How to clean tires with household products

How to clean tires with household products

Cleaning car tires with household products can be the easiest and most cost-efficient of tasks. There’s no need to go to expensive car beauty salons to get rid of those pesky dirt and oil stains.

Instead, these can be removed with solutions that can be found in your garage or even kitchen. Several different combinations will do the job. Some work best for the rubber part while others do a far better job on the rims or simply to get a shiny tire.

While most of them can be pretty safe, it’s still recommended that you wear gloves when you start cleaning your dirty car tire. No clean tires are worth irritating your skin.

In this article, we’ll show you several different ways of how to clean tires with household products. With clean tires, not only will your vehicle look better, but you’ll be able to check out the condition of your tires and be one step closer to noticing tire aging.

Here’s a quick overview of the household products you can use to clean your tires:

  • Dish soap.
  • Soda.
  • Baking soda.
  • Baby oil and dish soap.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner.
  • Vinegar.
  • WD40.

How to clean tires with household products

How Do You Make Homemade Tire Cleaner?

These are the most generic tire cleaners that you can put together using products you have at home. Make sure that after using any of them, you always rinse with water and remove the remaining residue with a clean towel.

Dish Soap and Warm Water

What you will need:

  • Empty bottle.
  • Any generic dish soap.
  • Sponge, soft brush or towel.

The most obvious one from the list is the tried and true formula of warm water and dish soap. These chemicals are usually far more potent than you might think, and you’ll need a relatively small amount of it to get the job done. Two spoonfuls of dish soap in a large bottle should be more than enough.

Simply get a sponge and wipe the solution onto any part of the tire: rubber, metal rims, center disc or the outer lip. The cleaner works on any part and won’t lead to more stains or potential rust. Scrub it hard until you have a clean tire.

It probably won’t work on industrial stains, like glue-based ones, but it will do away with any dirt. If your scrubbing is hard enough, you may be able to get rid of spray or water-based paints as well.


What you will need:

  • Bottle of Coca-Cola, or any other soda.
  • Spray bottle.
  • Bottle of water.
  • Sponge or brush.
  • Cleaning cloth.

Carbonated drinks are tasty, but they also have a pretty high level of acidity. This is one of the reasons why they can be used as homemade tire cleaning solutions.

All you need is a bottle of soda and a spray bottle. Put the drink into the spray bottle and apply it to the tires. Wait for a couple of minutes, repeat the process one more time and then take a brush and clean the stains.

When you’re done, take the bottle of water and wash away the soda and dirt that remains. The best part of this solution is that you don’t need anything extra outside the sugary drink of your choice.

Always use regular soda and not diet options. Be advised; this means that if you let the soda dry on the tires for too long, it might be a bit harder to remove it and even result in dirt sticking to the surface. It’s not a huge deal, but it will make the cleaning job more challenging.

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What Can I Use To Shine My Tires?

Shining tires is not an easy task, but with these simple products, you’ll have some pretty strong results in no time. Here are some other great options on how to clean tires with household products.

Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

What you will need:

  • An empty spray bottle.
  • Pack of baking soda.
  • Lemon juice.
  • A couple of cleaning cloths.
  • Brush.

This mixture is pretty easy to make because you only need to combine a bottle of water with three or four tablespoons of lemon juice if you want to shine tires. You should spray it onto the tires and wait until the slightly acidic effect of the lemon juice starts to work—around two minutes.

Take half a cup (or even a full cup if the surface is large) of baking soda and put it onto the cleaning cloth. By applying pressure onto the spot where you’re cleaning the tires, scrub hard until the stains are removed. Depending on the stain type, you might have to repeat the process to clean it fully.

After all of this is done, pour some water onto the tires, and with the second cleaning cloth, remove all the residue that remains.

Be advised that baking soda is somewhat corrosive, so you might want to wear protective gloves if your skin is sensitive.

Baby Oil and Dish Soap

What you will need:

  • A bottle of baby oil (any brand).
  • Generic dish soap.
  • An empty bottle.
  • Sponge.
  • Cleaning cloth.

Baby oil might not be the first thing that comes to mind when searching for a household product that works for tire shining, but it sure does the job. All you need to do is mix it with some dish soap and water, and you get a very competent tires shine solution that will keep your tires sparkling.

In a bottle, add a cup of baby oil and half a cup of dish soap. Fill the rest of the bottle with water and shake it until the solution is fully mixed. You can then splash or spray this onto the tires and then, using a sponge or towel, remove most dirt or oil stains.

This solution also works well on the rubber part of the tires, but it does the most admirable job on the metallic parts. It also doesn’t require any protective equipment as the baby oil doesn’t affect the skin.

How Can I Make My Tires Black Again?

Brake dust, oil spills, paint or burnt rubber make your tires look old and tired (pun intended). Brush aside any doubts and try these simple solutions to make them look good as new.

The Mighty Toilet Bowl Cleaner

What you will need:

  • Ceramic or plastic bowl.
  • Bottle of toilet bowl cleaner.
  • Spray bottle.
  • One bottle of water.
  • Sponge.

This one is arguably the strongest household product on the list, and it’s also the trickiest. There are certain precautions that you should take with this one, as most toilet bowl cleaners are very aggressive and corrosive solutions. You might hurt yourself, or even the tire’s material, if not used properly.

Always use protective gloves and make sure that you don’t inhale the vapors that might be emitted by the solution when spraying it onto the tires.

The first step is the creation of an acid neutralizer. This should be a bottle of clean water with a tablespoon of baking soda in it. Mix it up and put it into a plastic spray bottle.

After you’re done with this, you can start applying the toilet bowl cleaner onto the tires.

The easiest way is to put a small amount into a ceramic or plastic bowl (but not metallic as it might corrode it). Next, use a small brush to spread it everywhere you think that it’s needed.

Whatever you do, don’t let the solution remain on the rim for more than 15 to 20 seconds, as this could do more harm than good. As soon as the quarter-minute passes, take the previously created neutralizer, spray it onto the rim, and remove the liquid with a clean towel. The tires should be clean and look new.

Repeat this until you are done with the entire surface and always keep in mind the safety precautions. When you’re finished, don’t forget to get rid of the remaining solution by flushing it down the toilet, as it’s highly toxic.

The Vinegar Trick

What you will need:

  • Plastic bottle.
  • Bottle of vinegar.
  • Sponge.
  • Cleaning cloth.

Vinegar can be used to clean several different surfaces. It’s inexpensive, and it can be found in any kitchen. The best part is that it’s also a great stain remover and doesn’t have any negative ecological impact. The smell can be a bit powerful, but it will evaporate in a matter of minutes after being used on the tires.

But using it on its own is not enough. The best solution is to add water in a 50/50 ratio (in a clean bottle). After this, a sponge or spray can be used to apply it onto the tires. After the first application, a couple of seconds should pass until you start the dirty work and scrub the surface.

Vinegar works great for both the rubber and the metal parts of tires. The acidity level isn’t high enough for it to affect the materials, but even so, after the scrubbing process, it’s recommended that you wash the tires down with clean water.

The process should only take a couple of minutes, and it can even remove small rust stains if they are not deep enough. Soon, your tire will look good as new.

Can You Use WD40 To Clean Tires?

What you will need:

  • WD40 solution.
  • IPA wipe.

WD40 is a well-known solution, and many people try to use it for tire cleaning. While it has a proven effect on tire maintenance, it can be used as a cleaning solution as well.

After you put it on the tire, you’ll need to scrub it hard until all the residue disappears. The good news is that you won’t have to scrub hard, as the WD40 will act fast. The bad news is that the residue will be challenging to get off.

Get a generic, alcohol-based wipe and use it as soon as you’re done with the scrubbing. Act fast, as the more you allow it to dry, the harder it will be to get rid of it.

As previously mentioned, this will not only clean the tire (both rubber and metallic parts) but it will also improve the tire performance and keep the tire in a better condition for a longer time.

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With these examples, you should now know how to clean tires with household products using easily accessible and cheap solutions. In most cases, these are not just more environmentally-friendly solutions, but they might offer you the same results as professional-grade products. Plus, the time they require to prepare is minimal.

When it comes down to cleaning your car, tires are often the hardest and most annoying parts. So next time when your local car wash offers you expensive cleaning services, maybe it’s a better choice to go home and check your cupboards first.