How to Clean Tires
How to Clean Tires


Tires are usually the dirtiest parts of your car, but regular cleaning is an important part of preventative maintenance. It removes any buildup of brake dust, road grime and other elements that could potentially damage the tires.

Your choice of cleaning product is equally important. A problem commonly known as "brown tires" happens if you've used caustic degreasers or harsh chemicals for wheel cleaning and/or neglected to follow cleaning with a tire protectant.

Car tires have rubber conditioners, antiozonants, and UV absorbers in them to retain their flexibility, and protect them from the elements and everyday wear-and-tear. Using the wrong cleaner can cause these to leach out, leaving you with discoloration and cracking. This is known as dry rot.

Detailers tend to turn to commercial wheel cleaners when they're looking to clean car tires. These tend to use a mixture of acids, ammonia-based chemicals, solvents, and water. The acids may dissolve brake dust and road grime, but they can also dissolve clear coats, powder finishes, and painted finishes. On top of that, these chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation and can be extremely harmful if inhaled or ingested.

On the other end of the pH spectrum, alkaline wheel cleaners use phosphates and other harmful chemicals that can be equally dangerous to both you and your tires.

Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner cleans tire rims and wheels by removing brake dust, road grime, tar residue and more without damage. It's also biodegradable*, free of dangerous or caustic fumes, and safe for overspray on chrome, aluminum and more.

Tire manufacturers and installers recommend cleaning your tires at least every other week.

Directions for Cleaning Tires:

Spot test a small, hidden area before use.

  1. Clean your tires before the rest of the car. Washing them first will prevent you from splattering any gunk on a clean car.
  2. Apply cleaner to one tire. Spray Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner on cool, dry wheels one at a time. Let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Scrub the tires. For heavy grime or brake dust, agitate the cleaner with a wheel brush (or a stiff-bristled brush) or sponge. Pay special attention to the lug nuts, where stubborn brake dust tends to accumulate.
  4. Rinse. Rinse clean with water.
  5. Repeat for all 4 tires.
  6. Wash the rest of your car. For specific directions on how to do this, click here.
  7. Dry your car, including the tires.
  8. Apply protectant. Retain the like-new look you've achieved by applying the high-quality tire protectant of your choice. Be sure to follow the directions listed on the product.

TIP: Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner also works as a whitewall tire cleaner. Directions for cleaning white wall tires (without baking soda) can be found here.


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