Wheel Cleaning Guide

How to clean & care for your wheels

Our latest detailing and car care guide walks you through, step by step the process of safely deep cleaning wheels and tyres, whilst also protecting your alloy wheels ensuring minimal maintenance in the future as part of your car care regime. Alloy wheels can really make or break the look of a car, so its important to keep them clean, we not only show you how to do so easily, but also the tips and tricks for keeping them that way too, with our wheel care and alloy wheel protection guide.

Alloy wheel protection

Typically alloy wheels are amongst the dirtiest part of the car, cleaning them can result in spraying dirt up onto surrounding paintwork, for this reason it is always advised to start the detailing process with cleaning the wheels as the first job, so you don’t cover your freshly cleaned bodywork in brake dust! A dedicated wheel cleaner can be used to clean alloy wheels – but be careful with your car care product of choice, some wheel cleaners are strong, acidic based solutions and whilst they act fast and clean break dust away effectively they can damage specialist wheel types, if possible try to use a non-acidic or acid free wheel cleaner. For this task we offer Imperial, our acid free wheel cleaner. Imperial wheel cleaner will help remove built up grime and brake dust. Or for that deeper clean we offer Iron Out. Iron our is our dedicated iron fall out remover that will safely deep clean your wheels.

Wheel care, alloy wheel protection

Cleaning wheels & tyres

Start by selecting the right wheel cleaner for you. If you have light to medium grime on your wheels Imperial will safely remove this. However if your wheels are extremely dirty with brake dust and other grime Iron Out will be a better detailing product for you. Begin by spraying the surface with your selected wheel cleaner. This will immediately start the wheel cleaning process. Insure both the inner barrel and the face of the wheel are covered with wheel cleaner.

Iron Out de-ironising fallout remover safely removing brake dust and road grime

Imperial non-acidic wheel cleaner safely removing road grime

Cleaning the insides of the wheels:

You will most likely need a detailing brush to reach these areas, and often a selection of different detailing brushes is handy. This will allow you to agitate the dirt in the barrels of the wheels and reach tighter areas such as behind the callipers. Start by dipping the relevant detailing brush into a bucket of clean water with car shampoo. Gently work the grime off of the surface ensuring not to scrub at your wheels, let the product do the work.

Wheel Cleaning Tools use a selection of brushes to clean the insides of your wheels

Cleaning inside the wheel use a Mitt Cloth or brush

At this stage its also advised to clean the backs of the spokes, using a mitt, cloth or detailing brush dependant on wheel style and what’s best suited.

Cleaning behind wheel spokes use a Mitt, Cloth or brush

The wheel face

Once the insides of your wheels are clean, the faces can be cleaned either by spraying on a wheel cleaner and agitating with a wash mitt, or using a specialist wheel brush such as our hog hair detailing brushes, ensuring you get to all the nooks and also the lug nut recesses too.

Cleaning the wheel face can be cleaned either by spraying on wheel cleaner and agitating with a wash mitt, or using a specialist wheel brush

Onto the cleaning your tyres

During the wheel cleaning process your tyres can become neglected, forgotten and missed. Clean tyres are essential to insure maximum durability from your favourite tyre dressing, and tyres often become clogged with old tyre dressing thats accumulated dirt and road grime as much as your wheels have. Simply spray Imperial wheel cleaner onto the tyre and agitate with a detailing brush. This will remove any old layers of tyre dressing and leave a fresh surface ready for a layer of Satin or Gloss tyre finishing products.

Tyre cleaning with Imperial, spray Imperial wheel cleaner onto the tyre and agitate with a detailing brush

Tyre cleaning with Imperial, spray Imperial wheel cleaner onto the tyre and agitate with a detailing brush

Spray, brush, rinse, repeat

Rinsing stage, Spray, brush, rinse, repeat

If bonded contaminates and fallout such as iron and tar still remain its time to deep clean your alloy wheels. After time contaminates such as brake dust and road tar can become bonded to your wheels surface. This is where a second application of Iron Out can help. This will allow more of the iron remover to work on more localised contamination.

Iron contaminate removal, If bonded contaminates such as bonded iron and tar still remain its time to deep clean your wheels

Once you’ve rinsed the iron fall out away its time to remove another common contaminant that can attach its self to your wheels, tar. Simply apply ObliTARate tar remover to the wheel by spraying a fine mist over the face and barrel, immediately you will see it start to attack the bonded tar. Allow this to sit for a couple of minutes and then wipe away the tar with a microfiber cloth.

Applying ObliTARate tar & glue remover

ObliTARate attacking the tar

Wiping away the tar

Once your wheel is fully clean take a microfiber cloth and dry the alloy wheel, both the inner and outer areas not forgetting the the tyre walls too.

Dry the wheel with a microfibre cloth

Protecting your wheels

Once your wheels and tyres are clean and dry its time to add some protection to keep them that way and ease future cleaning. For most the concept of a specific wheel wax is new, however this detailing product plays a vital role if you want minimal maintenance in the future when cleaning your car. Our Mint Rims wheel wax has been designed specifically to withstand the temperatures that wheels are subject to from heat transfer of the braking systems. Apply Mint Rims to a wheel at a time using a yellow applicator. Simply spread an even layer of Mint Rims across the wheel. Mint Rims will then haze over. Once hazed Remove with a fresh microfiber cloth.

The finishing touch

The finishing touch to any clean alloy wheel is a nicely dressed tyre. Satin is a layer-able tyre gel that lets you control the shine. Add a small amount of Satin to a tyre and trim applicator and massage into the tyre. If you want more shine simply add another layer of Satin until your satisfied with the finish.

Applying Satin with a tyre and trim applicator

Massaging in Satin with a tyre and trim applicator

The finished tyre wheel and tyre after cleaning


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