Cleaning Alloy Wheels & Split Rims

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Appearances aside, all alloy wheels must be kept clean to preserve their finish and to minimise the onset of corrosion. Although unpainted wheels will quickly corrode if not cared for, painted and powder coated wheels will also quickly deteriorate if dirty water and brake dust finds its way under chips and curb marks.

As a general rule you should aim to clean your wheels on a weekly basis along with your car’s routine maintenance wash. Once your wheels have been thoroughly cleaned and protected with a suitable wax, sealant or coating, regular car shampoo is all it should take to keep your wheels in top condition.

      1. Begin by thoroughly rinsing your wheels with a garden hose or pressure washer to loosen and soften the dirt on the surface of the wheel. Snow foam can also be used at this stage as a pre-wash.

      2. Take a bucket filled with water and regular car shampoo, then using a microfibre wash mitt gently wipe down all exposed surfaces of the wheel. Sometimes this is all it takes to clean a set of wheels and if this is the case, finish the job by rinsing them down again with clean water. If there are areas which you can’t quite reach, move on to step 3.

      3. Choose an appropriate brush/cleaning tool that’s suitable for the design of your wheels. These are some of our favourites:
        • Wash Tool Suggestions:
          • EZ Detail Mini Brush: These brushes are perfect for cleaning wheels with intricate spoke designs. Simply dip it in your bucket and push into the space you need to clean. Twist the brush at the same time for the best cleaning effect.
          • Wheel Woollies: Coming in packs of three (small, medium and large), wheel woollies are made from lambs’ wool and are very gentle yet hard wearing. The small brush will fit in places where the EZ detail brush can’t and the largest size is perfect for cleaning wheel barrels behind spokes. These can also be used between spokes in the same way as the EZ detail brush.
          • Detailing Brushes: If your wheels have exposed hardware or small recessed designs, a detailing brush is indispensable. For cleaning the lips and bolts of split rims, wet the detailing brush in your bucket before agitating the dirt on and around the bolts. Our current favourite is the Swissvax Wheel Brush which uses natural hairs that are gentle to polished rims while still cleaning effectively.

      4. Once your wheels have been thoroughly cleaned, give them a rinse with clean water and protect them if you haven’t already done so – it’ll make the job easier next time and they’ll look better for longer.


All information on this page is credited to Wheel Shrine: