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Homemade Wheel Cleaner for Polished Aluminum Wheels?

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Old 04-17-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default Homemade Wheel Cleaner for Polished Aluminum Wheels?

I have three cars that I wash at least once a week and they each have polished aluminum wheels. I have been using commercial brands of aluminum wheel cleaners such as Mothers, Mcguires or Eagle One. They all work fine and all that, but shelling out $6.50 - $7.00 every two weeks for al spray bottle of this stuff can add up rather quickly!

Has anyone ever come up with a surefire "formula of common household products" that can be purchased by the gallon, mixed together and is safe on aluminum wheels...and is as effective as the store-bought brands?
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:44 PM   #2
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I've used cheap window cleaner...lately instead of the "car" detailers, I've been using Pledge multi surface cleaner. Works great on chrome, polished and painted surfaces etc.
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:49 PM   #3
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Don't want to sound like a smart azz but I can't stand cleaning aluminum so much anymore that anything I buy is now chrome. My new chrome wheels are great, you wash them and dry them off
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotorHead View Post
I can't stand cleaning aluminum so much anymore that anything I buy is now chrome. My new chrome wheels are great, you wash them and dry them off
But I already have polished aluminum on all my vehicles...so I'm stuck cleaning and polishing them. The next time I purchase wheels, you can bet it will be chrome!!!!


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I've used cheap window cleaner...lately instead of the "car" detailers, I've been using Pledge multi surface cleaner. Works great on chrome, polished and painted surfaces etc.
...That sounds good, but won't the glass cleaner strip the wax??
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:12 PM   #5
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...That sounds good, but won't the glass cleaner strip the wax??
You still have to polish bare aluminum on occasion, but for day to dat clean up.....
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:09 AM   #6
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When you use the word "polish" think of it as an abrasive. There is no protection afterwards. That is why after you polish your car paint you lay down a protective layer of wax on top. Eventually the wax wears off and you put another coat.

I dont believe Mothers, Meguiars (nothing on their labels) or the others has any protection qualities therefore you need to do more. You can use a regular car wax over the polished rims but with heat from the area the wax will fade quicker.

At Autogeek, they sell products for wheels like this http://www.autogeek.net/dp-wheel-glaze.html
and there are others. Make sure there are polymers.http://www.autogeek.net/collinite-metal-wax.html

Not much you can do with the heat around the tire, but with this process perhaps you dont have to polish as often, just wash like you do the surface of the car.

My .02
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:14 PM   #7
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yes there is a product called sharkhide i saw on tv which is a protectant... I'm going to order some and see how well it works...
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karol View Post
At Autogeek, they sell products for wheels like this http://www.autogeek.net/dp-wheel-glaze.html
and there are others. Make sure there are polymers.http://www.autogeek.net/collinite-metal-wax.html

Not much you can do with the heat around the tire, but with this process perhaps you dont have to polish as often, just wash like you do the surface of the car.

My .02
I'm going to try the "wheel glaze".
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:40 PM   #9
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Am I missing something....why not polish them and then paint a clear coat over it to preserve the shinyness?
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:32 AM   #10
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POR-15 makes a product called Glisten.I did the polished wheels on my suburban 5 yrs ago and they still look new.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rick1025 View Post
POR-15 makes a product called Glisten.I did the polished wheels on my suburban 5 yrs ago and they still look new.
Where do you get that? I checked with Eastwood and they said they didn't carry it.

I'm really not looking for polish......just wheel cleaner that's effective & safe on polished aluminum. What types of soaps are safe & effective?
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
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Any dish soap or buy the car wash soap from Wallyworld in the gal. for about $4. It's blue in color and used to be called Coral but think they changed names. Wax with a carnuba wax when done and you can just wipe off with a towel after washing and still shiny. I polish once or twice a year with mothers and they shine all year.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:03 AM   #13
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Buy wheel acid from the chemical guys, spray it on and power wash it off within 30 seconds. It will be more expensive, but you won't need to clean them as often. It will make them look new immediately.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:00 AM   #14
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coke
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:49 AM   #15
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Mr. Clean full strength.
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilded_Splinters View Post
Mr. Clean full strength.
Sounds good....won't hurt the wheel?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetteguy75 View Post
Where do you get that? I checked with Eastwood and they said they didn't carry it.

I'm really not looking for polish......just wheel cleaner that's effective & safe on polished aluminum. What types of soaps are safe & effective?
http://www.por15.com/GLISTEN-PC/productinfo/GPCGG/
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:48 AM   #18
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"Sounds good....won't hurt the wheel?"

Not at all, but wet the wheel first to avoid the possibility of spotting, and they'll need to be somewhat cool.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:15 AM   #19
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A bit of GBL in your washing water does the trick
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:11 AM   #20
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Here is my home made cleaner. For glass cleaner, fill a spray bottle with water and a tbsp of liquid dish soap and a tsp of ammonia. add blue food color so it looks like windex. That is pretty much all window cleaner is anyway. add more ammonia to make it stronger to clean wheel dust and such. If you don't want to make your own, you can't beat buying cheap cleaning supplies at family dollar or any dollar store. same stuff pretty much. Just stay away from alot of the "(insert-color-here)Power" cleaners. Except for simple green, alot of them have lye and are like dilluted oven cleaner. They WILL eat the top layer of oxidation off of aluminum and dull the finish. Even some of the commercial brand wheel cleaners will do that if you're not careful with the small print (may say etching formula or something lke that).
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