How to Clean Car Tires

If your tires are looking a bit grungy, read on and learn how to clean car tires the best way possible! This is a method used by several professional detailers I know, and it will leave your tires looking clean and black every time!

Step 1: Use a good cleaner!

If you want to clean your car tires and end up with a great result every time, it may seem obvious that you’ll need to use something to clean them. A solid cleaning product really makes your job easier here, so don’t skimp! I’ve tried everything from soap to simple green and specialty tire cleaners, and what I’ve found to work the best all-around is BlackFire Total Eclipse Tire & Wheel Cleaner.

At around $1 per ounce, it’s a bit spendy, but the results are worth the investment! Best of all, it is 100% water-based and free of the acids and other chemicals found in the tire cleaners you’d typically find at your local AutoZone, Checker, or other auto parts store. Even if you aren’t on the “green” bandwagon, these chemicals can actually harm your tires and wheels over time. Just don’t do it! Spray whatever cleaner you end up using on your tires liberally, wait a minute or two, and move on to step 2!

Step 2: Scrub man, scrub!

Sure, many cleaners say to just spray on and rinse, but trust me, if you’re learning How to Clean Car Tires, you’re gonna want to get out your scrub brush and go to town! The results you’ll get if you do are many times better than if you’d just rinsed the cleaner off after letting it sit for a few minutes. I suggest using a specialty tire brish, as the curves in the brush conform to the sidewalls of most tires and make the job easier, but realistically you can use just about anything. An old toothbrush, a dish scrub brush, a broom, whatever’s around!

Step 3: Rinse & Dry!

OK, you probably knew this was coming next, but hey, if I didn’t mention it someone would probably point it out eventually. Spray your tires down with clean water, making sure all of the cleaner foam, brake dust, and whatever else gets completely rinsed away!

When that’s done, grab a microfiber towel, lint-free cloth, or air nozzle, and dry your nice, clean tires off! Make sure you get all the cracks and crevices as dry as you possibly can, because any remaining water droplets will play hell with our next step.

Step 4: Tire Dressing

The final step to cleaning your car tires is dressing, which will make those tires extra-black, and possibly shiny depending on the product & application methods you use. You can use the basic ArmorAll or HotShine tire spray if that’s your thing, but personally I hate the oily slime they leave behind. My personal favorite tire dressing is the ArmorAll Outlast tire dressing, which comes in an aerosol can. You’ll most likely want to mask off your wheels if you plan on using the stuff, because it’s sort of like a spray-on rubber coating. Trust me, if you get any over-spray on your wheels, it’s a royal PITA to get it back off again. Whatever product you end up using, just follow the directions on the bottle or can and make sure to get a nice, even coating over the entire side of the tire. Avoid the tread areas, and your wheels as much as possible.

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