How to Clean Chrome Rims, Make Chrome Wheels Shine

How to Clean Chrome Rims

Chrome wheels are bright, clean, and polished, just what you need to enhance your vehicle's overall appearance. But with these sweet rides come great responsibilities. You need to learn how to clean chrome rims so that these will last longer and shine brighter.

Chrome wheels' shine won't last long as it's very prone to dirt, dust, and grime as it's in contact with the tires. Also, you will often encounter problems with brake dust, which is a unique blend of carbon fibers and adhesive that usually comes from the brake pad and the rotor. When there are intense friction and heat from the wheels, brake dust can become very corrosive. If you drive daily, more and more brake dust can be generated, and these will often end up on your car's gorgeous shiny chrome wheels.


How to clean chrome rims

Protect your chrome wheels from brake dust by regular cleaning. Remember, chrome is a soft material, and thus brake dust can easily penetrate chrome. If you overlook cleaning the rims, dust can pit the wheels and destroy chrome and the inner metal.

You need the following

  • Hose
  • Chrome wheel cleaner
  • Soft wheel brush
  • Long-handed brush
  • Microfiber towel
  • All-purpose cleaner

Easy and fast ways to clean chrome rims

  • Use a hose to spray high-pressure water on the chrome rims to clean it. You need high-pressure water to easily remove brake dust and other packed dirt.
  • Use a chrome wheel cleaner a wheel at a time. Most wheel cleaners are not acidic and, thus, will protect the finish of your wheels. Wheel cleaners like the SONAX Wheel Cleaner Full Effect or the Wolfgang Tire & Wheel Cleaner. Follow instructions carefully on how to use these products
  • Agitate the surface of the wheel using a soft wheel brush. This type of brush can agitate the surface and will also fit through very small spaces in between the different parts of the wheel. Also, this type of brush will clean your wheels and won't leave any scratches or marks on your precious chrome rims.
  • Clean the nuts. The lug nuts may be found in the middle of the wheels but are often overlooked. Use a special log nut brush to clean these small components. If you're using brushes to clean the wheel must be continually wet. This special cleaner called a water and wheel cleaner will loosen tough dirt, grease, and at eh same time will prevent any scratches and marks on your lug nuts.  When you’re done, rinse with the same hose and nozzle.
  •  Dry the chrome rims. You must never let any water spots stay on the chrome wheel as this can affect the mirror finish of your chrome components. To dry chrome wheels, use an all-purpose microfiber cloth and wipe with small circular strokes. You can repeat the steps for very stubborn dirt and grime on your chrome rims and wheels.                                                                                                   

How To Clean Chrome Rims & Wheels YouTube Video


How to make chrome wheels shine

Buffing and shining your chrome wheels should be done right after thoroughly cleaning your rims. You need to shine chrome wheels to protect the material and to preserve that longer-lasting shine. Consider the following steps before you begin.

What to use to make chrome wheels shine

  • Metal polish for chrome, aluminum or steel material
  • Polishing tool – a special tool that can help clean and polish
  • Clean microfiber towel
  • Wheel wax or wheel protectant –this could be any kind of wax product, we recommend natural and organic waxes to clean and shine your chrome wheels.
  • Applicator pad
  • Tire dressing

Another article you may like: how to prevent rust on cars

Tips on how to make chrome wheels shine

  • Choose the right metal polish to work with chrome is important. Most metal polishes that will work with aluminum and steel will work with chrome. Always check the label of the product you want to use and read the instructions before you begin using the product.
  • Wipe the polish on the wheel. Make sure to apply the chrome polish to one wheel and afterward, the next wheel.
  • Use an applicator tool like the Mothers PowerBall MD. This tool will gently polish the wheel. You should repeat the application of the polish on the wheel if you find spots, grime, and dirt that remain on the chrome wheels.
  • With a soft and clean microfiber cloth, wipe the wheels very clean. Wipe all areas of the wheels, inside out. Don’t forget wiping the lug nuts, as these are often overlooked.
  • Dress your tires with a new tire gel formula. This gel tire dressing is water-based but is not as shiny as silicone cleaners. When you’ve applied the gel, your tires will look as if they’re new.

Polish Chrome Wheels, Make Chrome Wheels Shine YouTube Video


Although it's easy to clean chrome rims and wheels, some people prefer to have a professional car interior cleaner to take care of their rims. This is a good idea for severely dirty and damaged chrome wheels. And if you're looking for showroom quality clean and shine all the time, have your car maintained professionally


Final words

Now that you know how to clean chrome rims, you can save money from hiring a professional clean your wheels for you. It simply takes patience, and an eye for detail to completely clean and shine chrome wheels. And with the help of the best cleaning products and equipment, you'll have the best-looking chrome wheels in no time. You should clean your chrome rims at least once a week, even if you don't spot dirt and grime. Remember, brake dust is minute particles and can attack your precious wheels anytime. Avoid these by regular checks and weekly cleanups.


About the Author JamesL Davis

James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.

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