Clean Your Wheels with 9 Easy Steps

Cleaning dirty wheels in less than 15 minutes

Knowing how to clean dirty wheels in less than 15 minutes is a skill every car owner should have. A set of clean and gleaming wheels and rims can enhance the entire look of your vehicle. It’s important that you know how to clean them efficiently in the shortest time while still upholding the highest quality. With the right process and tools, it should only take you under 7 to 10 minutes to clean all four wheels, rims, tires, and fenders.

When cleaning car wheels, you’ll be dealing with dirt and brake dust, which if left untreated for a long time can cause permanent damage on your metal rims. That’s why it’s important to wash the rims and tires first before the rest of the car. This can keep the dirt on the wheels from splashing onto your car’s painted surface.

Although calling an expert mobile detailer with a premium car wash wax service is your best option when dealing with a dirty car, trying to clean it on your own is also great for saving money.

With the knowledge and steps highlighted in this article, you can learn how to clean your steel alloy rims, tires, or fenders like a pro.

Materials Needed to Clean Dirty Tires

Cleaning your own car tires is easy because you can find all the tools you need at home. If you have a bucket, water, pressure washer or garden hose, clean microfiber towels, and dish soap, you can do it.

Brush to use for different types of wheel finish:

  • Powder coated – Use a durable, medium bristle brush
  • Painted – This type of finish must be hand washed only. Use a microfiber wheel brush and towels
  • Chrome – Use durable, medium bristle brush
  • Polished aluminum – Like cars with a painted finish, this must be hand washed only using microfiber towels and brushes

Brush to use for wheels:

  • Wheel brush
  • Lug nut brush
  • Tire sidewall brush
  • Microfiber wheel brush
  • Microfiber towels for spokes and behind the spokes

Chemicals to use for wheel cleaning:

  • Non-acidic wheel cleaner
  • pH neutral car soap

Use diluted acid (1:10) to remove water spots on most wheel finishes. Always do a test spot on an inconspicuous area before spraying the entire wheel, to confirm there is no discoloration.

Other materials needed:

  • A bucket
  • Water
  • Pressure Washer / Garden Hose with sprayer
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Dishwashing Soap

Using a pressure washer works really great in removing dried mud, dirt, and grime on your wheels. If you don’t have one, a garden hose with a sprayer will do. However, if you usually drive in muddy places where a huge amount of dirt can get stuck, you need a pressure washer to remove them efficiently.

Having the right tools to clean your tires can help you save time and water.

9 Steps to Clean Your Wheels Properly

Now that you know what you need, it’s time to teach you how to do it right. It’s a really simple process but it’s the most efficient and effective way to clean your tires.

Just follow these simple steps and you can clean your car wheels like a pro in less than 15 minutes.

Step 1 - Prepare diluted wheel cleaner

Dilute 1:4 or 1:2 of your chosen nonacidic wheel cleaner into a pump foam sprayer. The dilution instructions will be different for each wheel cleaner and you should follow them strictly. 

Step 2 - Rinse with water first

Use a pressure washer to hose down the dirt, grime, and brake dust from each rim. If your tires aren’t that dirty, a garden hose with a natural stream will do.

This will save you time from scrubbing excess and stubborn dirt that are stuck on the wheels.

Step 3 - Check if the wheel can be hand washed

You can tell if your wheels can be hand washed if it only has minimal dirt and dust. If your wheels have a considerable amount of dirt on them, you will need to brush them clean.

Step 4 - Spray soap or non-acidic wheel cleaner of your choice

Clean the outside edge of the rim and scrub the metal surface until all the hard water spots have been removed. Make sure you get the interior of the rim and use a small soft-bristle brush to clean tough-to-reach spots.

Step 5 - Scrub with a brush or using your hand

Start scrubbing each wheel with a brush or using your hands. Start in between spokes, lug nuts, and then the sidewall. Scrub the spokes and behind the spokes to remove further brake dust.

Step 6 - Spray diluted acid on a microfiber towel and scrub the area with hard water spots if necessary

This step is only necessary if you can see hard water spots on the surface of the rims or wheels.

Step 7 - Wash the entire wheel with a garden hose or pressure washer

Give your wheels a nice rinse. Make sure there isn’t any residue or cleaning solution left to dry on them.

Step 8 - Dry the wheels

Start with a leaf blower if you have one and use a bunch of soft, micro-fiber towels to dry the wheels and prevent water spots.

Step 9 - Apply tire dressing using a tire applicator

Coating your wheels with tire dressing using a dressing applicator can help give them a nice luster and a fine layer of protection against brake dust and natural elements.


If you’re dealing with rust and deeply embedded substances, it’s best to consult a professional mobile car detailing service since it can’t be easily removed with just soap and warm water. For dirt and mud in general, these steps will work like magic. Just follow these and you will be able to clean your wheels in less than 15 minutes.

Tips for Cleaning Your Wheels

Other than these steps, here are some other tips to remember while washing your car wheels.

Tip #1 -

Do not sun dry your wheels. This calls for watermarks that will ruin the car’s entire look. There’s no replacing the efficiency of using a microfiber towel or wash mitt for scrubbing and drying your wheels without scratching them.

Tip #2 -

Read labels for car wheel cleaning products. If you trust commercial products more than homemade cleaning solutions, it’s best to check if they’re right for your car tires. It’s best to do some research as well to avoid damaging your wheels.

Tip #3 -

A soap solution doesn’t work for brake dust and rust-infested wheels. That’s a job for expert mobile car detailers like River Islands Car Salon. Only slightly dirty cars and wheels can be cleaned to perfection at home.

Tip #4 -

Hose down the tires one at a time, not all at once. This can help you save water and time cleaning your wheels. Plus, it will prevent the water and cleaning solution from drying before you get to the other wheels.

Tip #5 -

Don’t use a toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas. It’s usually what other sites recommend but in reality, it can end up scratching your rims. Invest in a soft-bristled brush or a wheel brush with a long stem to get into the spokes, lug nuts, and wheel well without damaging your tires.


Cleaning your dirty wheels in less than 15 minutes is possible. All you need to do is follow the steps and tips given above and you will have sparkly clean tires in no time.

You just need to create a cleaning solution of warm water and dishwashing soap to remove the dirt and grime on the wheels. A pressure washer or garden hose is also useful to get rid of them before scrubbing them up with the microfiber towel and cleaning solution.

If you’re dealing with a lot more dirt, rust, brake dust, and such, it’s best to call the best mobile car detailer near you. They have the right tools, methods, and experience to wash and clean your tires.

Just set an appointment with River Islands Car Salon and you will be driving with clean and sparkly wheels in no time.

Share Post

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *