How to Clean Chrome Rims

How to Clean Chrome Rims


In this article we will go over how to clean chrome rims. Chrome rims add to the shine and beauty of your cars. However, it is also true that chrome is prone to brake dust and other pollutants. It gets damaged easily due to wear and tear issues. If these are not cleaned regularly, it can lead to air leakages, corrosion and other problems. Though chrome rims require regular cleaning and maintenance routines from you, the good thing is that there are quite a few easy tips you can follow for these routines. Keep reading to know more about some simple and practical tips to help you keep the shine on your chrome rims forever.

In this article, you will first get to know how to clean your chrome rims. While this will help you get rid of the dust & grime settled on the wheels, this process is not enough for getting the much-needed shine on your rims. You can get the shine only when you polish your wheels. Let’s see how to clean and polish your chrome rims in the following sections:

How to Clean Chrome Rims

Steps to clean the chrome rims thoroughly

  • In a bucket of warm water, add a few drops of liquid soap or detergent. While there is no hard and fast rule concerning the ratio of water and soap in this mixture, you have to ensure that the water is bubbly in consistency.
  • If you want to do away with the messy damp garage that you have to clean later, you can use a foam wheel spray instead of using this mixture of warm water and soap.
  • If using water & soap, you need a large and clean sponge to clean the wheels. Rub the sponge on the wheels to remove all traces of dust settled there. Rub the exteriors as well as the interiors of the wheels, so that the soapy solution reaches all the parts of the wheel.
  • If using the foam wheel-spray, apply the solution on the wheels and wait for about 5 minutes, before you proceed to rinsing it off.
  • Keep cleaning the wheels with the sponge thoroughly until you notice all the dust marks have come off.
  • Sometimes, it may be a little tough to clean the back or the sides of the spokes of the wheels. You can use a small wheel brush (with soft bristles) for this purpose. Dip the brush in the soapy solution and scrub the parts well.
  • Let the soapy solution remain in the spokes and rims for about 10 minutes. This time is for the chemicals of the soap to break down the dirt, so that rinsing it becomes easy for you.
  • Use a bucket of clean water or a hose to rinse your wheels thoroughly.
  • If you don’t want to use a lot of water for cleaning your chrome rims, you can also try this trick – Take a clean and thick towel. Dip it in a bucket of lukewarm or cold water. Rub the wheels well with the towel from top to bottom. Rinse or rub thoroughly until you don’t see any soapy residues on them.
  • Use a clean and dry cloth to wipe off the moisture from the wheels. When the cloth gets damp, remember to replace it with a clean one, as you want the rag to be completely dry to absorb all the moisture from the wheels. If you keep wiping your wheels with a damp cloth, you will spread the dampness all over the wheels, which is the last thing you would want at this stage.
  • Using an air compressor is very effective when it comes to removing all the moisture from the wheels. Blow the water away completely by holding the air compressor at a distance of at least 12 inches from the wheels.


Steps for polishing your chrome rims

Please remember to proceed to this step only when your wheels are completely dry. If you notice a few water marks on the wheels after the above steps, wipe the wheels thoroughly with a clean & dry rag. Inspect the wheels thoroughly to check if they are dry, and then follow these steps:

  • Use an appropriate chrome polish for bringing back the shine in your chrome rims. Check the packaging of the polish thoroughly to see if it is ideal for chrome wheels. These chrome polishes are easily available in supermarkets or auto stores.
  • Pour some polish into a foam pad or extremely fine steel wool. These don’t cause any scratches or damage on your rims while rubbing. Check for the words, ultra-fine or super fine when buying steel wool.
  • Apply a layer of heavy metal polish over the wheels and wait for a while. Apply over all the edges and hard-to-access areas of the chrome rims by rubbing thoroughly. Once the polish has covered the wheels fully, you can proceed to apply a layer of light metal polish to give your car a sparkling new look! If there are excess polish marks on the wheels, use a clean & dry rag to wipe them off.


Auto stores also sell something called compounds to get the shine on your chrome rims. These compounds are highly abrasive, and they should be used only if your rims have many scratches. The polish provided by these compounds doesn’t stay for a long time. So, it is always recommended to use an appropriate chrome polish for your rims, instead of using compound-based polishes.

With these steps, your chrome rims will remain clean and shiny for up to a year. However, if you drive your car frequently, or if you drive regularly in harsh climate conditions, the shine may wear off in as less than 3 months. It is a good practice to keep checking the chrome rims of your cars every 2 to 3 months to check for accumulation of brake dust, dirt, grime and other pollutants in them. While cleaning the chrome rims is recommended once every 3 to 6 months, polishing them should be done once in 6 months at least to ensure that they stay in good condition for a long time.

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