Bike tires are one of the most neglected and ignored parts of your bike. It can be a real pain to clean because they tend to get dirty fast and leave behind a lot of grime. Dirt can cause uneven tires to wear, affecting your bike’s performance and handling. Don’t know how to clean bike tires in just a few minutes? When I am here, yes, you have the option to make bike tire washing simpler.

Whether you’re a pro or new to cycling, this guide will help you learn how to clean bike tires in simple steps with some cleaning and maintenance tips.

how to clean Bike tires
Photo Credit: Istockphoto

How To Clean Bikes Tires

Whether you ride your bike to work or pleasure, or just take it out for a spin now and then, before you ride, it’s a good idea to check and clean your bike’s tires. Bike tires need regular cleaning and maintenance like car and motorcycle tires. If you don’t want them to become a nuisance, clean them routinely as per the bike’s need. But before cleaning the bike tires, make sure you get them dirty enough. Washing the tires every single day isn’t a good thing. So wash them only then when they are filthy. Here is an effective way to clean your bike tires to stay as clean and smooth as possible.

Cleaning Mountain Bikes Tires

Mtb bikes are designed for mountain biking; in detail, ride over rugged terrains or muddy roads. So it gets dirty very early, or you can say after every ride. Make it a point to clean them after every ride or at least 1-2 times in a week, instead of just once per month. And, if you are already a one-minute man, then just go ahead and start from here in case this might be too hard for you, so let’s get into the details for further information.

Cleaning Road Bikes Tires

Road bikes are flat bike tire bikes designed to ride over flat pavement, so they don’t need to be cleaned earlier. Not only a road bike, any type of bike tires, be it a bicycle tire, electric bike, or any flat tire bike, even the jockey wheel (leaving only the mountain bike tire), won’t get dirty so quickly. So they don’t need cleaning before a month passes. 

Bike Tires Cleaning Process

No matter which bike you win, the cleaning process will be the same; only the cleaning time will change. You just have to clean the mtb bike earlier, like once a week, and other bikes frequently, like once a month. Let’s give a closer look at the cleaning process.

Cleaning Tools or Equipment You Will Need

Bucket, Baking Soda, Dish liquid or detergent, vinegar, olive oil/coconut oil/rosemary oil/wintergreen berry oil, hand gloves, bike stand, sponge, clean rag, nylon brush, toothbrush, white vinegar, bleach.

bike tire cleaning tools and equipments
Photo Credit: Istockphoto

Step One:
The first step will be standing your bike on a bike stand or park tool. It will make reaching each part of the bike easier. If you don’t have a bike stand, remove all the moving parts and wheels from the bike chain and place them over a clean clothesline.

Start with cleaning the front tires, and then the rear tire. Don’t try to grease both tires at once. Take a high-pressure garden hose to clean the loose grime. But while using a hose, keep in mind you have to avoid using it on places like Headset, bottom brackets, brake pad, hubs, etc. If you don’t have a hose, you can use a big nylon bristle brush to clean it off. Keep in mind the faster you will start the task, the easier it will be. Because with time, the grime will dry and become harder to remove. So do it as fast as possible while they are wet. 

Step Two:
Making free of dirt isn’t the only purpose of cleaning bike tires. You have to clean them properly to increase their lifespan and make them neat and clean, just like a new bike. To clean the bike, you can make a household cleaner of baking soda and warm water or a cleaning solution of white vinegar and warm water.  If you want to avoid making any degreaser, you can buy a car wash or bike cleaner from any bike shop as I love DIY projects, so today, I will share a homemade degreaser recipe with a full cleaning process with you.

Take a bucket full of warm water and add two cups of baking soda and a few drops of dish liquid or one tablespoon of detergent to make the cleaner for better results. I saw some users adding toothpaste; as they said, toothpaste is an effective way to clean their tires. I didn’t yet try it, but I will be using it soon and sharing how it was.

If you want, you can also avoid using baking soda and only soapy water as a degreaser to do the task. The more bubbles you have in the cleaner, the more effective it will be. 

Step Three:
Now, take some solution in a spray bottle and allow the left ones to be in the bucket. Spray the solution all over the rubber tires, especially between the tread and the inner circumference (inner sidewall). Let the solution absorb for five minutes, so the grease becomes wet and easily comes off. It’s time for the final cleaning. Take a big scrubbing brush, not the steel or harsh scrubber, the big soft brush or nylon bristle brush. Dip the brush in the solvent and scrub the rubber wheel with it.

Start from cleaning the valve, and end after all around the tires, including the spokes, chain, and hub. Here you have to be a little careful, avoid bending the valve, and cover the valve with a dust cap for better protection. It will ensure no dirt or mud inside the valves. To reach each part of the dirty tire, take help from an old toothbrush. A toothbrush will reach the places that are hard to reach and clean. Repeat the same process with the rear wheel. 

Step Four:
After scrubbing enough, if you are satisfied and ensure no dirt and debris have been removed, rinse away with warm water. If some dirt is still there, repeat the same process. After removing the grime, wipe off the wheels properly with the help of a damp sponge or rag to neat, clean the tires. Keep doing this until all the tires are thoroughly cleaned. Rinse once again with warm water.

Then use a towel or dry rag and wipe away the bike parts to dry them. Make sure the tires are dry well because if they remain wet for a long time, mold can attack them. Wipe away the sidewalls and rim as well. After the tires are dry, lube them with the chain ring. 

Step Five:
Though I am adding it, it’s not a step or part of clean tires. It’s not a degreaser and is optional. You can follow it or not; it depends on you.

Did you hear about rosemary oil or wintergreen berry oil? Or olive oil or coconut oil? Any of the mentioned oil will work to make the tire shine. Take some oil in a rag or towel, and dab the rims and rubber wheel with it. Make sure to grease each rim corner and spins with this towel.

This will ensure the rim becomes shiny and no peeling of paint for a long time. Some also groove using petroleum instead of oil. They find it kinda effective, but I didn’t try yet; if you want, you can give it a chance. 

Bike Tires Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

  • Before you start the cleaning process ventilate the area.
    It’s best to do the cleaning process outside of the house. 
  • If your bike has rim brakes instead of disc brakes, while cleaning the rims, check them and ensure there is no wear and tear. It’s the best time to check.
  • Avoid cleaning the braking surface without any brake cleaner. 
  • Before reattaching the wheels, check the tire lever, tread, fabric case, rubber, etc. know if any crack or split is available. 
  • Don’t forget to check the tube size, excess lube, and tire pressure.

Conclusion

Cleaning bike tires is no longer painful when you know how to do it. I have shared an effective method and divided them into some simple steps so you can follow them easily. My cleaning process on how to clean bike tires is the method mostly I used to clean my bike tires, especially when I want to avoid taking them to a local bike shop for cleaning. This method saves my money along with time. Let me know after trying this method how effective it was.

FAQs

How can I make my bike tires white again?

If your bike tires are black, there is no way to make them white again without painting again. But if they are just dirty, then you can clean them using a mixture of baking soda and water and then rinse with warm water. This cleaning method is enough to clean dirt from your white dirty tires and make them white again.

How do you clean white rubber bike tires?

Start by placing the bike upside down and shaking it to remove any loose dirt. Spray a solution of dish soap and water on the tire, let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with clean water.

Apply baking soda to the tire and scrub with a brush or toothbrush until bubbles appear and it turns white again (this will take about 15 minutes). Rinse off the baking soda with clean water, then dry with a towel before riding your bike again!

How do you clean bike wheels?

One of the best ways to clean bike wheels is by using a brush. A simple solution for removing road dirt and grime from your bike wheel rims is a rag soaked in dish soap, then wrung out. 

Another way to clean your bike wheel rims is by using a spray bottle with water and some mild dish soap. Just spray on the rim and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping off with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Finally, you can use an old toothbrush and mild soap solution to scrub away any stubborn spots that don’t come off with water alone.

How do you clean mountain bike tires?

To clean mountain bike tires, you need to use a brush and soap solution.
First, remove the tire from the wheel. Then fill a bucket with cold water and add dish soap (or your favorite detergent) and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Next, scrub your tires using a bicycle brush or car wash brush, rinsing them off in the bucket of soapy water after each stroke.

After scrubbing thoroughly, rinse your tires in cool water until they are no longer sudsy before mounting them back on the wheel.