wikiHow to Clean Alloy Wheels

Keeping alloy wheels clean can prevent corrosion. While using soap and water to clean alloy wheels is sufficient, they will really shine when you use solutions and cleaning methods created specifically for alloy products. Use these tips to clean alloy wheels and ensure they look their best for years.


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    Rinse the wheels to remove dirt and brake dust. Spray them with a hose attachment that delivers a fine stream of water.
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    Rub the wheels lightly with a wet sponge. Starting the process this way will remove most of the remaining brake dust and dirt, preventing you from scratching the wheels when you scrub the surface.
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    Remove dirt and debris from alloy wheels with a store bought cleaner. Avoid acid-based cleaners because they tear the lacquer off the wheel.
    • Mix the proper amounts of water and cleaner in a bucket. Read the instructions on the product to find out the correct ratio of water and alloy wheel cleaning solution.
    • Soak a sponge in the bucket of cleaner and water. Squeeze the sponge over the bucket to avoid wasting the cleaner.
    • Scrub the wheels with the sponge. Because you already rinsed and lightly rubbed off much of the dirt, hard scrubbing should not damage the alloy wheels.
    • Use an old toothbrush to clean the crevices in the wheels.
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    Rinse off the solution. Spray the wheels with a hose to remove the cleaner solution. Do one wheel at a time to prevent solution from drying on the wheels when you clean all four at once.
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    Dry the wheels with a microfiber cloth or chamois.
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    Remove stubborn stains from alloy wheels with household items. The following solutions are mildly acidic and should not be left on the surface more than a couple of minutes before they are rinsed and dried thoroughly.
    • Use aluminum foil and cola to remove rust. Sand the wheels with a piece of aluminum foil soaked in cola.
    • Clean grease from alloy wheels with vinegar. Use either cider or white vinegar, as both remove grease.
    • Apply lemon juice to the wheels to make them shine. Let the lemon juice sit on the wheels for 10 minutes, and rinse it off with water.
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    Add wheel wax to protect the alloy surface. Use a wax made especially for alloy wheels, and apply it at least every 3 months.


  • Wipe down the wheels with a wet sponge once a week. This will keep brake dust from getting baked on, reducing the amount of work required when you clean the wheels.
  • For best results, remove the wheels from the car before cleaning them so you can access to every nook and cranny.
  • Do not allow any cleaners that may damage the surface stay on longer than recommended to clean the surface.
  • Avoid getting any cleaner or wax on the brake rotors.


  • Avoid washing the wheels when they are hot. The soap could leave spots on the surface because the water dries quickly.
  • Do not use a steel wool cleansing pad. Steel wool can scratch the surface.
  • Avoid getting any cleaners in your eyes and use safety glasses as required.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose with sprayer attachment
  • Sponge
  • Chamois or microfiber cloth
  • Bucket
  • Alloy wheel cleaner
  • Toothbrush
  • Wheel wax
  • White or cider vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Cola
  • Aluminum foil

Article Info

Categories: Car Maintenance and Repair