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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Wheels

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Wheels



When it comes to car detailing, wheels often get overlooked. However, they're one of the most crucial parts of your vehicle's appearance. Dirty wheels can detract from your car's overall look, even if the rest of it is spotless. Here's a step-by-step guide to ensure your wheels shine as brightly as the rest of your car.


  1. Gather Your Supplies

Wheel Cleaning Brush

Before you start, ensure you have the following:

Wheel & Rubber Cleaners: Regardless of which products you choose, we always recommend to check your owner’s manual and follow the recommended cleaning instructions. Once you’ve done that, make sure to research and choose cleaning formulas that are suited for your specific needs. We like to utilize cleaners that are designed for the job at hand: Iron-Removing Wheel Cleaner for the rims, spokes and barrels, and a quality rubber cleaner for tough areas like tires.

A variety of brushes:


  1. Pre-Rinse Your Wheels

 Car Detailing - Pre Rinse Wheels

Before applying any cleaning products, give your wheels a good rinse with water. This will remove any loose dirt and debris, making the cleaning process more effective.


  1. Apply Wheel Cleaner

 Car Detailing - Wheel Cleaner

Spray your chosen wheel cleaner generously onto the wheel. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, but don't let it dry. The cleaner will break down the dirt, grime, and brake dust, making it easier to scrub off.


  1. Scrub-a-Dub-Dub

If your wheel style allows, start with the cone-style wheel brush and clean the inner parts of the wheel. This brush is designed to reach the back of the wheel, ensuring a thorough clean.

Car Detailing - Cone Style Wheel Brush


Next, use the soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the face of the wheel. For stubborn spots, you can apply a bit more wheel cleaner. 

Lastly, use the stiff-bristled brush to scrub the tires. This will remove any dirt and give them a fresh look.


  1. Rinse and Repeat

Once you've scrubbed every part of the wheel and tire, rinse them thoroughly with water. Ensure all the cleaning product is washed away to prevent any residue.

Car Detailing - Wheel Rinse 


  1. Dry Your Wheels


Water spots can ruin your hard work. Use a microfiber towel to dry your wheels thoroughly. These towels are super absorbent and will ensure a spot-free finish.


  1. Where Does Wheel Cleaning Fall in the Overall Car Washing Process? 

It's best to clean your wheels first before washing the rest of your car. Here's why:

  • Prevent cross-contamination: Dirty wheels can have abrasive particles. Cleaning them first ensures you don't transfer this dirt to the body of your car.
  • Avoid water spots: If you wash your car first, water will spray back onto the clean surfaces as you move around and wash your wheels.


In Conclusion:

Clean wheels can make a huge difference in your car's overall appearance. With the right products and techniques, you can ensure they always look their best. Remember, regular maintenance is key. By cleaning your wheels regularly, you'll prevent buildup and make the cleaning process easier each time.


Happy detailing!

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1 comment

  • Is there any wax or treatment that can be applied to rims to make it easier to remove brake dust ? Washing and detailing the factory rims on my late model Shelby mustang is time consuming.
    Thanks Chris

    Chris Nantau

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