How to Remove Spray Paint from Wheel

How to Remove Spray Paint from Wheel

A simple paint spray can help transform your aluminum or other wheel types into something trendier that draws attention. But, you can get bored with the wheel color and hence want to remove the paint and replace it with something different.

Additionally, you can also get wheel overspray, meaning you get the paint into areas you do not want. Regardless of why you might want to remove spray paint from your wheels, this article is all about showing you how to do it.

Things You Will Need

  • Paint stripper
  • Clean rags/towels
  • Sandpaper
  • Toothbrush
  • Water

Step-by-step Guide

1. Remove and Clean the Wheels

It can be a daunting task to remove spray paint from the wheels when they are still on the vehicle.

Hence the first step should always be to remove them. Once the wheels are off, make sure you clean them thoroughly to remove all the dirt and debris so they do not interfere with the paint removal process.

2. Apply the Paint Stripper

When you are sure the wheels are clean and dry, you can now apply the paint stripper. The best way to do this is to spray it onto the wheel surface using a spray bottle. Also, you can pour a generous amount of the paint stripper into a clean rag and rub it on the wheel.

Regardless of how you choose to do it, make sure you apply a generous amount. What’s more, you need to be careful not to get the stripper on unwanted areas like the tires as it can cause damages.

3. Leave the Stripper on the Paint

Now you should leave the product for some time to strip off the paint. The actual time you give the paint stripper depends on the specific type or brand you are using, but most manufacturers provide clear instructions.

However, with most of these products, you should leave the product in the paint for the shortest time possible to not damage the core rim material. Around 15 minutes is often enough time.

4. Wipe Off the Paint

After 15 minutes or whatever time the paint stripper manufacturer recommends, you should now wipe off the paint.

Also, you can tell when it is time to wipe the paint as it typically starts bubbling. Some old but clean rags or towels are ideal as they can wipe off the loose paint without scratching your wheels.

5. Use a Toothbrush to Clean Hard-to-Reach Spots

While the rags and towels will help remove the paint on the wheel surface, they cannot do a good job in some areas, such as lug holes. For these hard-to-reach spots, you need a toothbrush.

Here you have to use some elbow grease to ensure the toothbrush scrapes off the paint from all the cracks and crannies. Additionally, you can also combine this with a thread cleaner for faster and more effective results.

6. Rinse Off the Wheel

When you are satisfied you have removed all the paint, you can rinse the wheels to clean them off. Failing to rinse the loose paint can leave an unsightly look, and the paint can also be sanded back into the wheel in the next step.

7. Sand the Wheel Surface

The last step is to clean up the wheels with sandpaper to give them a more pleasant look. Sanding is vital because even after stripping the paint off and cleaning the wheels, they might still have a rough look.

A drill that includes a buffing attachment can also be convenient here as it allows you to give the wheels a clean, polished look.


Whether you have a case of overspray or your wheel paint is old and worn out, removing it should not be a hectic task.

All you need is a good paint stripper and a few things like old rags and a toothbrush. With a bit of scrubbing and patience, you should have the wheels paint-free and clean in almost no time.