Can I Use WD-40 To Clean My Rims?

Can I Use WD-40 To Clean My Rims?

Cleaning your rims so that your vehicle looks great is sometimes too low on a to-do list because it seems hard. But having shining rims is a great way to prepare a car for sale or just show off your ride. But can you use WD-40 to clean your car rims?

WD-40 can work as a rim cleaner, but it’s far from the ideal or even a backup cleaner. You should use microfiber cloths, rim cleaner, or soap and water to effectively clean your rims.

We’ll go through some dos and don’ts surrounding rim cleaning, as well as detailed instructions on how to get the best-looking rims out there.

What Is the Easiest Way To Clean Rims?

Can I Use WD-40 To Clean My Rims?

Rims on modern cars tend to be made out of aluminium. Cleaning aluminium requires a dedicated wheel wash bucket, washing mitt, safe wheel brushes, and specialized drying towels. It’s also best if you have a hose with a sprayer attachment and cleaning liquid.

You want to use a clean, dedicated wheel wash bucket for your rim cleaning. This means that microparticles like sand and other debris do not get into the bucket and then get rubbed onto the rims, scratching them.

A washing mitt is a microfiber-based cloth glove that helps clean while reducing scratching. The Chemical Guys Chenille Wash Mitt will not only drastically lower the chances of scratches, but will also hold plenty of soap suds to ensure the best cleaning outcomes.

This means you can clean painted and unpainted surfaces without worrying about marring the paintwork or finish.

A wheel brush is used for getting into the gaps and hard to reach places of rims. The TAKAVU Wheel Rim Brush measures 18 inches and will help get at and remove dirt and dust on your car rims.

As it is also made of microfiber, you can use it to clean delicate rims with confidence. The brush has a flexible shaft, meaning it can get behind spokes or other components to do a deep and full clean.

From Amazon you can grab Adam’s Wheel Cleaner, a 16 ounce spray bottle specifically made for chrome, aluminium and plasti dipped rims.

First, rinse off surface level dirt and dust with the hose. This doesn’t require a lot of pressure and if you can use warm water, that will likely help loosen caked on grime and dirt slightly better.

Next, apply the cleaner all over the rims and leave to sit for some time. Use the cleaning mitt or brush and get the rims as clean as you can. You can wash off excess cleaner from the rims, then use the clean drying towels to dry them.

Repeat the process as necessary, but that should help clean any type of rims to new.

Can I Use WD-40 To Clean My Rims?

The full list of ingredients making up WD-40 is still a company secret despite being invented in the 1950s. WD-40 can have some cleaning properties but generally it’s better to use for lubricating and help with rust prevention.

We know from the material data sheets that WD-40 contains Aliphatic Hydrocarbon, Petroleum Oil, and LVP Aliphatic Hydrocarbon. None of these are particularly good cleaning products alone or together.

While WD-40 does have useful properties like water displacement and lubrication, this is not going to do a great job cleaning metal or your car rims. 

WD-40 is not used for removing paint and so is not known for any paint stripping qualities. Unfortunately, this does not mean it is safe to use on paint as it does leave behind an oily mark.

This means that WD-40 shouldn’t be left on surfaces for a long time, as it will affect the color. On top of this, WD-40 leaves behind a sticky film when used. This film is a magnet for dust and dirt. 

As WD-40 is an oil, it will penetrate into any surface it is sprayed on. This does not mean that you want to go ahead and use WD-40 to clean your rims.

WD-40 is more an oil, lubricant, and for rust prevention rather than cleaning car rims. While this is useful in some applications, cleaning your rims doesn’t require you to get oil into the metal itself.

The main issue with using WD-40 is that it requires a lot of WD-40 for even a small surface area.

While this may work with smaller components, if you’re cleaning all four car rims, this is a very ineffective way to use WD-40 and the results are unlikely to be much better than soap and water.

What Is the Best Thing To Clean Rims With?

Can I Use WD-40 To Clean My Rims?

Rims are best cleaned with care and not an overly abrasive cleaner. Use microfiber cloths and soft brushes complemented by specialist rim cleaners. 

Be sure to always test these suggestions on an inconspicuous area so that any unexpected damage is hidden.

Steel wool and other powerful cleaning tools are likely to cause more harm than good, even with very dirty rims. Scratching the finish or metal will be permanent and expensive to fix.

If you don’t have a specialty rim cleaner, then standard dish soap and water will do wonders. Mix up your cleaning solution using one part soap to water, even consider putting in some baking powder to boost the cleaning power.

Another option is to look at some soft drinks as a cleaner. As strange as it may sound, many soft drinks contain phosphoric acid and this is a great home remedy to remove rust or caked-on dirt. Washing off the soft drink is important as the residue will be sticky.

One of the best home cleaning remedies is white vinegar, water, dish soap, and lemon juice. It can clean almost anything and is unlikely to damage metal rims.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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