How to Remove Stains on Aluminum Wheels

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You can easily turn a drill into a cleaning device by attaching a polishing pad or buffing ball.
You can easily turn a drill into a cleaning device by attaching a polishing pad or buffing ball. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Regardless of the type of automobile you own, after several years of use, the wheels are likely to accumulate dirt, debris, scratches and stains. Usually, stains on aluminum wheels won’t just disappear with regular washing, so you need to clean aluminum wheels with a combination of household cleaners and store-bought stain removal polish. With the correct application of these materials, you can return your wheels to their original, vibrant shine.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • Dish detergent
  • Scrub brush
  • Polishing pad
  • Buffing ball
  • Aluminum wheel polish
  • Drill
  • Cloths
  • Mineral spirits

Remove the wheel covers and center caps, if possible. You do not need to take the wheels off the car, but try to remove items on the wheel that will be difficult to clean around.

Combine 2 cups of non-bleach dish detergent and 4 cups of warm water. Mix the cleaning solution together. Using a scrub brush, scrub each wheel thoroughly and rinse with water. Most likely, using this simple household cleaning solution will not remove the stains on the aluminum, but it is best to start with a clean surface.

Dip a polishing pad or buffing ball into a can of aluminum wheel polisher. The brand you chose is up to you, but make sure it is an aluminum wheel polisher, recommends the website Proper Auto Care.

Attach the polishing pad or buffing ball to a drill base. If your stains are severe, you may opt for the polishing pad instead of the buffing ball, which is gentler.

Polish or buff the entire wheel for at least five minutes.

Wipe areas you cannot reach with the pad or buff with a soft cloth dipped in the aluminum wheel polisher.

Wipe all of the polished areas with a clean, gentle cloth soaked in mineral spirits, then dry the wheel with another clean cloth. Repeat the cleaning process if stains are still present.

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