How to safely clean your wheel with acid based cleaner

The introduction

Some best practise advice about, how to clean your wheels, when using an acid based wheel cleaner.

The method

Before using any type of wheel cleaner you need to remove any loose dirt and ensure the wheel is cool, not hot or warm.

Usually at this stage, you would use some sort of sprayer to apply the acid cleaner all over the surface, but you don’t want to get it over the brake discs, callipers and other parts of the wheel. So instead we recommend that you apply the acid wheel cleaner only to the parts of the wheel that you need to. This will reduce the risk of damaging any other parts or the surface, making cleaning with acid a lot safer.

Step 1

You need to use a small plastic container, something you don't care about. We like to use the tops that come with metal spray containers as they can be thrown away when you have finished using them.

step 2

Pour a small amount of the acid cleaner(correctly diluted) into the plastic container. We recommend that you only place a small amount each time, as you can always add more If needed.

Step 3

Use a sash brush to apply the acid cleaner to the surface, keep repeating the process until the dirt starts to break down, or the recommend dwell time has finished. This is usually a few minutes,If the dirt still remains then repeat the process.Repeat this procedure with all the other wheels which require treating.

Cleaning the back face of the wheel.

If you are doing the back/rear face and the inside of the wheel, then spray the cleaner onto the spoke brush or the wheel Woolley you are using. Then repeat the above method to clean your wheel safely with an acid based cleaner.

Additional Tips

Always rinse the wheels well with lots of water and a mild alkaline product. A normal car shampoo should be pH neutral, and will help neutralise the acid.

The Conclusion

This method is going to be slower than just spraying, waiting, agitating and then rinsing but it is a lot more controlled and a precise way of cleaning your wheels. Once completed you can just use a ph neutral wheel cleaner to maintain.

If you have not already taken a look at our informative guide, we would suggest that you do, as it offers you lots of additional advice and tips about cleaning your wheels and tyres. We would also recommend reading the related blog post about this. Thanks.


We always recommend that when working with acid cleaners that you use appropriate gloves to protect your hands. It is also advisable that you wear suitable protective clothing and Protective eye goggles.

Created By
Tom Robinson


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