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keeping aluminum rims clean on bicycle

I am looking to keep my alum rims clean and in good shape. I have heard people recommend scotch brite, emery cloth, ect what say you Bicyclists out there. Thanks

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8 Replies

I wouldn't use anything abrasive, just a shop towel moistened with a little water - or maybe some mild soapy water.

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Water, sometimes with a little detergent, and wipe clean.  No need for abrasives,

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Thank you hikermor


thank you for the info:) that makes the best sense


Yep, I agree with the rest, I try to wash my bike more than I would think is necessary, every two or three rides and I hit the rims with a little soapy water before I hose them clean.



Hi, more of the same thoughts from me but a slight twist.  After a wet towel and dry I firmly wipe my rims with alcohol, 70-90%,whatever you have.  And, always always run a rough towel over your brake pads to clean them up, gets rid of tiny abrasion sources like sand and dirt.  🙂.  


I live in an upstairs apartment, and I wipe the tires with a wet paper towel and let them dry before bringing my bicycle inside across the carpeting to its decorative wall mount.  When it rains I wipe the entire bicycle down with several shop towels, (we get about 4 inches of rain on average, last several years it has been less).

Occasionally I will drive to one of the major bicycle trails and when I come home the tires are cleaner, not having a lot of black deposits on a wet towel as I experience when riding a route that consists of street pavement. 

About every three/four rides I also wipe the rims, spokes and bottom of the down tube and seat stays clean to remove the dust that can accumulate in less than a week.  Once or twice a year I use a biodegradable spray bicycle cleaner and wipe & polish my bicycles spending a day cleaning and adjusting several bicycles at the same time.   

Scotch Brite brand is a good product to scratch surfaces getting them ready to paint, but far to aggressive for cleaning a bicycle or wheels in my opinion.  




Since I store bikes in garage or basement, I rarely clean the wheels. Just wipe with dry rag when I do clean them. If you have rim brakes, just wipe off the brake tracks, no chemicals or waxes.