How To Clean Powder Coated Wheels & Make Them Shiny

A trip to the countryside might not be a good experience when riding on powder coated wheels. You are looking at the muddy wheels and wondering how to have them cleaned? Worry no more.

Cleaning powder-coated wheels is not a big challenge as it may seem at first sight. With water, soap, and a brush, you can enjoy cleaning your wheels to look as good as new. For stubborn stains, you should get a wheel cleaner to ease the process of removing the sticky dirt.

This article looks at safe ways ofleaving a shiny surface and being guided on how to carry out the process with less struggle.

What Is A Powder Coated Wheel?

A powder-coated wheel has been sprayed with an electronically bonding powder that sticks to the wheel. The powder coating sticks through a process known as an electrostatic attraction.

Once the sprayed powder forms a uniform coating, the wheel is placed in a hot oven to allow the coating to bake into the surface. Once it has cooled, apply electro-static spray-on powder coatings. This second layer of electronically charged powder consists of a clear coat.

The wheel is finally baked in the oven and allowed to cool, resulting in a painted surface that is easy to clean.

Unlike other wheel painting techniques, powder coating via electrostatic attraction does not require the use of hazardous cleaning agents.

Do I Need To Clean Powder Coated Wheels

All wheels need to be cleaned; powder-coated wheels are not exceptional. We highly recommend you clean and protect matte finish your wheels after a dirty trip with less aggressive methods. For the powder-coated wheels, dirt and grime are more conspicuous; hence frequent clean-ups will be required.

Cleaning powder-coated wheels, especially for off-road vehicles, is important to protect the surface from mud and sand. The traditional use of soap detergents and water remains the best way to clean your car wheels.

Brake dirt and salt particles are one factor that necessitates regular cleaning of the powder-coated wheels. The dust accumulates on the adhesive and corrosive carbon fibers generated by the friction between the brake pads and the rotor.

If left uncleaned, brake rust eats away the clear coat exposing the powdered coating.

If the wheels are extremely dirty with sticky mud, use cleaning detergents formulated for the wheels. Take caution not to leave the cleaners on the wheel surface as they may corrode the clear coat and eat away the powder coating.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Powder Coated Wheels

There are various methods of cleaning powder-coated wheels. Some have negative impacts on the coating, while others will offer you the best results for your wheel.

The aim is to have a sparkling clean wheel without scratching off the coating. Regular cleaning and polishing of your wheels will leave them looking new again.

Cleaning Guide

This guide will enable you to clean your wheels efficiently. For the DIY group, follow this guide to avoid messing up your wheels.

Start by cleaning your wheels and tires before embarking on the rest of the car parts.

What You Need

For efficient cleaning and polishing of your wheels, have these necessities in your car garage. Some of this equipment will make your cleaning easy and save time.

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Soft brush
  • Wheel cleaners
  • Microfiber towel
  • Detailing spray
  • Sealants

1. Use Water, Soap, And A Soft Brush

Any cleaning activity starts with the use of running water and soap. You can consider using a soft brush to scrub the dirt for the sticky dirt gently. This being the initial process, dust, mud, and any foreign matters are washed away.

If the wheel is cleaned at this stage, you can dry the wheel off the excess water using a microfiber towel. If the dirt is sticky and can’t be removed by the soft brush, move on to the next method of using wheel cleaning agents.

2. Use Of Wheel Cleaning Detergents

Don’t give up if the soap and water mixture fails to give you that sparkling shiny wheel surface. Wheel cleaners are formulated to get the assignment done with perfection. The cleaner will remove brake dust and other sticky dirt within seconds.

Once you have removed the outer dirt layer with a general clean using water and soap, apply the wheel cleaner of your choice and leave it for 15minutes. Be careful not to leave the cleaner for long on your wheel as it may rust away from the clear coat.

After 15 minutes:

  1. Scrub the wheel with water and a soft brush to remove the mud and brake dust.
  2. Maintain the wheel wet to avoid scratches from the brush.
  3. Be keen to scrub the wheel fender wells and the lug nuts as brake dirt may hide there.

Repeat the procedure for all the wheels. Rinse wheels thoroughly to remove remaining debris from the wheel.

Here are among the best wheel cleaners we may recommend. These cleaners are non-acidic and thus good for your wheel’s polish coat. You can find them in any wheel cleaner’s stall outlet.

3. Dry The Wheels

This is the final and most crucial stage. Use a microfiber towel or cloth to dry the wheel.

Drying the wheel removes the water spots that may attract dust and dirt if left. The microfiber towel is best recommended for its soft finish and does not leave any thread pieces as many clothes do.

4. Apply A Detailing Spray Or Sealant

Applying these wheel sealants and wax offers a protective layer over the clear coat. The sealant protects the wheel from dirt and brake dust, improving the shine levels.

Wheels with a powder coat and wheel wax are easy to clean since the dirt is removed with the waxing. For maximum protection, allow the wheel to completely dry.


Follow these instructions carefully to achieve the desired results on your wheel.

  1. Spray off the loose dirt using a hosepipe. Avoid strong pressure jet pipes.
  2. In a bucket, mix soap detergents and hot water for cleaning. For the clear coat, make sure the water temperature is moderate.
  3. Dip your sponge in the water soap mix and use the sponge to clean the wheels gently.
  4. If the dirt is sticky, leave the cleaning solution on the surface for some time, then clean it off gently with a soft brush.
  5. If the dirt is still stubborn, go for the wheel cleaners and apply it for 15 minutes. Clean the wheel with running water and a brush.
  6. Use a microfiber towel to dry the wheels.
  7. Apply detailing sprays to protect the clean wheels from dirt and brake dust.


Never allow your wheels to be steam cleaned or washed when they are hot, as this will damage the powdered coating and cause the soapy solution to stick on the hot wheels.

Avoid scrubbing the wheels with a hard brush that may leave the clear coat peeling off.

How To Shine Powder Coated Wheels

How To Shine Powder Coated Wheels

Having clean, shiny wheels are all drivers wish. To ensure a long-lasting shiny appearance, have your wheels cleaned properly.

Once the wheels are dry, apply wheel wax and sealants to achieve a shiny surface on your wheels. Use a microfiber cloth wrapped around a thin stick to polish between spokes. Avoid using woolen material on clear-coated wheels for improved shine.

How Often Should You Clean Your Wheels

Clean your wheels at least once or twice a week. The longer you keep your wheels dirty, the more the damage. Do not let the brake rust and mud stain your new wheels.


Cleaning and maintenance of wheels are very important in ensuring the durability of your wheels. Regular polishing your wheels will save you on the cost of changing your wheels often. Cleaning powder-coated wheels is an easy task if you get it right. With the right equipment, you can clean it yourself.

The wheel cleaners ensure you exercise caution to avoid damaging the clear coat. Always use non-acidic cleaners. Upon reading this article, you will be well informed on cleaning powder-coated wheels. So, this is how to clean powder-coated wheels.

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