Cleaning Aluminium Wheels: A Detailed Guide For DIYers

wheel cleaning

Approaching a professional car care service provider might not always be a feasible option for those running on a tight budget. Such situations often inspire the DIYer in people, encouraging them to shoulder the responsibility of car wash services. However, such initiatives often backfire on them, leaving behind the car wheels all dirty and ungroomed. Yes, this is one of the most overlooked areas.

Perhaps it’s because of the beliefs held by people that wheels eventually attract grime and soot back into the shining perfection. But have you ever wondered how car detailing services could make a difference? By taking care of little details like the spokes of an aluminium wheel, it leaves behind the vehicle in pristine condition, just as one would notice in showrooms. Honestly speaking, attaining that level of perfection is no rocket science and DIYers can easily achieve it. However, before exploring the step-by-step procedure, let’s first seek the urgency behind wheel cleaning.


Why Do Car Wheels Demand Frequent Cleaning?

Prior to jumping off to the step-by-step process of cleaning, it’s very important to seek the purpose behind for greater motivation. So here’s why you should proceed:

  1. To save your wheels from corrosion due to the abrasive brake dust generated each time one goes out on a ride. Also, to prevent the generalised road grime from affecting it.
  2. To curb the dirty water from splashing back onto the spick and span car body.
  3. To derive immense satisfaction from thorough polishing and cleaning of aluminium wheels, thereby offering a chrome like finish post superior car care.

Step-By-Step Cleaning Process For The DIYers

Here comes the most awaited part, so without wasting a second, let’s take a look into it.

  1. Wash the vehicle wheels first to clean off the grime covering it and don’t forget to keep the water pressure as high as possible so that much of the dirt comes off in the initial step itself.
  2. Invest on a superb wheel cleaner to spray it on each of the wheels
  3. With the help of a soft brush, get rid of any stuck-on grime. If possible, find a lug nut brush to reach the spokes and in between. When conducting this step, remember not to leave the cleaner applied on the wheels to dry off just like that.
  4. Make the most of an all-purpose cleaner to bring out the accumulated dust from between the spokes, using a stiff brush.
  5. Don’t let water spots from leaving a mark. Dry it with the aid of a soft micro fibre towel after a thorough clean up.
  6. Make use of detailing clay for rigorous cleaning, if need be.
  7. Smear some aluminium polish onto the wheels with the help of a clean rag and slowly move over to lug nuts to apply the same. Wipe it clean once done.
  8. Apply wax or a metal sealant onto the wheels with a clean cloth and wipe it clean when it dries off after 10-15 minutes.

How Frequently Should It Be Cleaned?

There’s no hard and fast rule as to the frequency of washing the wheels of your favourite vintage car but it’s usually recommended to go for it every time you invest in car restoration. So that totals to twice a month. However, thorough cleanings should be relatively less frequent, somewhat around 4-6 times a year.


It all crystallises to one thing and that’s your willingness to wash off the dirt from the wheels of your most fancied car. If aesthetics matter to you the most, there’s always urgency. So trust your power of judgement and go ahead with your plans. If necessary, you may always hire a professional to cover it for you, on your behalf. After all, there’s always a sense of pride in driving a spot-free car.