How to Polish Aluminum Wheels by Hand – A Step-by-Step Guide


Aluminum wheels are a popular choice for many car owners due to their light weight and attractive appearance. However, over time, aluminum wheels can become dull and tarnished due to environmental factors such as road salt, dirt, and grime. Fortunately, it’s easy to restore the shine to your aluminum wheels with a little bit of elbow grease and the right supplies.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps needed to properly polish aluminum wheels by hand. We’ll also discuss why it’s important to take the time to polish your wheels and the benefits of doing so.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin polishing your aluminum wheels, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. These include:

  • Soapy water
  • Soft brush
  • Aluminum polish
  • Clean, soft cloth
  • Wax (optional)

Once you have all the necessary supplies, you’re ready to start polishing your aluminum wheels!

Clean the Wheels with Soapy Water
Clean the Wheels with Soapy Water

Clean the Wheels with Soapy Water

The first step in polishing your aluminum wheels is to clean them with soapy water. This will help remove any dirt, grime, or road salt that has accumulated on the wheels over time. To do this, fill a bucket or sink with soapy water and dip the soft brush into it. Then, scrub the wheels thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.

Once you’ve finished scrubbing the wheels, rinse off the soap with clean water and dry the wheels with a clean, dry cloth.

Apply Aluminum Polish to the Wheels

Now that the wheels are clean, it’s time to apply the aluminum polish. Before you begin, read the instructions on the aluminum polish can carefully. Most cans will instruct you to apply a thin layer of polish to the wheel using a clean cloth.

Once you’ve applied the polish, allow it to sit for several minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Buff the Wheels with a Clean, Soft Cloth

The next step is to buff the wheels with a clean, soft cloth. Start by rubbing the wheel briskly in circular motions until the wheel is shiny and free of streaks. It may take a few minutes of buffing to achieve the desired results.

Wax the Wheels for Added Shine and Protection (optional)

If you want to add an extra layer of shine and protection to your aluminum wheels, you can apply a car wax specifically designed for aluminum wheels. Apply a thin layer of wax to the wheel using a clean cloth, then allow it to sit for several minutes before buffing it off with a clean, soft cloth.


Polishing aluminum wheels by hand is a great way to make them look like new again. The process is relatively simple, but it does require some time and effort. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily restore the shine to your aluminum wheels in no time.

By polishing your aluminum wheels regularly, you can keep them looking like new and protect them from the elements. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your vehicle and make a good impression on others.

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