How to Clean Aluminum Wheels and Rims

A lot of people want to clean their cars, but oftentimes they just simply don’t know how or don’t know where to start. So they just drive it to the car wash. But what if you are one of those that know how to clean your car but just not the wheels and rims specifically?

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Well, I’m here to tell you, that if you can clean windows, you definitely can clean wheels. In this article, I will show you an easy way on how to clean aluminum wheels and rims, showing you the noob way, in my experience with cleaning aluminum wheels.

When you have a clean car, not only will you have a nice ride, but you will improve your car’s overall health and performance.

How to Clean Aluminum Wheels and Rims: The DIYer Way

So first, as a DIYer myself, I will explain how you can clean your aluminum wheels with common household items/cleaners. I will also explain how to polish your wheels.

Materials

  • lemon juice (or coca-cola)
  • baking soda
  • dawn (degreaser kind)
  • microfiber towel
  • garden hose (pressure washer)
  • sponge
  • spray bottle
  • pot or bucket
  • funnel
  • spoon
  • Remove Wheels for Your Car (Optional)

Now, this part is optional, you don’t have to do this, You can definitely clean your wheels without taking it off the car, but if you do decide to remove the wheels off, that’s fine as well.

Don’t worry, I will keep it simple!

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Household Cleaner

Take a medium-size pot from your kitchen, or you can use a bucket and fill it up with water. I typically don’t do any measurements, sometimes I will but for this, it is not required.

Pour the entire thing of lemon juice into the pot with the water. You can literally get lemon juice at Walmart for a dollar. You can also use coca-cola too. Yes, the same refreshing taste of coke you drink at the movies. Yum!

Anyway, I just use lemon juice though. Grab some dawn, the kind that is for de-greasing specifically. Squeeze some into the pot and mix all that around with a spoon.

Transfer the cleaner from your pot to your spray bottle using a funnel.

The Process

  • Use a pressure washer, or you can use a regular garden hose, but I recommend using a pressure washer if you have one, and spray down the wheel first to loosen any grime or dirt. If there is mud, hit that with the water as well.
  • Test a small area with the cleaner at first, then proceed if it’s safe to. Spritz the cleaner on the rim with the spray bottle.
  • Grab a sponge, or microfiber towel and begin to wipe down
  • Rinse and Repeat

Tip: You can also sprinkle some baking soda on your wheel then spritz the mix and wipe down for better shine and clean.

Do this process however many times you need, usually only doing it twice can make your aluminum rims look new again. The key to your wheels looking fresh is if you don’t let the dirt and grime sit there for a super long time.

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I recommend cleaning your wheels like maybe at least once or twice a month. If you travel a lot, you definitely want to do your wheel cleaning twice a month and up.

How to Polish You Aluminum Wheels & Rims

Materials

  • Sandpaper 180 and 1000 grit.
  • Mother’s Aluminum Polish
  • microfiber towel (2 old socks)

Now if you want to polish your aluminum wheels, You will need a polish. I recommend the mother’s aluminum polish one. It works wonders for me!

You can find it on amazon.

  • Get some sandpaper, which you can also find on amazon and begin sanding down your wheels, especially the jagged edges on your wheels, I typically get a 180 and 1000 grit. If your aluminum wheel is more of intricate shape, you might want to use a power ball. Start using the 1000 grit for larger parts, and 180 for smaller parts
  • Once your rim is all nice and sanded, with microfiber take some mother’s polish and smear on the wheel. You can also use, 2 old socks one to apply the polish and one to wipe down. If you see some grayish-black stuff rubbing off, that’s good! That’s what you want to see.
  • Wipe in back and forth motion, don’t do swirls or circles!

That’s it, I hope you learned something! Happy wheel cleaning!