Wheel Cleaners Part 1: Gel & Foam

Wheel Cleaners: Gel & Foaming

Gel foaming wheel cleaners dwell, cling, and ultimately cling to surfaces to allow for proper cleaning. The most advantageous point of gels is that they are ultra safe for all surfaces and are PH balanced. The disadvantage to gels is they create so much foam within curves and holes that rinsing takes a long period of time. Also gels are more expensive. I’d rate the cleaning strength at medium. To properly use such gel foaming wheel cleaners, its best to rinse the surface slightly to allow some liquid on the wheel. Spray the cleaner in a wide spray on the wheel, then begin to agitate vigorously.

The Staple

P21S Gel. $17 for 500 ml.

Created in 1976 as a European based cleaner that can dwell for over 2 hours or even overnight on stubborn brake dust. Possibly the best first wheel cleaner you can buy. P21S can get expensive if you get pulled to buying the 5 gallon. Non acid, non lye based, safe for every surface.


Gloss-it Signature Wheel Gel. $22 for 650 ml.

New product released in 2008. It is dilutable up to 1:1, 1:2, or 1:4 making it a possible P21s alternative on the cheap.  Not very cost efficient, not widely distributed, and relatively new to market. Safe for trim, painted body, polished lips, clear coated, and custom coated rims. Please note these two cleaners are weak on the cleaning scale.


Chemical Guys Diablo Gel $14 for 475 ml.

Dilute up to 1:4 or 1:6, Diablo is quite new to the market, wated based, and non caustic. Diablo Gel as alternative product to the more expensive P21S. Safe for literally all surfaces. (Do note after testing I’ve found Sticky Gel very lackluster for the price).

Next: Wheel Cleaners Part 2 Spray On Rinse Off


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