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P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner
P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner
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Old 07-26-09, 10:57 AM   #1
severe
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Default P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

I did this long while ago but never had time to re-size the images and post up results. Some of you may remember this started in the 'caked on brake dust' thread where I argued the necessity for using P21S over Mothers FX so I got both products and did my own test.

here's are my short review:
Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner (with oxalic acid)
  • short soak
  • light brake dust: spray on hose off application in under 5 minutes with excellent results
  • heavy brake dust: spray on and hose off yields removal of 80% of the brake dust
  • heavy brake dust: spray on and agitation with a cloth + fingers yields good results. Removal of 98% of all brake dust but leaves minor specs here and there.
  • It has a rough toxic smell. I have to hold my breath while spraying otherwise it makes me cough.
  • Per instructions you do need to be careful and not to allow the product to dry. I always spray my fenders down to prevent overspray from drying out on the paint.
P21s Gel
  • Always requires agitation and does not work in a spray on, hose off application AT ALL.
  • light brake dust: spray on, short soak + agitation with brush or cloth, yields the same result as Mothers. Time required is increased to about 20 mins for a wheel due to necessity for agitation.
  • heavy brake dusk: spray on, long soak 30-90mins, agitation with a cloth + fingers. Yields excellent results. The long soak allows the same amount of agitation to remove more. Removal of 99.8% of brake dust and removes nearly all specs.
  • No toxic smell.
  • Can sit on the wheel for long period of time without worry. Also no worry of overspray on paint.
  • Very surprising result at the end of the detailed review.
In short it's my opinion that both are good products with their own strengths and weaknesses. I will now keep stock of both. I also did some research regarding oxalic acid (active ingredient of the Mothers FX product) and found nothing that would sway me from using this on a consitent basis.

I found the best form of agitation is to use a cloth backed by your fingers to get all the nooks and crannies. The brush just couldn't get into the spaces properly so I had abandoned it for everything other than cleaning around my lug nuts. This review was my first time using this brush for entire wheel cleaning.

Detailed Review: About 2-3 weeks worth of brake dust after approximately 750-1000 mostly highway miles.

Tools: hose, boars hair brush, some old cloth rag, P21S Gel, Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner. Disregard googone, someone had it as a suggestion for removing caked on brake dust. I had some lying around but it basically does nothing, I felt soap and water would have been more worthwhile.


Ill start with the rear wheels.
As you can see they have some light brake dust:



Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner on light brake dust: 2 min soak, no agitation, hose off. total time spent 5 mins, result excellent.


P21S Gel on light brake dust: 30min soak, agitation using the boars hair brush, hose off: total time spent about 20-30 mins for agitation, result excellent.


As you can see both products resulted in a clean wheel. However P21S is not capable of removing the dust without agitation (I tried at first) and as such took MUCH more effort and time to get the same result as Mothers FX.

Winner for light brake dust is Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner.

____

On to the front wheels, which have a nice thick layer of brake dust especially where the spoke meets the outside of the wheel.



Half a wheel with Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner:


Mothers FX side 2 min soak with no agitation, hose off


Other half of wheel with P21S with short ~15 mins soak (2 min soak written in image is not correct) and boars hair brush for agitation

Heres the result:


As you can see Mothers without agitation was insufficient to remove all the brake dust but for 5 minutes time resulted in roughly the same thing as P21S with the boars hair brush. So far to me Mothers is still on top based on time. At this point I abandoned the brush since it was not able to get into those nooks and crannies properly. I had just bought the brush and was testing it out. I now switched back to my proven method the old rag + my fingers applying pressure.

I finished cleaning that wheel with both products and had noticed something, P21S with a longer soak and using the cloth rag seemed to remove more of those stubborn specs but at this point it was not conclusive.

So I moved on to the other side to test. First cleaning with Mothers , removing as much as I possibly could and really putting all my effort on those stubborn brake dust specs in order to remove as much as possible, then following up with P21S and a 1 hour soak and again using the Cloth to work those stubborn specs left behind by Mothers FX. Here's the result.

You can see some brake dust specs after my best go at it with Mothers FX:


As you can see the P21S follow up in the same spot removed many more specs.


Another comparison in a different location:
Best effort with Mothers FX in those difficult to reach spots


P21S followup, still required some effort but I was able to get them to come out to 99.9%



BUT, THIS IS WHAT SOLD ME ON P21S. I had some paint smudge on my rims, from the factory I assume. This had seen Mothers FX through at least 5 washes and had always stayed as is. After the P21S application it was nearly GONE . I checked another wheel that had the same thing, and P21S removed nearly most of the smudge there as well. I don't have before shots really because i was not expecting this in the least so I made approximate outline of the original size of the smudge.



Winner for Stubborn Brake Dust Areas is P21S Gel

So P21S is a worthwhile product. I believe simply by virtue of a long soak it's able to lift more from the surface. It doesn't make the work any easier, but it does make the effort you put in result in more stubborn specs and caked on dust to be removed. So I will be using it after 2-3 washes to help bring the rims back to like new condition.

For light washes, and if you cant allow P21S to soak, Mothers can provide nearly as good a result. On light brake dust, Mothers requires basically 0 effort this is important to me considering this is a daily, and i don't have time to spend on 1 hour soaks and 2-3 hours cleaning my rims.

Last edited by severe; 07-26-09 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 07-26-09, 02:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

Ok the p21s is a really good wheel cleaner imo, but my question is, is there a wheel wax out there that can protect the rim from brake dust or other contaminents that will last for a while
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Old 07-26-09, 03:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

any wax will do. just take your favorite wax that you use on the rest of your car. no need to buy two types of wax


ps: try to compare against meguiars all wheel cleaner (the purple bottle)
i once tested ps21 against it, and i've been using meguiars ever since.


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Old 07-27-09, 12:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

nice review of the product.
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Old 07-27-09, 05:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

Quote:
Originally Posted by jph View Post
ps: try to compare against meguiars all wheel cleaner (the purple bottle)
i once tested ps21 against it, and i've been using meguiars ever since.
i believe i tried it long time ago, but it was so long ago i cant be sure now. do you have a bottle on you handy. i'm curious what the active ingredients are.
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Old 07-27-09, 07:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

Really great review. I have never used the P21S but I fell in love with the Mothers FX after first use. My personal conclusion after reading the review is that I will use the Mothers FX with the regular wash but then use the P21S when I put my summer wheels away for the winter. I drive about 500 miles per week and I can't be spending 2-3 hrs on my wheels each time I was my car.
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Old 07-27-09, 11:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

Great write up... I tried to use p21 or my winter wheels with years worth of gunked on stuff. It didnt get close to clean. I think i may try em one more time but let the p21 soak for an hour.
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Old 07-27-09, 11:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

Quote:
Originally Posted by severe View Post
i believe i tried it long time ago, but it was so long ago i cant be sure now. do you have a bottle on you handy. i'm curious what the active ingredients are.
i need to check when i get home from work i think that i may have used up my last bottle, not sure if i threw it out or if it's still sitting in a corner of the garage. i'll let you know. either way, i need to buy a new bottle anyway.


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Old 07-29-09, 10:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

I've used turtle wax's Wheel Clean with good results, needs some aggitation, but nothing heavy, and doesn't need more then 2 min to soak, I typically have no problem removing 98-100 percent of the brake dust, just depends on how much effort I put in
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Old 07-29-09, 10:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: P21S Gel vs Mothers FX Wheel Cleaner

Quote:
Originally Posted by severe View Post
i believe i tried it long time ago, but it was so long ago i cant be sure now. do you have a bottle on you handy. i'm curious what the active ingredients are.
ok, so it does not mention any ingredients on the bottle... must be top secret


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