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5 Essential Wheel Cleaning Brushes

5 Essential Wheel Cleaning Brushes


Our list of the top 5 wheel cleaning brushes to use on your next detailing job.

As the saying goes, your shoes can make or break the outfit. You wouldn’t want to wear rain boots with your tuxedo on your wedding day (or maybe you do, we won't judge!)

The same fashion sentiment carries over to your car or truck. The stock wheels from the factory could be your best choice if the car or truck is one you rely on for daily commuting. Wire wheels might be the right look if you’re driving a vintage Jaguar, or cruising a lowrider Impala. What if you’ve got a pick-up truck or Jeep that sees lots of off-roading duty? A strong alloy or steel wheel would be the best bet for that type of task.

And while you choose the right type of wheel for the driving you intend to do, you also want to choose the right wheel cleaning brush when it comes time to freshen up the shoes on your ride. Below is a quick list of brushes we use on a daily basis to care for the cars & trucks at the garage. We've narrowed it down to five brushes that serve a unique purpose and get used on almost every detail job we work on.

1. A sturdy, reliable scrub brush


At times you’re going to be faced with stubborn dirt & grime that ends up stuck in places like a tire’s side wall or tread. In times like this we look for something that we can really put some elbow grease behind, and agitate the heck out of whatever is stuck to the cleaning surface.

For the best agitation you’ll want a quality scrub brush that has stiff, course bristles. This will allow you to get to the bottom of the dirt & grime in quick fashion.

You’ll want to be careful though. A brush like this isn’t intended to be used on sensitive surfaces that are prone to scratching (paint & wheels). This type of brush should be reserved for use on rubber tires, plastic trim and inner fender wells.

2. A soft, flexible, bottle-bristled brush


EZ Detail Brush

This type of brush might be the MVP in our detailing tool arsenal. The bottle-bristles wound around a thin, flexible core makes this EZ detail brush the ideal candidate for getting into those hard to reach places. Plus it can be bent to wrap or fit in just about any crevice.

We find ourselves using this brush the most when we need to clean the inner barrels of a wheel. And because the bristles are made from a soft nylon material, we’re able to clean with confidence and not worry that it’s going to hurt or scratch the finish.

3. A soft-bristled, short-handled brush


Griptek Wheel Cleaning Brush | Leno's Garage

The value of a general-use, utility brush cannot be understated. When considering a brush that will suit this need we’re looking for something in the 9-10” territory. It should have a solid grip for comfortable, slip-proof use.

We tend to use this brush in areas like wheel faces and rocker panels. That’s why we prefer the soft bristle. We want to be able to agitate things like brake dust & road grime, but we don’t want to leave behind scratches or swirl marks. These Griptek wheel & body brushes are nice because they heavy-duty rubber bumpers on the corners. This softens the inevitable “love taps” your brush head will have with body panels and wheel rims.

4. A stiff-bristled, long-handled brush


Long Handled Griptek Scrub Brish

The need for a brush like this will vary based on the type of vehicle you’re cleaning. If you want to get into the fender or wheel wells of a truck/SUV, then this type of brush is an absolute necessity. Especially if you want to save your back & knees.

The long handle and stiff bristles of this brush make cleaning deep into the wheel well a quick & easy task. The 20" Griptek scrub brush is a great option if you're looking for a long handled scrub brush.

5. A boars-hair detailing brush


Boars Hair Detail Brush

This brush isn't an absolute necessity, but we still toss it in the bucket every time we’re cleaning a set of wheels & tires. It’s compact size makes it great for getting into tight spots like the lug nut cavities. Plus the boar’s hair bristle is stiff enough to agitate stubborn brake dust, but still be gentle on sensitive surfaces.

Check out the boar's hair detailing brush here if you think this is a brush you want to add to your arsenal.

That rounds out our list of 5 Essential Wheel Cleaning brushes. We hope this list was useful for you. If you'd like to see us cover other detailing topics, drop us a line at


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