Clean & Restore Buffing Wheels
My buffing wheels have more miles on them than a used taxicab. While I appreciate their durability and results, they do require regular maintenance.
To get started, take the spindle out of the buffing wheel. If you are restoring more than one wheel at a time, label the spindles so that each spindle goes back in its proper wheel. Place each buffing wheel in a sink full of warm water to which about a tablespoon of dishwasher detergent has been added. Soak for thirty minutes. Longer soaking may be required if the wheel is really gummy. When the buildup has softened somewhat, use a fingernail brush to scrub the outer edges that are dirty. The wheel will come clean rather easily when it has been properly soaked. I scrub around the edge from one direction, turn it over and go at it from the other direction.
Rinse thoroughly with warm water. I place the buffing wheel in the washing machine set to the spin cycle to get it as dry as possible, then put it in the clothes dryer for a few minutes. After that, I hang it up in the shop for about three days to make sure it is completely dry before remounting on the spindle.
It is important to make sure the wheels are completely dry before you remount them. If they are still damp, the spindle will rust, the rust will transfer to the cloth, the cloth gets ragged and ugly, and you will send me a grumpy email.
The wheels will need to be recharged with compound several times before they work efficiently again. I am always impressed with how much better my buffing wheels work after cleaning and restoration. They will be ready for another ten thousand miles!
~ S. Gary Roberts, Austin, TX