How to Make Black Rims Shine

How to Make Black Rims Shine

Black rims look sharp, but like all wheels, they’ll get dirty with road grime, brake dust, and other debris. This post will share a step-by-step guide to cleaning black rims and discuss the benefits of routinely cleaning your wheels. 

To clean black rims: Rinse the wheel with water, spray a wheel cleaner, let the product sit for the proper amount of time, clean the wheel with a brush or microfiber towel, and give the wheel a final rinse.

Tools list

To clean your black rims, you’ll need the following: 

  • Hose or a water bucket 
  • Wheel cleaner 
  • Wheel brush
  • Microfiber towels 
  • Optional, but recommended: A tire finish 

Things to consider

Wheel cleaners come in various types, ranging in strength and pH. Stronger wheel cleaners will have a low pH, making them acidic. Acidic cleaners are the strongest, but you must take extra care with them; prolonged exposure can cause damage and spots. You should only use acidic wheel cleaners sporadically when you need to clean exceptionally dirty wheels. 

For basic cleans, opt for a neutral pH wheel cleaner. These cleaners are strong enough to clean everyday debris and won’t risk damaging your rim. Neutral cleaners typically range anywhere from 4-9 on the pH scale. 

If you need a neutral pH wheel cleaner, consider Stoner Car Care’s <LINK>. It features a foaming action that helps the solution cling to wheels, providing a deep clean.

Before you clean…

Before taking any steps, ensure that the wheels and your work area are close to the outside/room temperature. Wheels get hot fast from friction when braking, and you could damage their components by rapidly cooling down their surfaces. Wait about an hour after a long drive or if you find the wheel is hot. Similarly, if you begin cleaning and notice steam rising from the wheels, stop cleaning and wait for the surfaces to cool.

Rinse the wheel with water

To begin cleaning, use a hose or water bucket to rinse your wheel with cool water. This step doesn’t have to be thorough; the goal is to remove light dust or debris. Rinse each wheel from top to bottom. 

Spray on wheel cleaner

Now, spray down the wheel with your wheel cleaner. If you’re using a more robust wheel cleaner with a high pH, spray no more than the recommended amount. You can be more liberal with your spray if using a basic wheel cleaner.

Let the product sit for the proper amount of time

Rims take not only the brunt of road damage, but they’re right next to brake calipers that can heat to well over 350℉ during everyday use. Over time, heat and friction cause grime to bake onto your wheel. Fortunately, wheel cleaners are engineered to remove stubborn debris – they just need time to work. Read the back of the label to ensure you give proper time for your cleaner to take effect before moving on to the following steps. 

Clean the wheel with a brush or microfiber towel

Once your cleaning solution has had the appropriate amount of time to work, you can begin cleaning using a wheel cleaning brush. These brushes are fantastic tools that allow you to reach all areas of the wheel. Work from top to bottom as you clean, as lifted grime will travel down the black rims. Rinse the brush as needed to avoid reapplying dirt and debris as you work. 

You can use a microfiber towel to wipe down your wheels if you don’t have a brush handy. You can fold and contour microfibers to get into any small cracks and crevasses of your rims.

Give the wheel a final rinse

Once all four wheels are thoroughly scrubbed, do a final rinse to remove the lifted gunk and grime. Rinse from top to bottom, ensuring you cover the rim and rubber tires. 

After that, your black rims should look brand new! We recommend cleaning your wheels every two weeks. Not only will routine cleaning simplify future detailing, but it’ll also help protect the mechanics that make up your wheel. In the long run, you’ll prevent wear and tear, saving time and money. 

Optionally, apply a tire finish

Your black rims may now look brand new, but you likely still have seemingly faded brown or worn-out-looking tires. An application of tire finish will not only restore a deep dark shine; it’ll help prolong the lifespan of your tires. 

Consider Stoner’s Tire Shine to protect your tires from harmful UV rays and help protect against fading, cracking, or damage. This product also leaves a deep, dark shine to restore your wheels’ appearance. 

Benefits to routine wheel cleaning

Aesthetics aside, cleaning your wheels routinely is beneficial in several ways. The table below shares some of the key benefits of regular wheel cleaning.


Benefits How Wheel Cleaning Helps

Improved Safety
and Performance
  • Brake dust and road debris contain carbon fibers and adhesives. 
  • These substances can crack and corrode your rims over time.
  • Contaminants combined with heat and friction can CORRODE your wheels and their components.
  • Routine cleaning prevents corrosion and damage!

Saved Time
  • The more often you clean, the fewer contaminants will build up.
  • Routine cleaning will reduce cleaning time while preventing future headaches and issues!

Saved Money
  • Rim cleaner costs much less than the costs of repairs.
  • Clean rims perform better and last longer.
  • Over time, you will enjoy savings by avoiding repairs and expensive parts and labor costs.


Restore that deep, dark shine!

It might require specific products and techniques to clean your wheels properly, but routine detailing will save you time and money and – most notably – keep you and your passengers safe. When cleaning your black rims, remember to: Rinse the wheel with water, spray a wheel cleaner, let the product sit for the proper amount of time, clean the wheel with a brush or microfiber towel, and give the wheel a final rinse. Feel good about the fact that you’re protecting your wheels and improving their performance as you enjoy the ride!

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