How to clean alloy wheels

This is a how to guide on the best tips on cleaning alloy wheels properly to give a showroom finish, whilst caring for them so they stay looking their best. As part of a series of ‘how to’ guides, Sixt want customers to be able to keep their cars in top condition all year round!

First, what you will need:

– A watering can, hosepipe or pressure washer
– Microfibre wash mitt
– Microfibre cloths (minimum 2, found in most pound shops)
– Good quality alloy wheel cleaner (ideally acid free such as Autobrite Very Cherry)
– Water based tyre dressing (Such as Poorboys Bold ‘n’ Bright)
– (Optional) Alloy Wheel Sealant and applicator pads (Such as Nanolex Wheel Sealant)

Preparing the wheels

Once you have all the supplies assembled, the first step is to remove loose contaminants from the wheel.

Do this before washing the rest of the car – you don’t want stray brake dust flicking onto your clean car!

Flush the wheel with clean water, the goal is to remove as much dirt without touching the wheel to prevent scratching.

Removing the grime.

Next apply the alloy wheel cleaner. Ideally this should be acid free, as acid based cleaners are harsh on wheels and can eat through protective layers and cause corrosion. Apply as per the manufacturer’s instructions and leave to work for a few minutes.

Use your wash mitt to gently agitate the dirt from the surface. The difference will be immediate, as the brake dust is removed. Work down the wheel ensuring you get all of the nooks, such as the underside of spokes.

Rinse and dry

Once all the dirt is removed, rinse the wheel again, to ensure all of the cleaning product is removed.

Now that the wheel is nice and clean but wet – it’s time to use the microfibre cloth to quickly and easily dry the wheel. This will prevent watermarks and quickly bring some shine to your wheels.

An optional (but recommended) treat!

An optional penultimate step is to apply alloy wheel sealant or wax. This is not required every time you clean your alloys), but is recommended perhaps once a month to make subsequent cleaning easier and protect the wheel.

The sealant should be applied thinly using an applicator pad, allowed to dry a little so it goes “cloudy”, then buffed with a clean microfibre cloth. This should be repeated so between 2-3 layers are applied.

The final finishing touch.

To quickly set off your now clean wheels, as well as nourishing your tyre rubber, apply some water based tyre dressing on the side walls of the tyres (taking care to avoid splashing any on the wheel!) to give them that brand new slick black look.

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