How to Clean Chrome Rims

Chrome rims require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. Corrosive materials, such as the salt that is applied to icy roads and brake dust, will ruin rims if left unchecked. Extend the life of chrome rims by cleaning them weekly.

Clean Chrome Rims

Avoid chrome rim damage with a complete and comprehensive cleaning routine as outlined here.

  1. Touch the rims to make sure they are cool before you clean them. Cleaning chrome wheels when they are cool helps prevent spotting.

  2. Spray each of the chrome rims with the water hose. Apply a light mist of water to rinse them thoroughlly. This helps loosen the dirt and debris on the rims before you clean them.

  3. Fill a bucket 3/4 full with cool water. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of mild dishwashing soap to the water. Mix the water with your hand to achieve a sudsy consistency. Saturate the washcloth or sponge by dropping it in the bucket of soapy water.

  4. Rub the washcloth across the chrome rim to remove the bulk of the dirt, road debris and brake dust. Apply gentle pressure as you move the washcloth back and forth against the surface of your rim. Rubbing the chrome too hard or intensely can actually remove some of the chrome from rims.

  5. Rinse the chrome rim with the water hose to inspect the rim for remaining dirt, dust and debris. Pay close attention to the crevices of the chrome rim. Work the washcloth or sponge into the crevices of the rim to remove any remaining dirt or brake dust.

  6. Repeat the same process for each of the chrome rims. After you rinse the clean chrome rims with the water hose, let them air dry.


Polish chrome rims with a specially formulated chrome polish periodically. Chrome polish helps dirt, brake dust and road debris adhere to the polish rather than the chrome on your wheel. This makes cleaning rims easier.


Never use any chemicals to clean chrome rims. Chemicals, especially those that are ammonia-based, will damage them. Never use steel wool, steel brushes or any other abrasive cleaning materials on chrome rims. They will permanently scratch them. Avoid taking your car to commercial car washes. Most commercial car washes use chemicals that can damage chrome rims.