How to Clean Brake Dust

Learning how to clean brake dust from your car’s wheels during car washing is a pretty much straightforward task. It doesn’t take much effort to wipe off, or wash, the dust on your car’s rims, fenders, or chassis areas to regain its glossy look. However, a little knowledge is required when it comes to cleaning any grime or dust that has bonded to the surface off the wheels and brake pads areas during maintenance.

Cleaning brake dust and grime is aimed at not only giving your wheels a glossy-finish look but to also get rid of the dirt, sand, salts, or road tar, which pose a threat to your braking system.

Now, how do you clean brake dust off your wheels?  Let’s find out.

Procedure for cleaning brake dust

Here’s a breakdown of the procedure to clean brake dust & dirt from your vehicle:

  1. Make sure the wheels are out of direct sunlight and are cool to touch.
  2. Begin the cleaning process by rinsing the wheels with water to remove the loose heavy or big dust, dirt, and grime particles. That allows you to also soak the surfaces and start to concentrate on the smaller particles and films. Depending on your wheel/rim color, brake dirt will take a black, brown, or gray shade.
  3. Next, choose the correct cleaning soap(s), and equipment for your brake dust removal exercise. Soap and water aren’t usually enough for the job so see our recommended picks below. You’ll need a couple of brushes and a dust-cleaning agent. Wheels and reams are not made of the same material, and different cleaning agents affect them differently so be sure to test the cleaner on them before applying to the entire surface.
  4. Apply the brake dust cleaning agent to the wheel/ream, and let it soak for the recommended time. Be careful to stay focused and follow directions. Leaving certain cleaners to sit longer than recommended may stain the rim or your plastics, or paint.
  5. Once you have given the cleaning agent time to settle and soak in, take a brush or a soft scrubbing material or both, and gently scrub the surface with the recommended brake dust cleaning agent. Gentle rubs are often enough to eradicate dirt from your wheel/rim.  Apply more time and effort to your scrubbing, if necessary, but take care to scrub so hard as to leave scratches.
  6. Once you’re through with the rubbing and scrubbing, it’s now time to rinse the wheel. With a hose, spray water to rinse the wheel surface you were previously working on. If you realize there are missed spots, repeat the cleaning procedure on these parts. If you were thorough, then it’s time to move to the next step; drying.
  7. As you start to dry first check to verify you’ve done everything perfectly, then pick a dry cloth and wipe off the moisture from your wheel.

And that’s it. You’re done now.

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