How To Clean Alloy Wheels With WD40 – The Ultimate Guide

Authored By Automobile Engineer

Alloy wheels can give your ride an entirely different look while adding a certain level of class and luxury as well.

However, regular everyday driving exposes your wheels to lots of grime and dirt that are virtually impossible to remove with just soap and water alone.

For this reason, many people reach for the trusty can of WD-40 before hitting the road again after washing their car.

It’s an effective way to help clean them quickly and easily without spending too much time on them.

Read on to learn how you can clean your chrome or alloy wheels using WD-40 so that they sparkle again!

What Is WD-40?

WD-40 is a volatile, water-displacement, hydrocarbon-based, penetrating oil that is designed to lubricate and protect a variety of different surfaces and materials.

It excels at removing dirt, grime, and other substances due to its special chemical makeup, which gives it its nickname as the “All-purpose cleaning solvent”.

You can use WD-40 to clean many different types of surfaces including your car’s exterior, engine, and tires.

It’s also useful for cleaning indoor items such as your furniture, appliances, and electronics.

WD-40 was first manufactured in the late 1950s by the Rocket Chemical Company.

It was originally created as a special type of solvent that could blast crud away from the crevices and moving parts of space rockets.

It proved so effective that it was repurposed as a household cleaning agent as well.

How To Clean Alloy Wheels With WD40

Cleaning Alloy Wheels with WD-40: Supplies you’ll Need

Cleaning Alloy Wheels with WD-40: Supplies you'll Need

To clean your alloy wheel rims with WD-40, there are a few supplies you’ll need to get the job done. These include:

  • A clean cloth or rag
  • An old toothbrush (for hard-to-reach areas)
  • WD-40
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Water
How To Use WD-40 To Clean Alloy Wheel Rims
It’s recommended to clean your car rims weekly before cleaning your alloy wheels with WD-40.
By doing this pre-wash, you’ll remove the larger dirt particles and ensure WD-40 gets into the smallest areas for perfect cleaning.
Now let’s talk about how to use WD-40 to clean wheels:
Step 1
Be sure to let the wheels dry before you use WD-40 to clean them.
Step 2
Spray a generous amount of WD-40 onto the rims of your car. You can either spray it directly onto the wheels or spray it onto a towel and then wipe it on.
Step 3
Let the solution sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth. If you’re cleaning the tires as well, simply spray the solution onto a clean cloth and wipe it onto the tires. This will help you clean the tires without getting any of the substance onto the rubber itself.
Step 4
Next, rinse the wheels thoroughly with water to help remove the majority of the WD-40 from the surface. You may need to use a brush to scrub off any caked-on dirt or grime that remains. Use water and mild soap to help remove any dirt, grease, or grime left behind by the WD-40.
Step 5
Spray a wheel cleaner on the wheels. To get at the smaller parts of the wheels, use a boar’s brush. Brush the wheel surface in a circular motion. It will lift up any dirt that’s left and it’ll come up easily. Concentrate on the spokes and screws of the rim where dirt accumulates.
Step 6
Now it’s time to rinse the wheels. If there’s any leftover cleaner or dirt on the wheel rim, use a hose to flush it out. Long-term corrosion can occur if cleaner traces are left behind. Set your wide spray or fan on your hose if it has an adjustable nozzle. Make sure you keep spraying until the water runs clear!

Tips For Best Results

Make sure you spray the wheels from a distance so that the WD-40 doesn’t splash back onto your hands and clothes.
Always rinse the wheels thoroughly with water after using WD-40 to help remove as much of the solution as possible.
Avoid using this method when you’re cleaning the brake rotors and drums as the WD-40 may cause them to squeak.
WD-40 will leave a light tacky film on alloy wheels. This is normal, and it will help protect them from the elements. It should wash off after a few drive cycles.
Always use a clean cloth to clean your wheels when you use WD-40. Using the same cloth over and over again can introduce dirt, grime, and more contaminants into the mix.


Alloy wheels are an important part of any car, truck, or SUV.

Not only do they look great, but they can help improve vehicle handling and performance as well.

Unfortunately, daily driving exposes them to lots of dirt and grime that can be extremely difficult to remove with just water and soap alone.

For this reason, many people choose to use WD-40 to help clean their wheels and tires.

It’s a quick and easy way to help remove the grime from your wheels and give them a fresh, clean look again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is WD-40 Safe as a Wheel Cleaner?

Yes, WD-40 can be used as an effective wheel cleaner in most cases. However, it is important to note that the product should not come into contact with any brake components. This is because WD-40 may cause damage to certain materials such as rubber and plastic. If you are using WD-40 on your alloy wheels, make sure to clean off any residue before using the vehicle. Additionally, take extra care when spraying this product onto your alloy wheels– overly aggressive spraying may lead to overspray or run-off which could get onto other parts of the vehicle.

What does WD-40 do for alloy wheels?

WD-40 can be used to clean and protect alloy wheels from dirt, corrosion, and scratches. To use it for cleaning your alloy wheels, spray some WD-40 onto the affected area of your wheel and use a soft cloth or brush to buff out any debris. For hard-to-reach areas like crevices and nooks, use an old toothbrush for better coverage. Once you’re done, give it one final wipe-down with a clean cloth.

How do you make homemade alloy wheel cleaner?

Creating a homemade alloy wheel cleaner is relatively simple. Begin by combining equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar in a spray bottle, then mix until it thickens into a paste-like consistency. Once the mixture has been properly blended, spray it onto your alloy wheels and allow the solution to sit for around 10 minutes before scrubbing with a brush or cloth. Finally, rinse off the mixture and your alloy wheels should be looking good as new!

Don Sutton
Don Sutton has had a long and varied career in engineering, spanning four different countries. He began his apprenticeship in New Zealand at Paeroa Motors in 1965 before moving to the United States where he studied at Paeroa College before accepting a job as an engineer with Bendix/Kirby/TRW/Tristar. His work involved designing components for the automotive industry for over thirty years, including brake pads, power steering pumps, and fuel injectors. In 2005 Don left automotive design to pursue other interests but maintains an interest in all things related to automobiles. He is currently retired from engineering but continues to consult on issues relating to vehicle testing and manufacture when needed!