Wheel cleaners have been around forever (it feels like). Hydrofluoric acids to color-changing sodium thioglycolates. What makes one better than the other is hard to say without knowing the exact issue, material, and age of each wheel.
Wheel acids are amazing at their job, but if used incorrectly can permanently damage your wheels. Much the same as a scalpel in the hands of a seasoned surgeon can be equivalent to artistry, but in the hands of a novice can be quite bloody.
What does all this have to do with Plum? I’ve removed the heavy acids for safety and ease of use and replaced them with alkaline cleaners.
I removed the color-changing aspect because as I’ve come to learn more…it was more for show than for go.
However, Plum is still purple because it’s called plum. Purple. Plum. Get it? It also smells amazing.
Aside from the history lesson, Plum is designed for the driver in his driveway after a drive. It’s incredibly effective alkaline, much safer to you and your rims by encapsulating the brake dust and agitating it away from the surface, unlike acids that eat the brake dust metal but sometimes your metal wheels too.
If Plum and Brute can’t get your wheels clean with a bit of elbow grease, find a professional with experience using strong acids, neutralizers and who has all the proper safety equipment and tools to capture acids.
NOTES: What does acid do. It eats metal. Brake dust is iron oxide = metal. Bird poo is also acid but it eats your paint. Acids work great on uncoated wheels, but over 90% of rims are painted. So you are not dealing with bare metal..its paint. Surfactant which encapsulates the brake dust to pop it out of the paint to rinse it away safely without further damage to the clear coat. If you have an acid and left it on there it will continue to eat without neutralizing. Surfactant = separate vs Acid = eating. Creates a bubble.
1. Best when used on excessively dirty rims.
2. Pre-rinse wheel with water.
3. Spray liberally on rim, and let sit for 20-30 seconds.
4. Use your tools and wheel mitt to agitate the brake dust from the rim.
5. Rinse off prior to moving to the next wheel.
NOTE: DO NOT use on hot wheels or allow to dry on wheel.
A: Yes, HOWEVER, it is 100% dependant on the quality of the wheel's finish. If the wheel is "aftermarket", always test the cleaner on the inner barrel, when the wheel is cool, and after pre-rinsing. Some "high-production" wheel finishes can be removed with any cleaners, regardless of strength.Q: Will Plum stain tires or paint?
A: Plum will not stain rubber. There is an increased chance of staining, if the vehicle has single-stage paint and Plum is left to dry without rinsing.Q: How long should Plum sit before rinsing off?
A: Assuming the wheel is cool to the touch and pre-rinsed, 30 seconds (during agitation).Q: Is Plum safe for use with cars equipped with Carbon Ceramic Brakes?
A: Yes, but is not recommended nor necessary in most cars with CCB's.Q: Will Plum strip a wheel coating?
I don’t know what quest Larry went on to find the formula for this stuff, but it’s pure magic. Ordinarily I’m scrubbing the brake dust off my Type R’s wheels at risk of a repetitive stress injury. I used this after a track day and the brake dust melted away with just a stern look. Definitely recommend, it has found a permanent place in my detailing arsenal.
Love the wheel cleaner, not afraid to use it on any customers cars, even high-end ones. I did have some issues with other brands before I found this. Excellent product but smells a little funny! I don’t care about the smell, I just love that works on caked-on brake dust on neglected cars. My go-to now.
I like the way Plum does not eat away the metal on my wheels like other chemicals do. Thanks Larry!