Learn How to Clean Your Tires in 4 Easy Steps

  • Mar 22,2021
Father and son cleaning car tire together. Father and son cleaning car tire together.

You’ve scrubbed your car inside and out and gotten rid of those lingering crumbs and annoying smudges on the windshield — but how are your tires doing? There’s a good chance all that wear and tear on your tires has left them in need of some extra love! Luckily, cleaning your vehicle's tires is easy and can be done in four easy steps.

How to Clean Car Tires in Just Four Steps

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle coming in contact with the road. That means they are usually the first thing to get dirty! And while a little dirt won't hurt, what could be hiding underneath the dirt and grime just might — think nails, cracks in the sidewall, and low or uneven treadwear. Follow these four easy steps to get your tires squeaky clean to help you determine if it's time for new tires from Firestone Complete Auto Care.

1. Round up all your tools and materials.

To start your tire-washing process, you'll need a bucket, microfiber towels, a hose and spray nozzle, and a soft-bristled brush. For a deeper clean, use a light-duty pressure washer, a waxing mitt, and a wheel brush.

Use non-abrasive cleaning agents like dish soap, warm water, and wheel wax. If you’re curious about how to clean car tires naturally, try using a 70/30 mix of white vinegar and baking soda.

2. Give everything a good rinse.

After you’ve collected your tools and materials, rinse off all the loose dirt using your spray nozzle or the lowest setting pressure washer (if you have one). Try to work the water from multiple angles — above, below, and both sides — to knock out the most grime from the interior of the rim.

3. Wash and scrub the tire thoroughly.

After you've rinsed the tire, scrub the surface thoroughly. Begin with the tires, and move on to the wheels to avoid having tire grime drip onto a clean wheel face. With your bristled brush, scrub the tire with warm water and dish soap (about a tablespoon of soap per gallon of water). For stuck-on grime, let the soap mixture sit on the tire for a few minutes to help soften things up. Then, repeat scrubbing and rinsing as much as you need.

Once your tires are glistening, you can start washing the surface of the wheel. Wet the wheel face, and use your brush with warm, soapy water to scrub everything down. If you want to apply a natural cleaning solution on your chrome wheels, pour equal parts of white vinegar and water into a spray bottle and spritz onto the wheels to melt away stains.

Use a smaller brush to tackle tougher spots on the wheels, then fully dry both the tire and the wheel with a clean, microfiber towel.

4. Apply wax for added shine.

While a wax application isn’t totally necessary, it’s the perfect final step to get your tires looking their best. For maximum results, apply a cream or paste wax with a waxing mitt, and make sure to follow the instructions provided on the container. After applying the wax, give it a final polish with a microfiber cloth, and marvel at that amazing shine!

Why Should You Clean Your Tires Regularly?

Cleaning your tires is important if you want your car to look its best! Since tires are the only part of your vehicle that touches the road while you’re driving, they can require a bit more TLC than the rest of your ride when it comes to keeping them clean.

Aside from dirty wheels not being aesthetically-pleasing, cleaning your tires is also a great way to limit corrosion or similar damage. Letting dirt and grime hang out too long can cause your wheel finishes to peel and can even make the rims more porous (which could create tire pressure leaks).

Cleaning your tires on a routine, bi-monthly basis can help remove the salt, dust, and oil buildup that are a natural part of driving and keep your vehicle in top shape for years to come.

Additional Tips for How to Clean Car Tires

  • Commercial car washes are legally required to recycle gray water and properly dispose of cleaning agents, so try and do your washing there whenever you can.
  • Check that your tires have cooled off after driving before using any cleaning products.
  • Designate specific towels for cleaning and drying your tires, and do not use these for washing other parts of your vehicle.

Trust the Experts at Firestone Complete Auto Care

Paying attention to your tires’ health is essential in helping extend their lifecycle and keeping things running smoothly out on the road. If you’re cleaning your tires and notice that any one of your tires is balding, wearing unevenly, cracking on the sidewall, or has an obstruction, it's time to make an appointment at Firestone Complete Auto Care. We provide expert tire repair, alignment services and can even help you pick out a whole new set of tires for your vehicle! Whatever your vehicle needs may be, our team is here to get your car back on course.

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