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Cleaning Car Wheels: Make Them Shine with Bar Keepers Friend

September 24, 2021

Believe it or not, cleaning car wheels isn’t something everyone thinks about. When you live in a warm-weather state, you can ride your motorcycle or bicycle nearly year-round – and you don’t have to worry about anti-icing road treatments damaging your car. But in warm, humid climates (especially along saltwater coasts), you have to be alert for rust. 

Oil, salt, and dirt attract rust, which can damage wheels. That being said, cleaning car wheels is quite important. With regular wheel-cleaning, you can combat rust growth and keep wheels shiny. 

Is it wheel-grime removal time? Bar Keepers Friend can help. (Gloves are suggested for these applications).

What to Use for Everyday Cleaning

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Start with surfaces cool to the touch. For lightly soiled aluminum, chrome, or steel wheels, use MORE Spray + Foam. Just spray onto the surface, scrub with an old toothbrush, nylon bristle brush, or non-scratch scrub pad, then rinse thoroughly within one minute of application. Wipe the surface dry. Long-neglected surfaces may need a second application. You can also use this method to clean bicycle spokes, rims, and cranks, and on manual-wheelchair steel spokes and push rims. 

Katelyn Fagan of What’s Up Fagans? used MORE Spray + Foam to clean the chrome rims of their vehicle back in 2018. You can watch her fantastic tutorial here:

What to Use for Heavy Soiling

If you’ve just returned from a muddy road ramble and your wheels are looking dull and dirty, Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser is a great solution. 

Use a damp cloth or hose to remove loose debris. In a glass or steel bowl, mix a small amount of powdered cleanser with water to make a paste. Working in sections, apply the paste to wheels with a damp sponge or cloth, spread evenly on the soiled area.  After 15 to 30 seconds, scrub with a damp non-scratch pad, nylon bristle brush, or old toothbrush (great for nooks & crannies), then rinse thoroughly and wipe away within one minute. For car and truck wheels, you can rinse thoroughly using a garden hose, but if cleaning bicycle wheels, wipe with a damp cloth to prevent water from touching the bike chain.

Better Than Bleach

Looking to spruce up your whitewall tires on your classic car or vintage Schwinn? Don’t use bleach – it can cause the rubber to dry out and crack. Apply MORE Spray + Foam directly to the whitewall area, or squirt some liquid BKF Soft Cleanser onto a scrub pad and apply to the whitewall, or sprinkle BKF Cleanser onto a damp scrub pad and apply. Scrub whitewalls with the moistened scrub pad. Then rinse well and wipe dry (a toothbrush is the perfect application tool for bicycle tires).

Get Yours Today

Bar Keepers Friend products are available at select retailers and on Amazon. Get your cleaning solution today, and make your wheels sparkle!

About the Author

Felicia Savage is a content strategist, agile marketing enthusiast, and Digital Marketing Manager at Bar Keepers Friend. When she isn’t writing about her love for Bar Keepers Friend (or wiping down her stainless steel sinks), you can find Felicia sparring at her muay thai gym, doodling in her sketchbook, or watching silly cat videos on TikTok.    

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