How to Clean Wheel Center Caps

Wheel center caps are essential in protecting the tires. They prevent the tires from getting dirty on the inside. It’s possible to drive your car without center caps. But it exposes your tires to rust. Learning how to clean the center caps can ensure your tires perform well. Thus, making your next road trip safer.

Cleaning center caps or hub caps is not very difficult. There are many easy ways you can use to clean it properly. One of the methods often used is using a wheel cleaning solvent. Gently spray some solvent on the cap. Wipe it down with a clean cloth. Then rinse it with clean water.

However, this was just the snap of the detailed process we are going to discuss in this article. If you want to ensure your next drive is smoother and safer, then keep reading below.

How to Clean Wheel Center Caps

Wear and tear on the center caps from the everyday drive is natural. It covers the center bore and the wheel bearing. Which prevents rust from penetrating inside. Cleaning center caps defend your wheels. Which, as a result, protects you. For a safer drive, learn how to clean center caps by following the steps below:

Step 1: Spray Some Wheel Cleaning Solvent on the Caps

Spray Some Wheel Cleaning Solvent on the Caps

Use your favorite wheel cleaning solvent. Spray it on the caps a couple of times. Now let the solvent sit on the caps for 60 to 70 seconds.

Step 2: Dip Your Brush in Water and Scrub the Caps

Scrub the Caps with Brush

Now the solvent is sitting on the caps. Get yourself a suitable scrubbing brush. Dip it in a bucket of water. And scrub the caps thoroughly a few times.

Step 3: Rinse the Caps with Clean Water

Now that you are done with scrubbing, it’s time for rinsing. Pour clean water on the caps until all the solvent washes away.

Step 4: Wipe the Caps Off with A Clean Cloth

Wipe the Caps Off with A Clean Cloth

After that, wipe your center caps with a clean cloth to make them squeaky clean. You can also use a clean microfiber cloth for added care.

How Do You Clean Plastic Center Caps?

Clean Plastic Center Caps

Wheel center caps can come in different materials such as plastic, chrome, etc. Every material has its advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to plastic, don’t use hot water; it damages the material. Cleaning plastic comes with much less hassle. For better cleaning of this material, follow the basic steps below:

Step 1: Mix Dishwashing Liquid and Baking Soda in Clean Water

Pour some dishwashing liquid and baking soda into a bucket of water. Mix it properly to create the cleaning solvent.

Step 2: Soak A Sponge in the Solvent You Created and Scrub

Take a big sponge and soak it in the solvent you previously created. Now scrub the caps with the soaked sponge. Scrub it for few times and let them rest.

Step 3: Pour Room Temperature Water Until the Solvent Fades Away

It’s time to rinse the caps. Use room temperature water from the hose pipe if you have one. Or just use a bucket of clean water. Now pour the clean water on the caps until the solvent on the wheels washes away.

Step 4: Wipe Your Plastic Caps with A Clean, Dry Microfiber Cloth

Get a clean, dry microfiber cloth and wipe the caps off. After wiping the caps off properly a couple of times, your center caps will be shiny. And in tip-top condition.

How Do I Restore Center Caps in Chrome?

Restore Chrome center caps

Chrome center caps are a long time investment. As they are long-lasting and don’t rust for many years. They are durable and don’t need to be cleaned often. Once in a while, the caps catch rust, and the need for restoration arises. Thus, if you want to restore them to better shape, follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Dip the Center Caps in Acid

Wear gloves for safety and dip the center caps in acid. Use phosphoric acid for this process. Let the caps rest in the acid for some time and take it out. The acid will react with rust and make it weak. Thus, making it possible to remove it through scrubbing.

Step 2: Spray Cleaning Solvent

Use a cleaning solvent such as Windex, which doesn’t cause harm to chrome. Put the solvent in a spray bottle and spray it on the caps. After that, let the caps sit for at least a minute.

Step 3: Use Steel Wool for Scrubbing on Chrome

Now that the caps are coated in a solvent, it’s time to start scrubbing. Use steel wool and scrub the chrome caps thoroughly for some time. Scrubbing with steel wool will help remove the rust. As it was oxidized when dipped in acid.

Step 4: Wipe the Caps with A Clean Cloth

Wipe the caps off thoroughly with a clean cloth to remove the residual rust and solvent. Microfiber cloth is also preferable for added care. After you are done wiping, the chrome caps should be shiny.

Step 4: Use Glass Cleaning Wax for Polishing

Take a microfiber cloth and pour a little bit of your preferred glass cleaning wax on it. Then rub the cloth on the chrome caps couple of times. Continuous wiping with wax will make the caps shiny and polished. After that, you can even see your reflection on it.

How Do You Polish Aluminum Center Caps?

Polish Aluminum Center Caps

Aluminum alloy in center caps is cheaper than the rest of the metals. It’s lighter and resistant to rust. That’s one of the reasons aluminum is used in sports cars. However, aluminum is fragile; it does break or catch rust in the long run. To polish aluminum and make it shiny as before, follow these basic steps below:

Step 1: Apply Cleaning Solvent Such As WD-40, Which Prevents Rust From Forming

Take your wd-40 spray and spray it on the aluminum caps. Wd-40 has chemicals that protect aluminum from rusting and corrosion. Alternatively, you can use your favorite rust-preventing cleaning liquid.

Step 2: Take A Scrubbing Pad and Wipe the Caps Back and Forth

Take a suitable scrubbing pad and rub it on the solvent-coated aluminum a few times. The more you wipe, the shinier it becomes.

Step 3: Use A Clean Rag to Wipe Off the Residual Solvent

Wipe the residual solvent off of the metal by using a clean rag. Keep wiping until all the residual solvent comes off. You can also use a clean microfiber cloth as another option.

Step 4: Wipe to Make It Shine Like A Mirror

Start by pouring your favorite aluminum polish wax on a clean cloth. As usual, a microfiber cloth can be used as an alternate option. Now wipe the caps back and forth with the cloth. Wipe until the center caps become shiny like a mirror.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why you shouldn’t use Fix-a-Flat?

Fix-a-Flat is a great temporary fix for a flat tire, but it’s not a long-term solution and it will void your warranty. Also, it’s tough cleaning the goop off your hands and clothes. So, unless you know how to clean Fix-a-Flat out of a tire, we recommend avoiding it.

Will vinegar clean aluminum wheels?

Yes, it can. To clean aluminum wheels with vinegar, mix one part vinegar with three parts water. Soak a cloth in the mixture and wipe down the aluminum wheels. Rinse the wheels with water and dry them off with a towel.

How do you make old rims look new?

Spray them with a silver paint. It will make them look like they are new again!


No matter what type of car you might have, the caps will protect your tires until their lifetime. Wear and tear are inevitable as long as you drive. But the caps prevent dust, grime, rust, etc., from affecting your tires. So take care of it once in a while

Use appropriate cleaning methods according to the metal-made center caps. Cleaning them from time to time will not only protect your tires. As well, it will ensure the longevity of the wheel and tires. Speaking of the wheels, since you now know the caps cleaning process, why not learn the whole thing by cleaning centerline wheels from scratch. Do we dare?

We all sometimes don’t have time on our hands. So feel free to go to your local car wash for professional cleaning.

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