How to Clean Tires and Rims

How to Clean Tires and Rims

The way your tires and rims look can be game-changing for the entire vibe of your ride. Even if your car’s body squeaky clean, dirty tires can undo your efforts and your baby would end up with an unflattering, outdated, and probably cheap appearance.

This only gets worse if you have white letter tires or whitewall tires. Cleaning process is a bit different in this way, learn how to clean white letters on tires.

In this article, we’ll help you implement a wheel cleaning routine to help you get rid of dirt and stains, as well as protect the tires and rims from damage.

So, if you’re wondering how to clean tires and rims effectively at home, keep reading to learn about various techniques and tips that’ll help you bring back the spotless shine.

What Tools Do You Need?

  • Bucket
  • Clean, dry towels
  • Soft/medium-bristled brush
  • Hose, optional: spray nozzle or pressure washer
  • Optional: lug nut brush
  • Optional: foam pad or mitt for waxing
  • Optional: wheel brush

What Materials Do You Need?

  • Mild dish soap or detergent
  • Warm water
  • Specialized cleaner for wheels
  • Wax to polish wheels
  • For whitewalls and white letters: baking soda, eraser cleaning pads, or sandpaper

Cautious: don’t ever use sprays you usually apply when you clean brakes without taking tires off. These sprays are used for metal surfaces only, for example, when you have to remove rust from tire rims or even then when you want to get tire marks off concrete.

Steps to Clean Tires and Rims

how to clean tire rims

1. Gather and Prep

Before you roll up your sleeves, you should first make sure that you have all the required supplies and that the wheel is nice and ready.

Start by collecting all your materials and tools then place them wherever you’ll be working.

To achieve the best results, you want to focus on only one wheel at a time. Make sure its tire and rims are up to your standards before working another wheel.

The most important thing to check before cleaning is whether or not the tires and rims are cool enough. There shouldn’t be any residual heat when you rinse and/or use any cleaning product on them.

Also, don’t forget to designate a certain rag and towel to the cleaning process. Tires are in constant contact with the road so it’s no surprise that they tend to accumulate a lot of dirt and debris from the road.

You’ll want to keep the other parts of your car free from these contaminants.

2. Let the Water Get Some

how to clean rims and tires

The cleaning process should begin with simply using water to get rid of loose grime. You’ll see the best results here if you spray water using a nozzle or a pressure washer.

Try to direct the stream of water at different angles to get rid of as much dirt as possible from the hard-to-reach inner side of the rim.

While cleaning, be sure that the tire stays wet since the moisture offers good lubrication to prevent scratching.

If your rims are especially dirty and in need of more deep cleaning, you can demount the wheel for better reach. In this case, you should start rinsing from the back of the tire making your way to the front to avoid re-soiling the front if you go the other way around.

3. Wash the Tire

If you’re wondering whether you should start cleaning the tires or the rims first, the answer is the tire. This will prevent dirt from running down and ruining cleaned rims.

wash the tires

Using a soft/medium-bristled brush, warm water, and a mild detergent, give the surface of the tire a good scrubbing.

Next, leave the detergent on the tire for a few minutes so it loosens up stubborn grime, then wash away with water. Scrub and rinse again until you’re satisfied, but keep the tire wet during this step.

Once you’re done, wash the brush.

4. Wash the Rims

Wash the Rims

Begin by wetting the surface of the rims with warm, soapy water then scrub it with the brush. Don’t be afraid of putting some effort into scrubbing – this can make a huge difference.

Also, feel free to scrub using any extra smaller brushes to clean hard-to-reach spots.

Repeat this step as often as necessary, and once you’re done, thoroughly dry both the tire and the rims with a clean cloth.

You might also be interested in how to get plasti dip off tires.

5. Apply Wax (Optional)

apply wax to tires

Applying wheel wax every few months can make your regular cleaning sessions a much simpler task.

Use a mitt or foam pad to lay down paste or cream wax, referring to the instructions featured on your chosen product container. Once done, remove and finish up with a clean rag.

6. For Whitewall and White Letter Tires

  • Apply baking soda — put some baking soda on a moist sponge or cloth then carefully wipe the white parts in circular movements. After a couple of minutes, wash the tires to observe the results. Repeat the process until you’re happy with the look.
  • Use eraser cleaning pads — wet the tires and the pad, then wipe the white parts in circular motions. To achieve the best results, wash the pads with water or use new ones between tires.
  • Treat with sandpaper to remove discoloration — if the white sections remain yellowed after serious cleaning, try using fine sandpaper to sand the surface of the white letter. Make sure you go about it slowly until you see a bright white layer appear. After that, hose down your tires.

Sometimes this cleaning process is not enough. Feel free to check our next blogs: How to Remove Paint from Tires and How to Remove Tar from Tires.

Wrap Up

If you’re wondering how to clean tires and rims, the process should start with you gathering all the supplies then giving your car a basic wash. If it’s still not enough, then you can move on to focus on the tires then the rims in that order.