18 Inch Rims Maintenance and Care

Proper Techniques for Cleaning 18 Inch Rims

If you’re a proud owner of a car with 18-inch rims, you know that keeping them clean and shiny is essential to maintain that sleek and stylish look. But what are the proper techniques that will ensure your rims remain spotless and free from damage? In this article, we will explore some tried and true methods that will help you achieve that pristine finish you desire. So, grab your cleaning supplies and get ready to transform your rims into a stunning sight to behold.

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Materials needed

To properly clean your 18-inch rims, you will need a few essential materials. These include brushes, microfiber cloths, wheel cleaner, a bucket of water, soap, a hose, gloves, and protective eyewear. Let’s delve into each material’s importance and how it contributes to the cleaning process.


Having the right brushes is crucial for effectively cleaning your 18-inch rims. You’ll want to choose brushes with sturdy bristles that can reach into crevices and spokes to remove dirt and grime. Make sure to have a variety of brush sizes to accommodate different areas of the rim.

Microfiber cloths

Microfiber cloths are excellent for drying and polishing your rims without leaving behind lint or scratches. They are soft, absorbent, and won’t damage the delicate surface of your rims.

Wheel cleaner

Investing in a high-quality wheel cleaner is essential for achieving a thorough cleaning. Look for a cleaner specifically formulated for rims, as it will be effective in removing brake dust, dirt, and other stubborn contaminants.

Bucket of water

Having a bucket of water on hand is essential for rinsing off the loose dirt and grime before applying the wheel cleaner. It also comes in handy for rinsing the rims during the cleaning process.


Using a mild soap solution in conjunction with the wheel cleaner will help loosen and remove any remaining dirt or grime. Make sure to choose a soap that is suitable for automotive use and won’t harm the surface of your rims.


A hose with good water pressure is crucial for rinsing off the wheel cleaner and soap residue. It allows you to thoroughly rinse the rims after scrubbing them, ensuring a clean and spotless finish.


Wearing gloves during the cleaning process will protect your hands from the chemicals in the wheel cleaner and soap. It’s always better to be safe and avoid any potential skin irritations or reactions.

Protective eyewear

Protecting your eyes is of paramount importance when dealing with cleaning chemicals. Wearing protective eyewear will shield your eyes from any splashes or debris during the cleaning process, ensuring your safety.


Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s important to prepare your vehicle and the rims properly. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and effective cleaning experience.

Park the vehicle on a flat surface

It’s crucial to park your vehicle on a flat surface before cleaning the rims. This ensures stability and minimizes the risk of accidents or injuries while working.

Spray the rims with water to remove loose dirt

Using a hose or a pressure washer, spray the rims with water to remove any loose dirt or debris. This step helps to loosen the dirt and makes the cleaning process easier.

Put on gloves and protective eyewear

Before handling any cleaning products, ensure you put on gloves and protective eyewear. Safety should always be a priority, and these protective measures will prevent any potential harm to your skin and eyes.

Proper Techniques for Cleaning 18 Inch Rims

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Choosing the right cleaning solution

Choosing the right cleaning solution is essential for achieving the best results without causing any damage to your rims. Consider the following factors when selecting a wheel cleaner.

Avoid acidic cleaners

Acidic cleaners can be harsh on your rims and potentially cause damage to the surface. It’s best to avoid these cleaners altogether to safeguard the appearance and integrity of your rims.

Read the labels of the wheel cleaners

When browsing for wheel cleaners, take the time to read the labels and product descriptions carefully. Look for cleaners that are specifically formulated for rims and are safe for various finishes, such as chrome, aluminum, or painted rims.

Opt for a non-acidic, pH-balanced formula

To ensure the longevity of your rims, opt for a non-acidic, pH-balanced wheel cleaner. These formulas are designed to effectively remove dirt, brake dust, and grime without compromising the finish of your rims.

Cleaning process

Now that you have gathered the necessary materials and chosen the right cleaning solution, it’s time to start cleaning your 18-inch rims. Follow these steps for a thorough cleaning process.

Remove the wheel dust caps

Before applying the wheel cleaner, remove the wheel dust caps. This will allow you to access and clean the entire rim surface without any obstructions.

Spray the wheel cleaner generously on the rim

Using the wheel cleaner you selected, spray it generously on the rim’s surface. Ensure that the entire rim is covered, including the spokes and hard-to-reach areas.

Use a brush to scrub the entire surface

Using a brush with sturdy bristles, start scrubbing the rim’s surface in a circular motion. Pay close attention to the crevices, grooves, and spokes as dirt and brake dust can accumulate in these areas.

Pay special attention to crevices and spokes

Crevices and spokes are typically the areas where dirt and brake dust accumulate the most. Make sure to scrub these areas thoroughly with the brush to remove any stubborn residue.

Rinse the rim thoroughly with water

After scrubbing the rim with the wheel cleaner and brush, rinse it thoroughly with water. Use a hose or a bucket of water to ensure all the cleaner and dirt residue is washed away.

Repeat the process for all four rims

Repeat the cleaning process outlined above for each of the four rims on your vehicle. Take your time and ensure that each rim receives the same level of care and attention.

Proper Techniques for Cleaning 18 Inch Rims

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Removing stubborn brake dust

Brake dust can be particularly challenging to remove from rims. Follow these steps to effectively eliminate stubborn brake dust buildup.

Apply a specialized brake dust cleaner

To tackle stubborn brake dust, consider using a specialized brake dust cleaner. These cleaners are formulated to break down and dissolve brake dust, making it easier to remove.

Allow the cleaner to dwell for a few minutes

Once you have applied the brake dust cleaner, allow it to dwell on the rims for a few minutes. This gives the cleaner time to penetrate and loosen the brake dust, enhancing its effectiveness.

Scrub the rims with a brush

After the brake dust cleaner has had time to dwell, use a brush to scrub the rims again. Focus on the areas where the brake dust buildup is most prominent, ensuring thorough cleaning.

Rinse thoroughly

After scrubbing with the brake dust cleaner, rinse the rims thoroughly with water to remove any remaining residue. Ensure that all the cleaner and brake dust are completely washed away.

Drying the rims

Properly drying the rims is crucial for achieving a spotless finish and preventing any water spots. Follow these steps to effectively dry your 18-inch rims.

Wipe the rims dry with a microfiber cloth

Using a clean and dry microfiber cloth, wipe the rims dry after rinsing. Microfiber cloths are highly absorbent and won’t leave behind any lint or scratches, ensuring a flawless result.

Ensure all moisture is removed

Ensure that all moisture is completely removed from the rims. Pay attention to any hard-to-reach areas or crevices where water might get trapped. Thoroughly drying the rims will prevent water spots from forming.

Check for any remaining dirt or stains

Once the rims are dry, inspect them closely for any remaining dirt or stains. If you notice any lingering dirt, you may need to repeat the cleaning process or spot clean the affected areas.

Proper Techniques for Cleaning 18 Inch Rims

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Polishing the rims

Achieve a glossy shine on your 18-inch rims by polishing them. Follow these steps to get that extra sparkle.

Choose a suitable rim polish

Select a rim polish that suits the type of rims you have, whether they are chrome, aluminum, or painted. Read the product instructions and ensure it’s compatible with your rim’s material.

Apply a small amount of polish to a cloth

Squeeze a small amount of rim polish onto a clean cloth. It’s best to err on the side of caution and start with a conservative amount. You can always apply more if necessary.

Rub the polish onto the surface in circular motions

Using the cloth, rub the polish onto the rim’s surface in circular motions. Work in small sections, ensuring even coverage and paying attention to any areas that require extra shine.

Buff the rims to a shine

Once the polish has been applied, use a clean and dry section of the cloth to gently buff the rims. This will help remove any excess polish and bring out a beautiful shine.

Wipe off any excess polish

Ensure that you wipe off any excess polish from the rims using a clean microfiber cloth. Leaving excess polish on the surface can lead to an uneven appearance or attract dirt and dust.

Protective measures

Protecting your newly cleaned and polished rims is essential for maintaining their appearance and preventing premature wear and tear. Follow these steps to provide an extra layer of protection.

Use a wheel sealant or wax

Applying a wheel sealant or wax is highly recommended to protect your rims from dirt, brake dust, and other contaminants. These protective coatings act as a barrier, making it easier to clean the rims in the future.

Apply the sealant in a thin, even layer

Using a clean applicator pad or cloth, apply the wheel sealant or wax in a thin and even layer on each rim. Make sure to cover the entire surface, including the spokes and crevices.

Allow the sealant to dry

Depending on the product instructions, allow the sealant or wax to dry for the recommended amount of time. This will ensure that it bonds properly with the rim’s surface, providing maximum protection.

Wipe off any excess sealant

After the drying period, inspect the rims and wipe off any excess sealant or wax with a clean microfiber cloth. This step ensures an even and smooth finish, free from any residue.

Regular maintenance

To keep your 18-inch rims looking their best for years to come, it’s important to incorporate regular maintenance into your routine. Follow these tips to maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your rims.

Clean the rims regularly to prevent buildup

Regularly cleaning your rims, ideally once every few weeks or at least once a month, will prevent the buildup of dirt, brake dust, and other contaminants. This will make cleaning easier and maintain the rims’ appearance.

Avoid parking near construction sites or in areas with excessive dust

Avoid parking your vehicle near construction sites or in areas with excessive dust whenever possible. This will minimize the amount of dirt and dust that accumulates on your rims, reducing the need for frequent cleaning.

Inspect the rims for any damage

Periodically inspect your rims for any signs of damage, such as scratches, chips, or dents. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further damage and maintain the overall aesthetics of your rims.

Touch up any scratches or chips with touch-up paint

If you notice any scratches or chips on your rims, consider using touch-up paint specifically designed for rims. These paints are formulated to match your rim’s color and can help conceal minor imperfections.


Properly cleaning and maintaining your 18-inch rims will not only enhance their appearance but also ensure their longevity and prevent damage. By following the outlined techniques, using the recommended materials, and incorporating regular maintenance, you can keep your rims looking their best and enjoy their stylish appeal for years to come. So grab your brushes, wheel cleaner, and protective gear, and get ready to give your 18-inch rims the cleaning they deserve!

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