Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner – Bilbery vs P21s Powergel Test Review

Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner Test ReviewFor many years the German made P21s Powergel P21s Powergel was widely regarded as one of the best alloy wheel cleaner products available. The acid free gel formula being able to cling to the wheels longer than most liquid sprays and highly effective at removing that annoying build-up of black brake dust on your alloys.

Then a couple of years ago UK company Valet Pro introduced Bilberry Wheel Cleaner which rapidly gained a large following amongst car detailers and enthusiasts alike, as a challenger to be considered as the best alloy wheel cleaner. Although not a gel formula Valet Pro Bilberry is a highly effective acid free alloy wheel cleaner which like the P21s is much safer to use on your alloys than acid based wheel cleaners.

But which one is the best alloy wheel cleaner? To find out we put both products in a head-to-head test on a set of alloys that had not been cleaned for over 3 months and which had not had any kind of wheel wax or sealant applied to them.

Whats-more the vehicle, a VW T4 Transporter has been used on a daily 80-mile round trip commute during the week, parked roadside and based in the countryside where the roads were a constant source of road muck and grime.

And if that was not enough for our best wheel cleaner challenge this particular T4 is an automatic so has a heavy reliance on the application of the brakes throughout the journeys.

The test was videoed with the wheel being split in two halves with low adhesion detailers tape and the valet pro bilberry alloy wheel cleaner being sprayed onto one side and the P21s onto the other.

Both were applied to the wheels dry and without the benefit of a pre-wash or soak. Both wheel cleaners were left on for 5 minutes and then jet washed off for a look at the initial results.

A soft microfibre wheel brush i.e. one without any stiff bristles was then used to get into the narrow curves between the spokes of these particular wheels followed by a final rinse with the jet wash to remove any remaining cleaner.

Which Is The Best Alloy Wheel Cleaner ?

The results of this head to head test to establish which of these two could be considered the best alloy wheel cleaner can be seen in the following short video:

P21S 10001R Wheel Cleaner Refill, 1000 ml
  • Gently cleans brake dust from wheels
  • Safe for all wheel type
  • Gentle and effective formula
  • German Formula
P & S PROFESSIONAL DETAIL PRODUCTS - Brake Buster Wheel Cleaner - Non Acid, Removes Brake Dust, Oil, Dirt & Light Corrosion (1 Gallon)
  • This acid-free wheel, tire, and brake cleaner is safe for all wheel types and finishes, including, steel, aluminum, chrome, paint, powder coat, and more. This cleaner is harsh on removing brake dust, iron, and road fallout, but easy on your rims.
  • Restore your tires and wheels to a factory-fresh color. Just spray it on, let it clean, and agitate with a soft bristle brush on the face, barrel, tire, and brake parts to break up stubborn contaminants. Just spray with water afterward and clean with a microfiber towel.
  • Can be used straight from the bottle or diluted in a foam sprayer. This product can be diluted in any foam sprayer to create a generous foram that easily lifts first, brake dust, and road contaminants from the wheel and tire.
  • Leaves a protective coating that helps repel any future tarnishing, staging, or grime buildup. In addition, you can easily and safely apply wheel and tire sealants to extend the life of your clean and shiny wheels.


  • Checkmate
    Posted May 8, 2014 9:23 pm 0Likes

    Naff test. Apart from inconclusive results most want to know what to do with baked on dust, not just three months of not washing. This wheel came out looking like new which was probably what it was a couple of months ago whereas my Freelander with 70k has an orange tinge to the wheels and neither of these are going to cut it.

    • Rob Mobberley
      Posted May 10, 2014 6:46 am 0Likes

      Checkmate – thank you for your comment. I can tell you a little more about the vehicle. It was a 2003 VW T4 Automatic with 18″ alloy wheels. The wheels had apparently been fitted in about 2010 and being auto did suffer quite heavily from brake dust contamination as it was used daily.

      I note you are looking for more of “how to remove caked on brake dust” type guide and review and will look to include that in the plan of future articles. Thanks again for you input – much appreciated.


      • Checkmate
        Posted May 19, 2014 10:37 am 0Likes

        Hi Rob – sorry, was probably feeling a little despondent with the products I have tried. Having taken into account the vehicles usage perhaps I should try the product before rubbishing it! Many thanks for posting. Nigel

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