How to clean your cars wheels like the detail shops do
For a lot of people who wash their car themselves they don't give the wheels and tires a lot of thought, this is a huge mistake when trying to make your car look great. Take as much time to make the wheels look good as you would spend on the rest of the car during a wash. There are some tools a tricks that make this job easier.
Tools of the trade for a clean set of wheels.
2 - 5 Gallon Pails
1 - Grit Guard
1 - microfiber sponge
1 - Lug Nut Brush
1 - hose and adjustable nozzle
1 - stool to sit on
Pros use the "2 bucket" method on wheels and tires the same way it is when washing a car. When using this method you will fill one 5 gallon pail with clean water and placing a Grit Guard at the bottom. The second bucket holds your soap and water mixture. Always use a quality auto soap and read the mixing ratio directions.
First you place all your cleaning tools into the bucket filled with clean water to saturate them and remove any contaminants like dirt or dust. Rinse off the rim you are going to work on removing and loose dirt and debris. With the tools saturated with water remove the Speed Master Wheel Brush from the clean water give it a couple of shakes to remove some water. Next dunk the brush into the bucket with soapy water and let it pick up a brush full of soap. While fully lubricated with soap clean between all the of spokes of the wheel, on a typical multi star wheel you don't want to clean more than two holes before returning the brush to the rinse bucket.
Swish the brush around in the rinse water, then once again transfer to the soap bucket and finally clean the wheel. Repeat this process with the lug nut brush and then microfiber sponge for the surface of the wheels. Rinse between each step or more often if wheels are very dirty.
The last wash step is the tires. Use a stiff bristle tire brush and still using the 2 bucket method clean all the way around the tire. The reason you use a brush on the tires is to remove old tire dressing and make sure a clean surface to apply a high quality tire dressing.
Using a compressor or detailing blower remove all the excess water from the lug nuts and groves around the wheel. Dry the wheel and tire with a soft towel used specifically for this task, do not dry your cars paint with the same towel.
Apply a high quality wheel dressing with an applicator or microfiber towel. Wait a couple of minutes and wipe around the tire with a dry towel to prevent the excess from slinging on to the paint of your clean car.
An interesting experiment is to clean just the wheels and step back to see how much of a difference this makes on a car that is not clean, it's surprising how just clean wheels make the car look better. Professional detail shops always put a lot of focus on wheels to make a car look phenomenal, you can get the same results following these simple instructions.