How to Clean Hubcaps Without Removing Them

Written by april dowling
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How to Clean Hubcaps Without Removing Them
Hubcap are often used for decorative purposes. (slammed image by Micah Jared from

Hubcaps are designed to cover wheels and protect wheel components from deterioration. They are generally composed of plastic or metal for durability and longevity. However, hubcaps inevitably become dirty from brake dust, dirt, road salts and grime. Exposure to weather conditions causes metal hubcaps to lose their shine and eventually rust. Regularly cleaning hubcaps preserves their appearance and extends their lifespan. Clean, shiny hubcaps also complement a vehicle's overall aesthetic appeal. It is unnecessary to remove hubcaps before cleaning them.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Spray nozzle
  • Garden hose
  • Liquid car wash soap
  • Plastic bucket
  • Lambswool mitt
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Clean terrycloth towel
  • Car wax
  • 2 clean microfiber cloths

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  1. 1

    Park the vehicle in the shade. Allow the hubcaps to completely cool.

  2. 2

    Attach a spray nozzle to a garden hose. Rinse the hubcap with water from the garden hose to loosen brake dust, dirt and grime. Spray behind the hubcap to wash away hidden debris. Focus on one hubcap at a time.

  3. 3

    Mix liquid car wash soap with water in a plastic bucket. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the bottle for specific amounts of cleaner and water.

  4. 4

    Wipe the hubcap with the soapy solution using a lambswool mitt. Scrub the hubcap's crevices with a soft-bristled brush to dislodge accumulated grime. Frequently rinse the mitt and brush with fresh water to prevent reapplying gunk to the hubcap.

  5. 5

    Spray the hubcap with water from the garden hose to rinse away soap and loose debris.

  6. 6

    Dry the hubcap with a clean terrycloth towel.

  7. 7

    Apply car wax to a clean microfiber cloth. Rub the cloth in circular motions over the hubcap to evenly distribute the wax. Allow the wax to completely dry.

  8. 8

    Wipe away the dried wax and haze using another microfiber cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • You can substitute a commercial wheel cleaner for the soapy solution.
  • Some brands of commercial wheel cleaners contain hydrofluoric acid, which can strip the finish off wheels and hubcaps.

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