How To Clean Alloy Wheels

Alloy wheels are often the main feature of a car and also the most likely part that’s going to be the dirtiest when it needs a clean. Within this article, we walk you through how to clean your alloy wheels in order to achieve a spotless finish with ease.

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How To Clean Alloy Wheels
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Cleaning your wheels is often the worst part of washing your car due to the stubborn dirt. From road grime to brake dust, the dirt can be difficult to clean and be very time-consuming for certain alloy wheel designs with multiple spokes.

If you are new to car detailing or want to find the most efficient way to clean your alloy wheels, the below guide walks you through everything you need to know in great detail.

Using Dedicated Cleaners

Your alloy wheels pick up far more dirt than any other part of the car and it’s worthwhile investing in one of the best alloy wheel cleaners to give you a helping hand. Most are spray-on formulas that break down the dirt on the wheels and can then be simply rinsed off with water. Depending upon the formula you use, some cleaners turn a different colour, which is very satisfying to watch.

However, it’s worth mentioning that you want to use a dedicated cleaner that’s completely safe. For example, some formulas may be too strong for fragile wheels or those with chrome or diamond-cut components. For testing purposes, we used both of the Autoglym formulas and the only difference is that the “Custom” formula is suitable for all wheel types.

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What You’ll Need

  • Wheel cleaner (optional)
  • Pressure washer (optional)
  • Car shampoo
  • Wheel brush (optional)
  • Wash mitt
  • Access to water and a hose pipe

How To Clean Your Alloy Wheels

1. Wash Away Any Loose Dirt

To begin cleaning your alloy wheels, you will first want to wash away any loose dirt with water. If you own a car pressure washer, using the powerful spray will make blasting away any dirt much easier.

2. Apply The Cleaning Product

Using the dedicated cleaner of your choice, spray the formula all over the wheels and allow time for it to get to work.

3. Agitate With A Brush

Depending upon the formula you use will determine if it’s recommended that you agitate the cleaner. If the instructions state that agitation is required, use an alloy wheel brush and work your way around the wheel. You will want to ensure you go in and out with the brush through each spoke for the best results.

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4. Thoroughly Rinse The Wheels With Water

Once the cleaner has had enough dwell time or has changed colour, you can proceed to rinse the wheels with water.

5. Clean The Wheels Again With Shampoo

After rinsing the wheels, we would recommend cleaning them again with quality car shampoo. Although this may seem pointless, it helps to achieve a spotless finish and clean away dirt that wasn’t removed with the cleaner.

6. Apply A Wheel Wax/Sealant & Dressing

Now that the wheels have been cleaned, you will want to keep them that way for as long as possible. In order to retain the clean appearance, you can apply a wheel sealant, which repels dirt and helps to keep them clean. You can also use a tyre dressing to improve the aesthetics of the tyres and make the clean wheels stand out even more.

Before And After

Dirty Wheel Before
Cleaned Wheel After

As the wheels weren’t that dirty (we clean them quite often), there isn’t a huge transformation but the finished result is a very clean alloy wheel. The wheels are on my daily driver, so they are quite curbed, which meant that we used the Autoglym Custom Cleaner in order to clean the corroded wheels safely.


Cleaning your alloy wheels is often the least favourite part of washing your car but also the most satisfying. Our guide on how to clean your alloy wheels is suitable for all wheel types and takes just minutes per wheel to do. However, if you are a keen detailing enthusiast, you may wish to go a step further and even remove the wheels to clean the insides too.

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