On test: Kleers wheel cleaner

On test: Kleers wheel cleaner

The TotallyMotor Verdict


Saturday was our Alfa 146’s birthday, or so she must’ve thought. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted me carrying in a big bag of new cleaning products, ready for a not-so-dirty weekend under the hosepipe for a darn good scrub, clean and polish.

Don’t get me wrong; she’s had a weekly hand-clean since I took ownership in December 2010, but she’s not been treated to the full works over every metal, rubber and plastic inch. It’s just been way too cold and snowy to entertain several hours out on the drive with a sponge in my frozen fingers. But the Arctic weather has lifted, the polar bears and penguins have returned to their natural habitats, and I’ve got a full complement of new Kleers cleaning products. She was in for a treat.

But why clean your car by hand, I hear you ask. Well, some of us do and some of us don’t. There’s nothing wrong with using the carwash; hand or robot, but I like to DIY my ride. 

Going over the car by hand gives you the chance to check for any new dints, rust or ground-in dirt, and those auto-washes just don’t do a proper job in my OCD-opinion. And did you know a hand-washing burns quite a few calories, too? So if you’re suffering from a bit of Friday night pie-gobbling-guilt on Saturday morning, do yourself and your car a favour and bust out the bucket. 

So what’s up with these new Kleers products? We’ve all heard of the established brands, but this range of products is new to the market, designed and chemically engineered in the UK by two car enthusiast, car-building, race-driving brothers; Rob and Andy Barnes. These chaps live and breathe automotive and with such a petrol-powered-pedigree I thought I’d better give the new stuff a spin, with our little Italian TotallyMotor motor the happy guinea pig.

The Shampoo:
There’s more to a car shampoo than you may think. Yes it’s a detergent to remove grime from the paint, but it’s specifically designed for paintwork with special ingredients to care for your colour. Never try and save a few pennies by using washing up liquid; it contains salt which as we all know is great for chips but bad for metal.

With a decent shampoo you’re looking for quick grime removal, a streak-free finish that doesn’t require endless rinsing, but enough ‘soapy integrity’ to keep cleaning the car even as the water gets contaminated with dirt from the sponge. So not too soapy as to leave streaks, but soapy enough to give you value per bucket of washing-water coverage.

Ok, so the Alfa wasn’t that dirty, but there was quite heavy grime around the wheels; the sort of greasy dirt that some shampoos can struggle with. But not the Kleers shampoo. 

Just one (big) bucket of warm water prepared with just a dash of the shampoo gave me enough cleaning power to wash the whole car down. This was definitely a first. I’m usually back at the tap 2 or 3 times for a refill, but you get what you pay for and the cheaper shampoos simple don’t wash as well, with the cleaning power soon thinning out as the dirt hits the water. So you have to use more shampoo, ultimately costing you more.

Kleers have marketed their products towards the top-end, with packaging, research and development, and ultimately price reflecting this. But saving me time on the drive is worth a little extra, and with a sweet cherry fragrance wafting up my nose as I worked. 

The results were excellent. Just one bucket with a dash of shampoo cleaned the whole car, and a rinse with the hose revealed squeaky-clean bodywork. 

I dried the car with a deep-pile Kleers Microfibre Finishing Cloth and stepped back to see a now shinning example of Alfa Romeo auto-erotica. Well maybe erotica is a little strong for the ol’ 146, but her good-condition-paint shined up a treat without an additional polish application. I could’ve walked away happy with a very clean car right then, but the OCD kicked in hard. 

Kleers Car Shampoo: £9.99 + VAT for 500ml
www.kleers.com or selected dealers and retail points at major automotive events.

The Wheel Cleaner:
A specific wheel cleaner is supposed to save you scrubbing away at the hardcore grime found on the wheels of your precious car. Sticky brake dust that melts off the brake pads on every journey on every day can stick to alloy wheels like glue. Mix in general road dirt, oil and salt and you’ve got a corrosive mixture that’s hard to shift. 

Spray on the wheel cleaner, let it work for a while and then hose it off. That’s the plan, at least. 

The Kleers wheel cleaning solution is acid-free, PH neutral and non-abrasive. This all may sound more like an advert for the latest age-defying moisturiser, but the wheels get the toughest time of any part of the car and so deserve the sweetest care.

This Kleers product is safe to use on any type of wheel finish, be that the most popular alloy wheels; sometimes painted, sometimes not, and even chrome wheels can be cleaned with this spray. Aggressive cleaners can strip the finish, as I found out a few years ago to my horror. Just imagine brand new, expensive aftermarket wheels all the way from Japan cleaned with an ‘industrial’ acidic cleaner and streaked forever like they’d been splashed with vanilla milkshake. Many a nightmare over that, I can tell you!

Again, the Alfa’s wheels weren’t caked in a year’s worth of nasty stuff, but the more you clean your wheels with a product like this, the longer the wheel’s finish will last and the easier they’ll be to clean next time. 

I wetted the Alfa’s cheeky little 15-inch alloys, sprayed over a little Kleers wheel cleaner and made a cup of tea, with biscuits. Suitably refreshed, I washed the wheels down with a little pressure from the hose and they came up sparkling. You don’t even need to scrub them unless they’re particularly caked, so there really is no excuse not to keep you car’s shoes nice and shiny. 

Kleers Wheel Cleaner: £6.65 + VAT for 500ml
www.kleers.com or selected dealers and retail points at major automotive events.

The Glass Cleaner:
At this wintry time of year, with the sun low in the sky, we can all get hit with a blinding flash of sunlight. It’s a major cause of accidents, you know. 

Keeping your glass streak-free not only puts the detailing-cheery on your freshly-cleaned-car-cake, it allows you maximum vision and protection from those dangerous glares. 

A decent glass cleaner should be a simple case of spray on and wipe off, with no streaks and a good shine left behind. 

I used the Kleers glass cleaner with their ultra-soft Kleers Glass Cloth, designed to partner the cleaner. It’s always worth keeping your glass cleaning cloth separate as a contaminated glass cloth will only leave frustrating streaks behind. These Kleers cloths are bright blue and easily recognised as glass-only.

I also cleaned my interior glass and plastics with this product and found it worked well on all areas, cutting through grime, fingerprints and dust easily, leaving the surface squeaky clean. It’s also good idea to keep some cleaner and tissues in the glovebox for a quick wipe around should your headlights and door mirrors get dirty and less effective during one of the UK’s many dirty downpours.

All in all some great new products from Kleers. I was particularly impressed with the shampoo, but all the products delivered on their cleaning promises. Not the cheapest, but if you value your pride and joy, and particularly if you’re putting your car on display at a show, the Kleers kit is worth the investment. 

Next up we’re getting busy with the tar remover, paint cleaner and finishing wax. The little Alfa will think its Christmas!

Kleers Glass Cleaner: £5.83 + VAT for 250ml
Kleers Glass Cloth: £4.99 + VAT for a 2-cloth pack
www.kleers.com or selected dealers and retail points at major automotive events.

By Daniel Anslow

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