminates all dirt and stains.

There are also products that do not necessitate scrubbing; they are rinse-only based. Basically, what you need to do is apply them and rinse them off.

These products can vary in strength – the ones of weaker composition might need to be sprayed and sprayed over a few times until the results are satisfactory, and some might be too strong and only require one spraying session. It is best to check its pH balance.


Ultimately, another aspect of tire cleaner types is to check how easy they are to apply, whether they have spray nozzles or if they need to be poured over in such a container, which is very rare.

2. Wheel & Rim Type

As I previously stated, the pH balance of the tire cleaner that you select is crucial (it can be non-corrosive or corrosive).

The wheel and rim materials vary from car to car and from preference to preference, and with so many types, you need to know your car to make sure it gets what it really needs.

With an abundance of tire cleaners, it is crucial to keep in mind that each is designed to be effective in its own way.

To promote safe buying and to prevent any hiccups in the cleaning process of your tires, you should definitely check the pH balance and the chemical composition of tire cleaners.

What you can also do is check the material of your rims before purchasing your tire cleaner, as not all chemical compositions are compatible with the tires that you own.

All in all, the most conscious thing you can do to have your tires look and be the best they can be is to check the material they are made of, then buy the most suitable and the best tire cleaner for them.

Tire cleaners are not supposed to ruin them, but to make them look great and be clean!

See Also: The Best Interior Car Cleaners

What Else Do You Need To Clean Your Tires?

Owning and using a tire cleaner is not the only thing you’ll need to maximize the cleanliness of your tires.

Even some of the strongest and most effective tire cleaners need a helping hand in the form of cleaning equipment!

As with everything else, it doesn’t hurt to know & be in touch with everything that can help you give your car the most attention for your cleaning to have the best results.

To get out the most of your car cleaning, you will need the following:

  • Water, but enhanced – Yes, sure, a hose or a good ol’ bucket of water will suffice, but if you truly want to get the most out of it, you can use the prowess of a pressure washer. Not only is it time-saving, but it is also the most efficient & faster way to clean your tires.
  • Brushes – wheel brushes are an excellent addition to the cleaning troops that you can have at home. They will allow you to clean all the nooks and crannies out of your wheels, as well as everything in between!
  • Fiber towels – They work wonders in combination with pH neutral tire cleaners. Even if you prefer to use acidic cleaners, they can always come in handy!
  • Wax – as the final touch, sealing your fruits of labor with wax will undoubtedly give your car and your wheels a brand new look. A brilliant shine will not only look aesthetically pleasing but will also keep the dirt away longer.

See Also: The Best Summer Tires

Final Observation

We made sure to pick the best tire cleaners out of so many that are vying for your attention.

The unrivaled Sonax tire cleaner deserves to be enthroned the best tire cleaner overall, while Chemical Guys produced the best cleaner for your wallet.

If you live in a polluted area, the tire cleaner for you is the CarGuys tire cleaner.

About Erin Carpenter

Erin Carpenter has over 15 years experience in the diamond industry working with Artic Canadian Diamonds, Anglo-American Diamonds. She is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as USA Today, Forbes, The New York Times and more.