How to Properly Clean Wheels

You have bought alloy wheels and given your car a much-needed upgrade. You have noticed the improved ride quality and increased aesthetic appeal of the rims as your vehicle turns heads. But just buying high-quality aftermarket wheels that appeal to the eye is not enough. Soon you realize that like all good things, the attraction of your aftermarket rims is decreasing. The glossy finish is fading and your carefully chosen, eye-catching, design of rim is hidden somewhere in the dirt and debris.Then clean wheels will be the option for you.

Well, you have landed on the perfect place to get your alloy wheels business sorted. Read to find out how to professionally and safely clean your alloy rims and wheels and make them as good as a new pair of wheels.

clean wheels

Start With Inspecting for Curb Rash

Like any professional, start with diagnostics. Inspect the alloy wheels thoroughly and search for curb rash, scuffing or any other deformities in the rims and tires all around. If you live in an area with numerous potholes or your daily commute includes bypassing rough patches, you might be surprised to find a few curb rash. Otherwise, it would still be covered with dirt, tar, mud and other filth.

If it’s just the latter, good news! You can restore the cosmetic damage without much elbow grease. But if there are dents or scuffs, you might even need to get a fresh pair of alloy wheels. If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg and want to experiment with something different, affordable aftermarket wheels are a good option, contrary to a high-end repair shop which would cost roughly the same, if not more.

Alloy Wheels Cleaning Essentials

To thoroughly clean alloy wheels, you need to follow a few steps. Following things should be required alongside access to water, free space, and some microfiber cloths.

PH Neutral Wheel Cleaning Product

Choose the wheel cleaner corresponding to your finish. A simple google search will land you with a good number of options. If you are unable to make the choice, you can always choose an all surface PH neutral product. Additionally, investing in an indicative product might also be beneficial.

Tar Cleaner

Not an absolute necessity but tar cleaner works great if your rims have tar residue. Also, it goes an extra mile in saving your wheels from scratches that might form as a result of raw scraping.

Wheel Dressers

A wheel dressing product will come in handy to protect the finish of your alloy wheels after the wash and improve.

A Pair of Brushes

A variety of brushes with varying handle length, mitt sizes, and stiffness will be required to provide clearance for different spaces like arches, spoke area, calipers etc. These usually come in form of kits and can be bought easily at a local store for a few bucks.

Jet hose

Getting a high pressure water jose will do wonders here. It increases productivity and reduces the effort on your part.

Clean Wheels

Now that you have gathered all the essentials, you can get to the cleaning of wheels. Remember! Always start with one wheel to avoid simultaneous mess. Automobile detailing is time and effort-intensive, but the result is worth it. So buckle up and embrace the process.

Step 1: Rinse and Wipe

Start by unscrewing the alloy wheels and detaching them from the body. If It seems too much of a hassle, you can use a jack to lift it a few inches. Using the power spray, give the wheels a nice rinse, covering the arches and small gaps. The big chunks of filth (if any) will come off at this point alongside a little dirt. But if they don’t, you can force them to come out.

After a thorough clean, allow the excess water to flow away. Let it sit for a few minutes and wipe off the remaining water with a dry cloth.

Step 2: Applying the Cleaner

This part requires some extra attention. Especially if your car has aftermarket wheels, be very wary of selecting the product you use.

Apply a thin coat of the cleaner and let it sit for a good 30 to 50 seconds. It can also be used on arches and calipers. Within a few seconds, the cleaner will show its magic and the change of color in indicator will appear.

Using the above-mentioned brushes, start scrubbing the alloy wheels bottom up. Use the long handle one to reach the brake calipers, the thicker one for arches and so on. Continue the scrub for a good few minutes and then let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing it off.

Step 3: Applying the Tar Cleaner

A clear and impressive change will be visible after the first wash only. But the residues of tar will be left unmoved. For that, you have to apply the tar chemical. In little bursts, spray it over the residues and let it sit.

After a couple of minutes, the rock-hard tar will start to loosen up and fade away with water. This is your cue to start agitating the rims. With a few gentle strokes, all the tar will be out.

Step 4: Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

Now that the wheel is cleaner than before, reapply the cleaning product and repeat the whole process. The goal here is to keep doing so until the indicator no longer changes color.

Step 5: Dressing the Wheel

To preserve all the hard work you have done, coat the wheel with a dressing of your liking. It not only gives UV protection but adds to the finish of the wheel.

A pro-tip is don’t ever apply chemicals under direct sunlight. It can cause spotting and chemicals can dry on the surface. Instead, use a shaded place or evening time to do the detailing.


So there you have your crystal clear sparking alloy wheels. Using the above method of cleaning is second to giving your wheels another life. The products mentioned above can be easily bought from the nearest car store.

We sell high-quality aftermarket wheels, from replica wheels to forged wheels, which do not easily get damaged and can be cleaned easily to maintain their original condition.

Get in touch to make the best deals in wheels!

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