6 Steps To Properly Clean and Maintain Your Wheels

Have you tried cleaning your wheels and have found that it’s more difficult than what you thought it was going to be? Depending on the type of wheel that you have, you can find yourself missing a lot of spots due to the lack of tools and most part knowledge that you need for proper cleaning. 

In this article, I’m going to cover the 6 steps you need to take so your wheel is properly cleaned. You’ll see that word come up a lot through this blog post as that’s what we’re going for- a proper cleaning. One that will give you great results each and every single time. 

Of course, you can always come up with your own ways once you get use to the ones I’m going to recommend. My steps are by no means concrete steps, these are merely the steps I have used when I’ve detailed hundreds of customers cars. 

Step 1: Clean The Inside Of The Wheel 

Without a doubt this is the biggest part people miss to clean when it comes time to clean the wheels. They’ll get the face, spokes, and lugs nut areas, but they sure won’t clean the inside of the wheel. This is why it is often black and deteriorated. 

You’ll want to lightly mist the wheel with water, then use a wheel cleaner, I personally use an all-purpose-cleaner, and to spray the inside of the wheel. 

Then, take a long bristle brush like an EZ Detail brush or Daytona Speed Master and agitate the entire inside of the wheel. 

Step 2: Clean The Backside Of The Spokes

While you’re cleaning the inside of the wheel, use a towel to clean the back of the spokes. Yes, the part that hardly no one will ever see. 

Although no one can see it, there are wheels that you’ll still be able to see a little bit of dirt. This can ruin the entire image of the car. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just make sure you’re getting as much as you can (if your wheel design allows you to do so). 

Step 3: Clean The Face Of The Wheels 

The reason we start with cleaning the back of the wheel in step 1 is so in step 3, we can complete the wheel without working over our steps. 

You’ll probably get a lot of dirt and brake dust on the face of the wheel in step 1, so now in step 2 we’re going to clean all that off. 

You can use flagged bristle brush or skinny lug nut brush to clean the face of the wheel. If you have large spokes, you can use a bigger brush. If you have really tight, individual spokes, then you may need to use a smaller brush. 

It all depends on the design and complexity of the wheels. 

Step 4: Clean The Details 

I’ve noticed on a lot of cars, the lug nut area and the small valleys between the spokes are always the areas that get damaged the most. That’s because people are not paying attention to the details. 

It’s easy to clean the spokes of the wheel since that’s the most obvious and common thing to do. But to get proper results and make your wheel last a long time at a like-new condition, you’ll want to consider all the details. 

You can either use a towel or a smaller brush, I’d go with the smaller brush so you don’t hurt your fingers. Simply take a look at all the details of the wheel, spray the area with APC, and agitate with your small brush.

Step 5: Rinse The Wheel 

Now the most obvious step after you’ve done all the cleaning is to rinse off the wheel! Start from top to bottom and push everything down. Since all the dirty and brake dust is loose, you don’t have to put the water hose or pressure washer on an extreme jet setting. 

It doesn’t need that much pressure, so a light pressure with a bit of water will do the trick. This is also the part where you can check for any last details or areas you may have missed. 

Don’t think you didn’t do a good job because you missed spots. I still miss spots all the time. Just  double check your work and clean what you missed. 

Step 6: Dry The Wheel 

If you leave the wheel wet, once you start driving, all the water that’s in the pockets of the wheels like between the tire and the wheel or the lug nut pockets will swing al that water on your car. 

This makes for an eye sore as you’ll have your car and wheel clean, but there will be tiny small streaks of water and dirty simply because you didn’t dry the wheel. 

You can do it with a towel, a dry towel. But if you have an electrical leaf blower, an air compressor, or a tool like the Metro SideKick, you can use it to blow all the standing water out of the tires and pockets of the wheels. 


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