Tire & Wheel Care

How to Clean Car Rims and Wheels? – 5 Simple Steps

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to clean car rims and wheels

Do you know that clean wheels mean safe car travel? Indeed! When the tires and rims are dirty, they are susceptible to contaminants that may damage your wheel.

With this, you need to schedule the maintenance cleaning of your car rims and wheels. Not only do they ensure your safety, but clean tires and rims complete that overall aesthetic look every car owner wants to project.

In this article, we give you easy steps on how to clean car rims and wheels like a real professional.

5 Easy Steps to Clean Car Rims and Wheels


We give you wheel cleaning hacks that you can follow for a better do-it-yourself experience in pampering your four-wheel ride.

What You Need:

  • Car Washing Soap – Any Commercial Product or Water, Baking Soda, and Dish Soap Mixture. In choosing your ring wheel cleaner, refrain from acid-based products since they can damage the coats of your wheels.
  • High-Pressure Water Hose
  • Wheel Cleaning Brush – Choose a product with soft bristles so as not to scratch your tires and rims. Another point to consider is the arm of the brush. A flexible long-stemmed brush can get you as far as the hard-to-reach areas.
  • Car Protective Coat – Some of the popular protective coats in the market with the best reviews are Chemical Guys Hydroslick, and Adam’s Polishes, among others.
  • Microfiber Cloths
  • Bucket of Water
  • Wheel Cleaner

So, how do you clean dirty rims and wheels? Just follow the following steps:

Step 1: Hose the Gunks Away


Turn off the engine and let it cool down before cleaning. Do so before cleaning from 30 minutes to an hour for your safety.

Then, it is time to clean the rims on a car using the water hose. Point the high-pressure water hose to the brims to wash the rims from loose and large dirt.

After the rims, clean the wheel as well. Point the hose on areas that have acquired dirt the most.

Step 2: Rub the wheels and rims with chosen cleaner


Read the instructions before you use the product. Generally, you can apply the cleaner directly onto the surfaces that require cleaning.

Then, use the wheel-cleaning brush to clean your tires with brake dust, and grease. Do not proceed to the next step without scrubbing the stubborn dirt on your wheels.

In a car rim cleaning, it is important not to leave out any small corners yet not apply too much force that risks scratching.

Step 3: Rinse the cleaner off


Take your high-pressure water hose and rinse off the car rims cleaner, along with the loosened dirt and gunk. Make sure that you have washed away all the residues on the nut holes, spokes, and other parts.

Step 4: Wash with Car Washing Soap and Rinse

Mix a commercially purchased car washing soap in a bucket of water and soak a microfiber towel for another round of car rim cleaning. Scrub the outer and inner portions in a circular direction to clean the wheel.

  • Helpful Tip: If you have no commercially purchased car washing soap, you can make one at home. You can add 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 1⁄2 cup of baking soda to a bucket of water.

Resoak and squeeze the dirty microfiber towel and resoak from time to time to ensure a filth-free cleaning.

Go for another round of rinsing the rims and wheels using the high-pressure water hose. Bubbles and residue must be all washed-out by pointing the water hose to the interior and exterior parts.

Step 5: Dry and Protect Your Wheel


Air dry for 2 to 5 minutes. Then, pat the wheels with a microfiber towel to dry them completely.

  • Helpful Tip: Note that you may have to use several microfiber cloths to finish drying the four wheels of your car. It may seem like a lot of work, but the result is worth the hard work.

To complete the cleaning process, apply a protective coat to ensure the health of your rims and wheels.

A good protective coat will guard your rims and wheels against corrosion, with oxidation and brake pad dust as primary reasons.

What is the Best Thing to Clean Car Rims With?


Aside from the car rim cleaners you can purchase in the market, you can also make your cleaning solution home by mixing water, dish soap, and baking powder.

The following cleaning solutions will significantly aid in quickly rinsing off gunk, grime, and dirt with water:

  • Oven Cleaner
  • Dish Soap
  • WD-40 – recommended for spot-clean grease and dirt on the rim
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cola (or soft drink with gas in general) with lemon juice


Cleaning the wheels and rims needs time and effort. But when we love our cars, this is nothing compared to the comfort and ease they bring to our lives. So, grab your rim cleaning kit and start the process!

By learning how to clean car rims and wheels, you ensure your safety and your passengers, too. You also bring out the best way to present your car to your family and other people: a clean car from inside and out, top to bottom!

5/5 - (2 votes)

Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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