How do I clean brake dust off of my rims?

I've been storing an old car in my family's barn for the past few years and now I am ready to drive it again. It sat too long and now brake dust is caked all over the rims. How do I clean brake dust off the rims?

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Answer provided by
Shannon Martin
Answered on May 02, 2022
If the layer of brake dust is really thick, taking your car to the car wash won’t do the job. Instead, cleaning brake dust off your car’s rims is inexpensive and something you can do at home!
Instead of a bucket of soap and water, you will want to purchase a cleaner formulated for brake dust cleaning. Depending on your cleaner of choice, the cleaning solution will cost anywhere from $5-$20 and you can find it at your local auto parts or big box store.
Tire rims are either steel, alloy, or aluminum so make sure the cleanser is formulated for your wheels by checking the label. Next, follow these steps:
  • Rinse your wheels with water.
  • Saturate each wheel with the cleaning solution.
  • Wait for the suggested amount of time listed on the product’s back label.
  • Scrub the wheel with a soft brush or microfiber towel.
  • Rinse your wheels with water again. If you have missed any spots, repeat the process.
  • Once your wheels look clean, towel dry with a clean cloth.
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