We always think of cleaning our wheels as a priority when it comes to detailing. For most of us, I think this is going to be part of the daily washing regime. I decided to step away from car wheels, though, and to take a closer look at how car tyres can be washed.
You see, keeping your tyre clean is as critical as your wheels, and there are a couple of reasons why.
The first is that you would need a clean surface for it to bind to if you are applying some kind of tyre dressing. I see plenty of feedback about items that do not work as suggested on forums and social media, and I would imagine that a vast majority have not provided a clean surface to stick to the product.
The second reason is that it will keep the tyres in good shape and the durability will improve. Tyre walls will begin to corrode over time, and then they will inevitably fail. The older the tyre, the more typical it is.
You minimize the chance of any pollutants eroding your tire wall by keeping your tyres clean. It also helps to avoid the browning that can occur when the tyres are “on the turn,” which is also very unsightly.
I would be the first to say that it is not the most complex of comprehensive processes to clean a car tyre, but there are a few items and methods I would like to share with you on how to clean car tyres.
Products Needed to Clean Car Tyres
One of the positive things about cleaning car tyres is that you don’t need to get yourself started with a lot of items. Nevertheless, you need to wisely choose which will give you the best result.
Bilt Hamber Surfex HD
My go-to product for cleaning tyres is Bilt Hamber Surfex HD. This can be used in many ways, but I like to use it for tyre cleaning because of its degreasing characteristics.
The product will lift from your tyre an insane amount of dirt that you may not even have known was there. For very dirty tyres, I prefer to use it neat, but you can dilute up to 10 to 1 to get even more bang for your buck.
Mothers Tyre Brush
My top pick here is The Mothers Tire Brush. Its name is pretty random. We’ll give you that, but it’s probably the best brush we’ve tested, and there’s a number of reasons why.
I love the way the head’s form has a slight bow to it. As you work around the vehicle, this helps you to easily follow the contours of the wheel. I have pretty low-profile tyres, and if you don’t have much clearance between the tyre and the bodywork, it’s particularly good for them.
It comes with firmer bristles that last longer. It also has an ergonomic handle that after use does not wear. Overall, it’s the best I’ve checked in a while.
Please note that this is not acceptable for use on the face of your wheel. As it can scrape and potentially remove paint or lacquer on the wheel, you would need something much softer.
How to Clean a Car Tyre – The Ultimate Step by Step Guide
Take a minute to take a walk around the car and check your tyres before you begin. Get a dry wipe to see how much dirt comes off. You could use an old rag or microfibre cloth or towel. This will give you a clear idea of the amount of graft you’ve got in front of you.
What you might note about my tyres is that they’re pretty new. They have only done around 150 miles of driving, but after fitting, I have intentionally not washed them, and they include the lubricant residue, which was so kindly left behind by the car body shops.
This is quite difficult to remove and so it makes for a good test for the cleaning process and to better judge the cleaning products.
Step 1 – Pre-Rinse with Pressure Washer
I don’t always pre-rinse, but I think it’s important this time around. Take your pressure washer and work your way around the tyre. You can’t do too much harm here, but without hitting your paintwork, don’t be afraid to get as close to removing as much dirt as possible.
Before you start, ensure that you work around all four tyres. As we will be working on the tyres during this process, you don’t need to worry about drying out.
Step 2 – Apply Degreaser
Now we want our focus to be turned to our degreaser. I use Surfex HD by Bilt Hamber, as mentioned above, and I love it. It can be used in so many different fields of detail that it becomes highly flexible.
You need to figure out your tyre dilution ratio. I use the product neat, but I should have diluted it to around 5:1, to be frank, and I think I would have similar results. The more it is diluted, the more elbow grease you need to add.
Give a nice covering to the tyre and then leave for about a minute to sit. You will need to work faster than this in hot weather as you do not want it to dry.
Almost immediately, you can see it start lifting some of the product, which is a super good sign that your tyre is pretty riffy.
Step 4 – Use A Degreaser With Your Tyre Brush
Now you need to get your tyre brush out and start working on the tyres with the degreaser. If you decide to go with the Mothers Tire Brush I’m using, then the shape of it will allow you to travel easily along the tyre wall. If not, just make sure that as these brushes are made to be fairly rigid, you don’t catch any of the paintworks.
Make sure you’re giving it a fair go over here. The harder you work at it, the more you get out of it. You will find that it will begin to produce light foaming with Bilt Hamber Surfex, and this will likely have a reasonable amount of dirt in it. It’s sweet, this.
Step 5 – Power Wash and Repeat if Needed
Now it’s time to wash the wheels with a pressure washer and strip away the dirt from them. Take the time here once again to give them a very good rinse.
It’s now time to inspect it after you’ve done this. If you feel you need it, feel free to repeat this procedure in order to get the best result.
This should mean whether you need to go again if you take a clean microfibre towel over it and then check to see if there is any transfer.
Step 6- Dry and Protect
You should then take a towel to it until the tyre is clean and make sure it’s totally dry. At this point, there should be no transfer of dirt to the cloth, and it should be squeaky clean.
A deep matt finish should be the result of most tyres. It should be very straightforward to assume that no tyre dressing has been applied yet, and it should look reasonably uninformed.
You are good to go once this phase is complete, and your tyre is possibly as clean as you get it. I hope you enjoyed my guide to how car tyres can be washed!
What household items can you use to clean car tyres?
Ideally, as I have highlighted in my how to clean car tyre guide, you can use a dedicated degreaser, such as Bilt Hamber Surfex. However, to use a household product, you can use something like a baking soda and lemon juice mixture. Holding this away from your wheels and paint is critical as it will be a relatively coarse product.
What is the best tyre cleaner?
For me, the best tyre cleaner is Bilt Hamber Surfex. This is more of a degreaser, but as a result, it removes all kinds of pollutants from the tyre wall and obtains a brilliant finish.
Do I need a dedicated tyre brush?
My advice would be yes. They need to be a solid bristled brush able to work through the walls of the firm rubber tyre. A finer brush would not be able to smash through the tyre spills and scrape the dirt.
Do you need a pressure washer to clean car tyres?
It is not necessary, but it will help to remove a lot of dirt within the wall of the tyre. However, to flush away the product, you can just use a good degreaser and then a garden hose. Before you finish, you need to ensure that any degreaser is thoroughly rinsed because it will corrode a tyre wall if left to dry.