How to Use Muriatic Acid to Clean Wheels

by Kallie Johnson
retro car, wheel image by strokine from

After attempting cleaning method after cleaning method, you still cannot remove the residue, tar or sap on your vehicle's wheels. Muriatic acid, an extremely strong and corrosive acid, can work to quickly remove what seems impossible. However, due to its corrosive nature, it should only be used when absolutely necessary. It is also important to ensure all of the acid is rinsed from the wheels once cleaning is completed. If any is left on the wheels, it can eat away at the metal rims and any coatings or paint used.

Step 1

Add 10 cups of warm water to a bucket. Add 1 cup of muriatic acid to the water. Always add the water first, followed by the acid. If acid is added, followed by water, it can cause the water to pop or explode upward, potentially getting on you.

Step 2

Dip a cloth into the acid. Rub the mixture into the wheels.

Rinse the muriatic acid mixture from the wheels within 60 seconds of wiping the acid onto it. If left on the wheels for long periods of time, the acid can eat away at the metal and finish. If longer exposure is needed, repeat the process.


  • Always wear protective gloves, eye goggles and protective clothing when working with muriatic acid. If it gets on your skin, it will cause an acid burn. It is also recommend you have baking soda on hand. Should the acid spill, sprinkle baking soda over the spill to absorb the acid.


  • Never mix any other chemicals or cleaners with muriatic acid.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Muriatic acid
  • Soft cloth
  • Hose

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