Keeping your wheels looking clean is a small detail that’s a finishing touch on car care. But, there’s one culprit for many car owners and auto-detailers. That is brake dust. The natural by-product of using a resource that withers away with use. Brake pads and especially metallic pads are going to leave behind a significant amount of residue.
So what’s the best way to clean brake dust? Well, we took a look at the options on the market. The good thing is they’re affordable and the top brands all do a good job. With some more specialized.
Here are the 4 best wheel cleaners for brake dust:
DipYourCar Brake Dust Pro
DipYourCar has a strong wheel cleaner that is made to fight the buildup of brake dust. This is a spray and set type of application. You spray it on your wheels, when the time is right for you to wash it off it’ll change colors to a dark red.
It’s a 32 oz bottle, as far as price goes it’s on par with other brands. But, since you’re buying a larger bottle it will seem like it costs more. It’s pretty neat how it changes colors, like some other brands of wheel cleaner. We’re bad with time and numbers so yeah, neat feature.
They recommend using a power washer to clean it off, but a hose should work just fine. Just don’t flood the wheel with water, if you have a high pressure nozzle that would work much better.
If you’re sensitive to smell you’re going to be in for a surprise! This.. does not smell good. Maybe you can test your nostrils. It’s recommended you use a wheel brush to compliment this. Chemicals do work but they need a little bit of help sometimes depending on how bad the brake dust is. This is a PH neutral product, you don’t have to worry about it staining.
Adam's Deep Wheel Cleaner
Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner is one of the best selling brands for car owners with a vendetta against brake dust. It has the same color changing properties as DipYourCar after application. You spray it on, let it sit, and when it changes color you know to spray it off.
It’s a made in the USA product, which they’re very rightfully proud of. People love this stuff and it’s probably the best selling cleaner in the category. This is another PH neutral product that still kicks butt despite its lack of acidity.
Brake cleaners just tend to smell because of their chemical composition, and this one is no different so be prepared. It has a satisfaction guarantee, if you’re not happy then you get a refund.
But, nearly all their customers are happy. A product that’s affordable and just works. We love it. Just remember it’s targeted specifically for brake dust. If you want an all-around cleaner, there are formulations that are better suited. Eagle One’s All Wheel and Tire Cleaner would be a good option.
Eagle One All Wheel and Tire Cleaner
Eagle One has made a well-regarded all around wheel cleaner for a great price. The 64oz option is cheaper than some 16oz brake dust cleaner brands. This product works by foaming. It’s not made specifically to remove brake dust, instead, it targets all the general crud on your wheels.
So if you want an all around solution this is it. You’ll have to put in a little more elbow grease than you would with a formulation specific for dust. Your wheels will look great though, and you get a lot of this product for cheap.
If you pair this with a scrubbing tool you have a nice one two punch to keep your wheels clean.
TriNova Wheel Cleaner
TriNova Wheel Cleaner is another all-around option for keeping your wheels free of dirt and grime. It’s a degreaser that’s PH balanced so no worries about stains. Just like Adam’s cleaner, this product is made right here in the USA.
There aren’t any fancy color changing formulas going on here like in some competitors workings. But, it’s the same application process. Spray this on, let it sit. You’ll know it working when you see the dirt starting to slide down your wheels.
We love that they’re cheap and that it’ll work on all types of wheels.It may be only a few dollars cheaper than the others but it’s enough to buy a burger. They have a good reputation and back their product with a satisfaction guarantee.
How can I prevent brake dust?
There are two main culprits. The first is, you’re probably using semi-metallic brake pads if you have a lot of brake dust. These pads perform well and they’re common in heavier vehicles. But, they leave a lot of residue.
So if it’s really bothering you, look into buying ceramic brake pads and using those instead. Metal pads chip away every time you brake, whereas ceramics make much less dust.
The second option is, upgrading your current brake pads to a better brand. It may be no fault of yours, but a higher quality brake pad isn’t going to chip as less. If you’ve bought the car used or you just don’t like your stock pads – it might be time for an upgrade.
Some people go as far as waxing their wheels to prevent brake dust sticking to the rims. But really, a regular clean is going to do just as well. Even low-dust pads are going to produce dust. It’s the nature of a consumable(brake pad) resource. When it degrades you’re left to clean up the little pieces.
We recommend getting a wheel brush as well, to get off the bits of dust that aren’t budging. You can get a nice wheel brush for cheap. Mothers Wheel Brush is always a safe bet. For owners dealing with a lot of brake dust we recommend Adam’s Wheel Cleaner and for the people looking for an all-around cleaner, we recommend Eagle One.
If you purchase one of these, let us know how it went and if you gave it a thumbs up or down. We would love to hear. Have fun cleaning 🙂
I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.