How to Clean Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels: Complete Guide

Diamond cut wheels look very striking, but unfortunately they’re prone to corrosion which can easily ruin the finish. In order to minimise the risk of this corrosion, it’s important to clean the alloys regularly using the right techniques and products.

In this article I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about cleaning your diamond cut wheels and keeping them looking their best.

What You’ll Need

  • Pressure Washer (or Garden Hose with Nozzle Attachment)
  • All-Purpose Cleaner (APC) or Citrus Pre-Wash
  • pH Neutral or Mildly Alkaline Wheel Cleaner or Shampoo
  • Microfiber Wheel Mitt
  • Soft Detailing Brush
  • Microfiber or Wool Wheel Barrell Brush
  • Large Bucket of Water (ideally 15-20 litres)
  • Microfiber Towel

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Pressure Washer

If you have a pressure washer available, you’ll find this to be more effective than a garden hose for cleaning your wheels. It’s more capable of removing dirt and brake dust than a hose, and it’ll save time.  If you do not have access to a pressure washer, make sure you use a powerful nozzle attachment to create more pressure out of the hose.

APC or Citrus Pre-Wash

I’d recommend using either an all-purpose cleaner (diluted to the recommended concentration) or a citrus pre-wash spray to clean the alloys before making any contact with them. This ensures as much dirt is removed as possible and not rubbed into the finish which can cause scratches.

Here are my favourite options:

Wheel Cleaner/ Shampoo

I’d always recommend using a dedicated wheel cleaner or wheel shampoo to clean any type of wheel finish. Do not use household products such as dish soap or any other chemicals that are not formulated for use on alloy wheels specifically as you could end up damaging the finish.

Here are my favourite options:

I’d advise against using any kind of acidic wheel cleaner or very strong alkaline wheel cleaner on diamond cut wheels as they can damage the finish. Make sure you check on the bottle that the wheel cleaner you are using is safe for diamond cut wheels.

Tools and Accessories

In order to agitate the wheel cleaner you’ll need a wheel mitt. I prefer to use a microfiber mitt for the bulk of the wheel compared to using a brush or sponge as it is much less likely to cause scratches.

However, to get into the more intricate areas, for example around the lug nuts, you’ll likely need a brush. I like using a super soft brush (linked below) as it is safer on the finish.

To give the wheels a thorough clean I like to clean the barrels as well as the face of the wheel using a wheel barrel brush. On diamond cut wheels I like using a softer microfiber or wool style brush compared to a bristle style brush which is more likely to cause minor scratches and marring.

It’s also a good idea to clean the tires using a stiff bristle brush during the process.

To dry off the wheels after they’ve been cleaned, you can use a microfiber towel. Avoid using chamois leather or bath towels as these are highly likely to cause scratches.

Finally, I have a 20 litre bucket full of water to store my brushes/ mitt when I’m not holding them. I also like to rinse these tools off with the pressure washer before putting them back in the bucket to prevent the water getting dirty.

Here are my favourite options:

Diamond Cut Wheel Cleaning Process (Step by Step)

Now you know what you’ll need, let’s go through the process. Here are the key steps:

  1. Pre-Wash the Wheels
  2. Apply the Wheel Cleaner
  3. Agitate the Wheel Cleaner
  4. Rinse and Dry

Pre-Wash the Wheels

Diamond cut wheels are fairly sensitive and quite prone to scratches due to their soft finish. One of the best ways to minimise the risk of scratches is to pre-wash the wheels first and remove as much abrasive dirt and brake dust as possible before using any mitts or brushes to touch the wheel.

If you don’t have a pre-wash chemical, you can just rinse the wheels using a pressure washer which should remove a lot of the dirt. However, using a pre-wash chemical will make the process more effective.

  • Dilute your pre-wash chemical (if necessary) to the appropriate concentration and spray liberally onto the dry wheel.
  • Allow to dwell for a couple of minutes if possible but do not let it dry out.
  • Rinse the wheel using the pressure washer thoroughly

Apply the Wheel Cleaner

Now you can apply your wheel cleaner onto the alloy faces and into the barrel of the wheel. Different products will have different application instructions so make sure you follow them. Typically this just involves spraying the wheel cleaner directly onto the wheel, but sometimes it may need diluting first.

Agitate the Wheel Cleaner

  • Use the wheel mitt to clean the wheel face
  • Use the soft detailing brush to clean any intricate areas e.g. lug nuts and caliper
  • Use the wheel barrel brush to clean the area behind the spokes
  • Clean the tyres using the citrus/ APC used previously and the stiff bristle brush

I like to rinse the tools/ accessories off with the pressure washer before placing them back into the bucket in order to keep the water clean.

Rinse and Dry

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the wheel, you can then rinse away all the lifted dirt and the wheel cleaner.

It’s a good idea to clean the wheels on the car before cleaning the bodywork to avoid splashing dirt onto freshly cleaned paint when cleaning the wheels.

Once you’ve finished washing the car, use the microfiber towel to dry off the wheels. I’d advise using a separate microfiber towel to dry the paintwork.

Video Demonstration

If you’d like to learn more about my wheel cleaning process and my favourite products and techniques to use, check out this quick video on my YouTube channel.

Protecting Diamond Cut Alloys

In order to keep your diamond cut wheels looking fresh for as long as possible, it’s a good idea to keep them protected as well as just clean.

The best form of protection is a ceramic coating. These last for 1-2 years and provide the most protection from the environment and make dirt less likely to stick to the wheels. I have ceramic coated my own car’s wheels using Garage Therapy Hades which I’d highly recommend.

However, the drawback of ceramic coatings are that they are time-consuming to apply and the process takes a lot of preparation so they’re not great options for beginners to apply themselves, in which case you’ll need to take the car to a professional detailer instead.

Alternatively, you can use a spray and rinse sealant which is applied to the wheel once cleaned but still wet, then rinsed immediately to leave a hydrophobic layer of protection. These typically only last around 4-6 weeks but are very quick to use.

Gyeon Wet Coat (link to Amazon) is a good example of this type of product.

How Often Should You Clean Diamond Cut Alloys?

As I mentioned at the start of this article, diamond cut wheels are more prone to corrosion compared to other types of wheel finishes such as painted or powder coated.

Brake dust, which quickly collects onto the wheel surface when driving, is a corrosive substance, hence it’s a good idea to clean the wheels frequently.

On a daily driven car, I’d recommend cleaning the wheels at least every 2 weeks. If the car is driven less frequently, every month should be sufficient.

Links to products mentioned in this article:



Heather is a professional car detailer & valeter based in Cheshire and the owner of Auto Care HQ. A familiar face in the car detailing community, she has written over 200 car detailing guides on and has produced over 165 videos on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel.

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