The best tyre cleaners for spotless wheels

Tyres deserve to look their best, even if they're about to be smoked on a race track.

A cleaned wheel and tyre

by Ryan Gilmore |

We spend an awful lot of time at CAR turning tyres into smoke and sideways motion, but that doesn't mean we don't care how they look. Tyres may start off nice and black but UV rays, mud and other contaminants can turn them brown and make them look filthy.

Related: The best wheel brushes for effective alloy cleaning

Tyre cleaners are a relatively new product on the car cleaning scene and the argument can be made that they're a little redundant. All-purpose cleaners (APCs) have done the job perfectly well for years and dedicated tyre cleaners can be written off as marketing hype. No matter your opinion we've found the best chemicals to clean your tyres. Just remember that once cleaned, a good tyre dressing will need to be applied to keep them protected from the elements.

The best tyre cleaners

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel Cleaner and Tyre Prep

The best wheel and tyre cleaner
Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Hyper Foam Wheel Cleaner and Tyre Prep
Amazon

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A logical time-saving step is to combine tyre cleaning into your regular wheel cleaning routine. This product from Turtle Wax combines a powerful wheel cleaner with a tyre cleaner in one neat, foamy spray. The wheel cleaner will target brake dust, grime and rust while the wheel cleaner will lift grease and grime which in turn prepares the tyres for a dressing. If that wasn't enough, the wheel cleaner contains a sealant to make future wheel cleaning easier.

Pros Cons
• Excellent cleaner • Requires a fair bit of agitation
• Genuinely time saving
Specifications
Capacity 680ml
Used to remove Road film, mud, iron fallout, rust
Extras Wheel cleaner, prepares the tyre for dressing

Bilt Hamber Surfex HD

The best tyre cleaner for more than just tyres
Bilt Hamber Surfex-HD
Amazon

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The best APC on sale today, Bilt Hamber Surfex-HD is affordable, biodegradable and a formidable cleaner. Dilute it for tyre cleaning and it'll still be more than powerful enough to dislodge mud and grime. Best of all, a good APC like this one will be perfect for degreasing engines, cleaning bodywork and even useful for interior upkeep.

Pros Cons
• The ultimate cleaner • You’ll need something to dilute it in
• Incredibly versatile
Specifications
Capacity One litre
Used to remove Road film, mud
Extras Dilutable, biodegradable, works as a degreaser

Auto Finesse Tread Tyre Cleaner

The best dedicated tyre cleaner
Auto Finesse Tread Tyre Cleaner
Amazon

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If you really, really want a product that's designed for tyre cleaning, Auto Finesse offers this. Designed specifically for rubber, this cleaner uses degreasers to ensure that all road film and grime can be lifted from a tyre (like any good APC). Auto Finesse does claim that Tread works as a surface prep for tyre dressing which is probably the only genuine reason for buying a dedicated tyre cleaner.

Pros Cons
• Prepares the tyre for dressing • Is it needed?
• Decent cleaner
Specifications
Capacity One litre
Used to remove Road film, mud
Extras Prepares the tyre for dressing

Meguiar's Ultimate Tyre Shine Foam

The best tyre cleaner and dressing
Meguiar's Ultimate Tyre Shine Foam
Amazon

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Another time-saving option is to combine tyre cleaning with the dressing application. Meguiar's Ultimate Tyre Shine Foam does just this, cutting through grime and leaving behind a super-slick wet look gloss. It's really easy to apply (it's like shaving foam) and there's no need to wipe it, just let it melt away.

Pros Cons
• Easy to use • Ultra-glossy finish isn’t for everyone
• Timesaving• Not the most powerful cleaner
Specifications
Capacity 538ml
Used to remove Road film, mud
Extras Dresses the tyre

Mothers Contoured Tyre Brush

The best tyre brush
Mothers Tyre Brush
Amazon

View offer

An appropriate tyre brush is a must. Offering stiffer bristles compared to any comparative wheel brush, these tools are designed for shifting any embedded dirt within the rubber to return a browning tyre back to a black finish. This tyre brush from Mothers gets our top pick because it's affordable, stiff-bristled, and ergonomically designed and those rubber edges will stop you from accidentally damaging your alloy if you drop the brush.

Pros Cons
• Ergonomic • Be careful of scratching alloys
• Great tyre scrubber

What about my rims?

Unless you've settled on an all-in-one cleaner, you'll need to buy separate chemicals for cleaning can wheels. Thankfully we've put together guides on alloy cleaners, fallout removers and wheel sealants so you can get your hands on the best products.

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