Wheel Detail: Homemade Cleaning For Aluminum wheels.
You can clean your aluminum wheels without spending a lot of money by using simple products from home. Homemade cleaning solutions for an aluminum wheel detail should not contain strong chemicals because they strip metal. Gentle scrubbing with acid free soaps and cleaners should get the job done with satisfactory results. If you have chrome wheels instead then you should check out our other wheel detail blog.
Soaps and Degreasers
Dish soap is acceptable for a homemade cleaning solution on aluminum wheels. Fill a bucket with about ten drops of soap per gallon of warm water then scrub the aluminum wheels with a soft towel soaked and agitated in the solution. A little Borax can also be added to aid in cleaning power. Start with a quarter cup and mix it in well with the soap and water.
Degreaser sprays also work well removing brake dust and grime. Some detailers like to let degreaser soak on the wheels overnight before removing it with soap and water.
Bleach and Water
If soap doesn't do the job, a mixture of one gallon of water and up to a half a cup of household bleach helps clean aluminum. This solution should help power away tough stains with some good elbow grease and won't harm the finish.
Remember to wear gloves if you have sensitive skin and make sure to rinse the wheels thoroughly after cleaning. Don't allow straight bleach to sit on the wheels for any length of time.
Fine Grit Sandpaper
Besides a homemade cleaning solution for wheel detail, a fine grit sandpaper is safe to use by hand on aluminum wheels to help remove pitting. Electric power tools are not recommended because they work too well and may cause damage. Always buff away dust and debris after cleaning and before applying any polish. It will most likely be necessary to add a clear coat. Sandpaper is only recommended if the clear coat is already worn away.
Steel Wool and Sponges
Many detailers already have items like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser at home, and recommend using this gentle, abrasive sponge with homemade cleaning solutions. Besides a Magic Eraser, durable everyday kitchen sponges can also help remove grime from aluminum without damaging any finishes. Aluminum wheels that have no clear coat or are being stripped down can handle steel wool or an abrasive kitchen scrubber.
Homemade cleaners and brushes are popular with detailers who love to save money and still get professional results.With a little know-how, you can, too.
Photo Credit: Vox Efx via Wikimedia Commons