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How to Clean Black Rims

by Shannon Johnson

To properly care for and clean your vehicle's black rims, you need to know the type of finish your rims have to clean them without damaging them. Different finishes --- such as matte or glossy --- as well the rim's makeup material will determine the cleansers and polishes you can safely use on your vehicle. Check your vehicle's owner's manual or, if you bought the rims after market, check their manual to determine the makeup.

Park your vehicle under a car tent or shaded area. This will allow you to clean the rims without the sun's drying the soap faster than you can rinse it off. Turn off the vehicle and let the car cool so the brakes and metal around the rims are not too hot to touch.

Rinse the rims. Depending on the type of black coating on your rims and the amount of dirt, you may want to use a pressure washer attachment on your hose. Check your owner's manual to see whether your rims are designed for such pressure.

Mix a few drops of a mild cleanser, such as dish soap, and water in a large bucket. Opt for cleansers without additives such as bleach because these may cause the black paint to discolor or could strip the color.

Wash the rims with the cleanser mix. Nonabrasive sponges or pads are best when working with black rims. Before directly touching any surfaces, make sure the car's structure (in this case, brakes, and the metal from the wheel housing) has cooled to a safe temperature.

Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush or sponge tip to get to the vent areas in the rims. Gently scrub away the dirt and oil residue out of these spaces.

Remove your water hose pressure washer attachment if you put one on and rinse the rim thoroughly.

Dry off the rims with a black, lint-free towel.

Polish glossy rims evenly using a polish safe for black rims. A polish will boost the shine of glossy rims after washing. Apply the liquid polish to a rag or sponge and rub it onto the rims in a quick, circular motion until evenly coated.

Wax your rims until the wax has been completely rubbed in and unnoticeable. Use the same technique as with the polish. This will create a thin layer between debris, dirt, oil and your rims. Therefore, the next time you clean the rims, just rinsing with water will get rid of much of the dirt before you start with the soap.

Tip

  • Black rim polish can help hide inconsistencies or flaking with your rims' paint job.

Warning

  • Steel wool cleaning pads will likely leave behind very noticeable scarring on your rims.

Items you will need

About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.

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