The Best Way to Clean Dirty Tires – Colorbond Paint

The Best Way to Clean Dirty Tires

Posted on November 10 2022

Man scrubbing dirty tire


Tires are a big part of how your car or truck looks. Lots of folks invest significant money in wheel and tire packages, and the visual impact of those cool rims can be compromised by dirty tires. You know what I’m talking about; tires that don’t have that rich black color anymore or may have even turned a brown color that doesn’t seem to want to go away. But there is hope for restoring your tires to their original appearance. Here we’ll discuss the best ways to clean dirty tires and how to keep your tires in good condition.

Tire Cleaning and Conditioning

Cleaning dirty car tires and applying a tire dressing is the one of the best ways how to keep your tires in good condition. Cleaning will remove dirt, road grime, oil, and contaminants. While tire dressing gives tires a dark glossy look. It also rehydrates tire rubber to help prevent cracking and fading and protects against degradation caused by UV light.

  1. Start by spraying loose dirt and debris off your tires with water. A garden hose works well and is more effective with a spray nozzle that focuses the water as a jet. A pressure washer can also be used for stubborn grime.
  2. Next fill a bucket with water and car wash, or dish detergent. Use enough of the soap to create a good amount of suds. A commercial spray on tire cleaner is another option.
  3. Scrub the tire with a brush and the cleaning solution, using a circular motion. Be sure the sidewalls and treads are thoroughly cleaned.
  4. Rinse the tire with water and dry with a towel or compressed air
  5. Apply a tire dressing. Quality silicone-based dressing that provides UV protection is recommended. This type of dressing can be found in spray configuration, as well as that which can be applied with a sponge or cloth. They’re available at most auto parts stores. Be sure to coat the sidewalls thoroughly. You can also apply it to the tread, which looks great, but when driving the tires can be slippery until the dressing wears off.

Solutions Cleaning Brown Tires

If you’re asking why your tires always look dirty, you may have issues with stubborn brown staining. Especially noticeable on the sidewalls, the brown color comes from within the tire. What you are seeing is antiozonant; an organic compound that prevents damage caused by ozone. It’s mixed into the rubber and is engineered to work its way to the tire surface to prevent the rubber from drying out, cracking, and fading. This is called “blooming”.

Tire showing blooming

Removal of heavy brown build-up and stains requires a few household items and a little elbow grease.

  1. In a bucket, mix one part water with one part vinegar
  2. With a brush, scrub the tires with the vinegar solution until the brown color dissipates
  3. Rinse the tires with water and dry with a towel or compressed air
  4. Apply a silicone-based tire dressing with UV protection as described previously

Tire Paint

Tire paint is a great solution for renewing the appearance of tires that are scuffed, faded, or permanently stained. What is tire paint? It’s a durable paint specially formulated to bond with tire rubber. ColorBond offers Spit Shine Tire Black tire paint to restore the tire’s black color fast. It’s quick and easy to use. The surface needs to be clean so the paint can bond well. First clean the tires as described above. If needed, use a degreaser to be sure the surface has no contaminants. Mask off the rims so they don’t receive any overspray. Protect the vehicles paint and trim from the same. Then spray on the Spit Shine Tire Black. Wait 15 minutes for it to dry and your tires will look great.

Tire paint can make faded tires look new

Cleaning dirty tires can reap great results when trying to make your car or truck look its best!

Reviewed by: Malcolm Johnson

Reviewed by: Malcolm Johnson

Malcolm Johnson founded and operated ColorBond Paint since 1996. He has over 30 years of experience in the automotive painting industry. ColorBond Paint specializes in leather, vinyl, and plastic specific aerosol paint that is OEM approved for automotive manufacturers.


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