How to Clean Rims Without Scrubbing


Rims are the part of your tire that touches the ground. You may not think much about them, but they’re pretty important—especially if you want to keep your car looking good.

Without a clean rim, it just doesn’t look right. I’m sure you know how frustrating it is to see your once shiny rims all dirty and grimy after driving on some rough roads or parking in a flat area of town for lunch, or running errands with no time to do anything about it before heading back out again.

Unfortunately, it happens so often that most people have learned to clean their rims without scrubbing quickly! In this article, I will discuss how to clean rims without scrubbing. So let’s get started.

How to Clean Rims Without Scrubbing

A Detailed Stepwsie Guide on How to Clean Rims Without Scrubbing:

Rims aren’t the easiest thing to clean, but they are one of the most important things to keep clean. Rims should show no brake dust or road grime. If your rims look like this, follow our simple steps below on how you can get them looking shiny and new again!

Keep in mind that while these instructions work for most wheels, not all-wheel styles are alike. Some OEMs use special paints or coatings that should only be cleaned with chemicals designed for that specific kind of wheel finish. Please take care when cleaning your wheels and follow directions closely.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Clean Towel (old t-shirt, microfiber towel)
  • Water (preferably bottled or distilled to avoid calcium build-up)
  • Car Cleaner (buy from your local auto parts store, not glass cleaner!)
  • Bucket or large bowl

Step 1

Wash the wheel, so it is free of all dirt and grime. Use a strong degreaser if necessary. Ensure you don’t have any sharp objects in your washrag when scrubbing the wheel, as you could risk scratching the surface.

Step 2

Rinse off all car soap with a garden hose or pressure washer. If you do not have access to either, use clean water in a bucket and soak for 5 minutes before rinsing again with your hose or tap water. It would help if you made sure that no detectable level of soap remains on the wheel.

This is very important because soap residue will cause streaking when you apply your car wax later in the process.

Use a microfiber towel to wipe the wheel clean

Step 3

Apply a car cleaner to the wheel and allow it to dwell for a couple of minutes or as long as recommended by the manufacturer of your particular product. Some cleaners may have specific directions on how long they should be allowed to work before being rinsed off.

Others have indicators that change color after time, letting you know when they are ready to be wiped down with a sponge or rinse again underwater from a hose/tap. Allow all cleaner residue to drip off freely from your wheel instead of immediately wiping it away with a towel, which can streak the surface!

Step 4

Use a clean towel or microfiber towel to wipe the wheel clean. Do not use paper towels or anything that may scratch the wheel. Allow it to air dry for 2-3 minutes before moving onto Step 5.

Step 5

Use car wax explicitly designed for wheels to apply a thin, even coat over each wheel face. This will buff out any streaks caused by cleaning and make your rims look shiny!

We recommend using Mothers Wheel & Tire Cleaner with Carnauba Wax for an extra layer of protection against brake dust and road grime because this product is strong enough to remove dirt while also giving you an added layer of defense against contaminants!

Step 6

Buff out any excess wax with an additional microfiber towel(s) until the residue has been removed from the wheel.

Step 7

Reinstall your wheels and lower the car to the ground! Your rims should look new again in no time! Don’t forget to check out our other instructional guides for more car care tips and tricks!

Some Wheel Cleaners Might Contain Acids

Precautions While Cleaning Rim Without Scrubbing:

If you are planning to clean your wheel rims without scrubbing, then there are some precautions that you must take. These include:

1. Use cleaner, which is meant to be used only on wheel rims like wheel cleaner or wheel rim cleaner. If not sure, read the label on the container of the cleaning product before using it. Some wheel cleaners might contain acids that can eat away at aluminum and cause damage if they come into contact with alloy wheels.

Also, please avoid using gasoline or kerosene while cleaning wheel rims because they can fade the color of your alloy wheels. Nowadays, some brands sell wheel rim cleaning products in aerosol form for easy application. However, care should still be taken when using them because these products can also cause damage if not used properly.

2. Wear gloves to protect your hands from getting stained and use goggles for your eyes, as these cleaning chemicals can be hazardous to health if they come into contact with any part of the body.

3. While using the cleaner on the wheel rims, do not let it dry on its own. You must rinse off the product immediately after applying and wait for a minute or two before wiping with a clean cloth to avoid staining of fingers and clothes because some cleaners might leave marks behind if left unattended.

If anyone around can help you out, then make them do the job instead of doing it yourself because even small amounts of these chemicals can harm you.

4. If the rim has got extremely dirty, you can use a scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush to apply pressure on the products and remove stubborn dirt stains. Do not overdo this part, as it can cause damage to your alloy wheels.

Scrubbing Can Damage Wheel Finishes

What Are The Disadvantages of Scrubbing?

Scrubbing can damage wheel finishes, including stripping off sealant or wax. However, some wheel finishes are not that sensitive, and you might get away with an excellent clean without compromising the wheel’s integrity.

In very extreme cases of neglect where the wheel is covered in brake dust build-up on a daily driven car, scrubbing may be your only option for completely restoring its appearance. Some wheels have intricate designs around their barrels, which would take an eternity to dry if sponging was used (i.e., Powell Peralta Skull and Sword wheels).


I hope you have obtained all the necessary information on how to clean rims without scrubbing. Ensure all the precautions are followed properly. Thank you and have a nice day!

You might also read: How to Fix Tire Rubbing on Wheel Well

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