The Many Uses Of
Tire & Rubber Cleaner


Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner is a favorite of our Founder and Chief Detailer, Adam, along with many team members, detailers, and hobbyists, for its multiple uses in the detailing process. As the name clearly states, it is an excellent cleaner for tires and rubber in general, but throughout this article, we’ll show you many other areas where it excels, that you might not be aware of. Let’s take a quick ride with Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner and show you how to make the best out of this very versatile chemical!

Since we always start the car washing process with wheels and tires, we’ll also follow this guideline in this write-up. First we’ll cover the exterior uses for Tire & Rubber Cleaner. We’ll explain how to properly clean your vehicle’s tires, how Tire & Rubber Cleaner is an excellent option for cleaning plastic fender liners and removing wax stains on plastic trim, how it is a great choice as a degreaser for engine bays, how it removes oxidation from rubber trim, how it is used on vinyl, such as tonneau covers and vinyl roof panels, and finally, how it is a very effective chemical at cleaning all-weather floor mats.


Tires - Removing Blooming, Discoloration, and Dressings

You might be wondering, why do you need to clean tires? They become a little bit dirty almost every time you drive your vehicle, so some may think “Why even bother?” Those are valid questions, and the main answers are general maintenance of the tires and pride of caring for your vehicle. If you have spent hours cleaning and perfecting the paint, glass, and chrome of your vehicle, but haven’t cleaned the wheels, tires, and fender liners, those three areas will stand out and be even more noticeable, as your eyes will be drawn directly to the dirty parts of the car. With just a few minutes of effort each time you wash your vehicle, you can keep the tires looking factory fresh while also preventing them from drying out or looking brown and discolored.

This brown discoloration is called tire blooming, where an organic antiozonant essentially pushes its way through the rubber compound from inside of the rubber to the outer surface of the tire. Once it has made it to the outer surface of the tire and interacts with oxygen, it begins to turn brown. Some tires bloom more than others, but even if yours bloom very little, Tire & Rubber Cleaner is still a great way to clean the tires in general. Our Tire & Rubber Cleaner has surfactants, or detergents, that target this brown discoloration to remove it, rather than try to temporarily hide it with a super glossy tire shine product where the discoloration may come back even worse. Simply spraying Tire & Rubber Cleaner heavily on the surface, allowing it to soak for 20-30 seconds, and then scrubbing it with our Rubberized Tire Brush will agitate the cleaner and allow it to foam up an orange-brown color on the tire sidewall. After you have thoroughly scrubbed the entire sidewall (paying close attention not to brush up against the rim edge of the wheel), you will then need to very thoroughly rinse all of the chemical from the tire and wheel.

If the tire was especially discolored to begin with, spray it down a second time, allow it to dwell for a few moments, and then scrub the sidewall a second time. Once the foam of the Tire & Rubber Cleaner begins to foam up white instead of orange-brown in color, this is a good indication that the majority of the dirt, grime, blooming, and previous tire dressings are now removed from the rubber compound. Depending on the brand of tire and how long it has been between cleaning, you may find that you only need to scrub the tire once to get it clean or even 3 times if the tires have been neglected. Once clean and dry, you will notice that the tire has a clean, dark, even appearance - Tire & Rubber Cleaner does not leave any finish or protection on the surface. Most tires will look black and new, and some brands may have a grayish hue to them when completely bare.

Now it’s time to make them look great and protect them with your preferred tire dressing product. We have several options depending on how you like the tires to look, from a low-gloss dark look with Graphene Tire Dressing to a very high-gloss wet look with Aerosol Tire Shine, and everywhere in between. We discuss our various tire shine options in a separate write-up. Here is a quick reference video where Adam demonstrates the tire cleaning process: How To Effectively Clean Your Wheels And Tires

Plastic - Fender Liners And Wax / Compound /
Polish / Stain Removal On Trim

While you are cleaning wheels and tires, now is the perfect time to discuss cleaning fender liners, since ideally you want to clean both of these components at the same time for efficiency. Generally you will want to clean fender liners the same time that you are scrubbing the tire, so that you only have to rinse each wheel and tire once. If you wait to clean the fender liner after you scrub and rinse the tire, then you will have to re-rinse the wheel and tire as all of the dirt, mud, and grime from the fenderwell drips down onto the wheel.

For carpet or felt-lined wheel wells, we recommend that you avoid spraying any chemical if you can. Instead, use a strong stream from the pressure washer (25° tip) or garden hose to blast as much dirt, mud, and debris out of the carpet liner as possible, spraying from the 12 o’clock position downward both clockwise and counterclockwise to push the dirt down rather than push it back up into the carpet. If you spray a chemical such as Tire & Rubber Cleaner into these carpet liners, it will create very large amounts of suds that will add considerable amounts of time to rinse out from each wheel, so that is why we recommend water pressure only in these instances. For plastic fender liners, Tire & Rubber Cleaner is an effective way to deep clean them to remove bug splatter, dirt, mud, and other road grime. Spray the liner generously with Tire & Rubber Cleaner, allow it to soak for 20-30 seconds, and scrub the liner thoroughly with the Fender Brush. Rinse the fender liner and wheel/tire at the same time, so that you do not have to rinse twice.

Tire & Rubber Cleaner works on other exterior textured plastic trim areas as well, such as wiper cowls, step rails, bumper inserts, grilles, bed rails, and so on. Spray it directly into an Edgeless Utility Towel and then wipe the textured area thoroughly. You can then either rinse the plastic with your hose or pressure washer, or wipe it clean with a second Edgeless Utility Towel. You will notice that Tire & Rubber Cleaner will leave plastics with a slightly darker appearance, unless the color pigment is heavily faded from the plastic. In those cases, you would need to restore the plastic after cleaning it, using our Black Trim Restorer. Plastic trim restoration is discussed in a separate write-up.

To wrap up this section, Tire & Rubber Cleaner is exceptionally great at removing old wax stain residue from textured plastic trim. It can remove very stubborn white wax discoloration on plastics, even if the plastic has been stained for a few years! It just takes a little time, patience, and scrubbing. For heavy stains, we recommend spraying Tire & Rubber Cleaner into one of our Deep Clean Erasers, and then carefully scrubbing the affected plastic area. You will see almost immediately just how much dirt and grime is pulled from the plastic and into the Deep Clean Eraser. Use an Edgeless Utility Towel to dry the area, and then inspect to see if the stain has been fully removed, or if some still remains. You may have to re-clean the area with this process two or three times over the next few weeks to fully remove wax residue staining.

Tire & Rubber Cleaner is also our preferred method for removing accidental Compound or Polish stains from plastic and rubber trim during the paint correction/machine polishing process. No matter how well you tape off trim areas when machine polishing, eventually you will inadvertently polish past your tape lines, hit a crack in between pieces of tape, or lift a tape edge with the polishing pad, which will then stain and discolor the plastic or rubber trim. Our blue Compound will stain areas more easily than the white Polish, due to its stronger correcting abilities, but there is no need to panic if this does occur. Usually this can be fixed by spraying a few mists of Tire & Rubber Cleaner into an Edgeless Utility Towel, scrubbing the affected area, and then using a dry side of the towel to wipe away the cleaner. If the towel is not enough to fully remove the stain, then move up to the Deep Clean Eraser, just like you would do with the wax stains above. Finally, you can re-wipe the area with Adam’s Surface Prep to ensure that it is fully clean and free of all traces of chemicals.

Engine Bays - The Perfect Degreaser

The next two areas we move onto in the wash process after cleaning wheels and tires are exhaust tips and the engine bay. We’ll cover exhaust tip cleaning and polishing in another blog with separate chemicals, but for our Tire & Rubber Cleaner topic here, it is the preferred engine bay degreaser for many of our staff and detail team! When cleaning an engine bay, there are a few guidelines and precautions to follow. For most modern-day vehicles, anything with an OBD-II computer (1996 and newer), they will be relatively safe to clean an engine bay with a pressure washer, Tire & Rubber Cleaner, and a few of our assorted wheel brushes; however, you should only ever clean engine bays when they are cool to the touch. Just like wheels, never spray water or chemicals onto hot engine components. You also need to cover up any open-element air filters or intake tubes with a plastic bag, and make note of any “No Pressure Washer” symbols near batteries or fuse panels. These will usually have a picture of a pressure washer wand with a line-through circle around it. Next, remove any leaves, pine needles, etc from the wiper cowl area - this debris can clog drain holes and eventually lead to rust in the firewall.

Start off by rinsing the engine bay from the underside of the hood and down. It is actually better to rinse with a pressure washer with a 40° tip than a garden hose, as the pressure washer will mist the water more evenly and use less. Try not to get surrounding body panels too wet, and do not over-saturate the inner hood liner either. Next, spray Tire & Rubber Cleaner around the hood liner on the underside of the hood (not on the liner itself, for similar reasons as carpeted wheel wells mentioned above), and then spray down engine bay components - plastics, paint, hoses, and rubber. Allow the cleaner to soak for 20-30 seconds, then use any preferred combination of our Fender Brush, Rubberized Wheel Brush, and Rubberized Trim & Lug Nut Brush to gently scrub all areas of the engine bay - light agitation is usually enough to remove most dirt, grit, grease, and oil in a safe manner. Then rinse from the hood downward again using the pressure washer. The Adam’s Air Cannon will make drying everything up a breeze, and you can then dress the plastics and rubber for a nice finish - we recommend our In & Out Spray or Interior Detailer with Microban. Taking 15 minutes to clean your engine bay every few washes, or at least every oil change will keep things clean and easy to maintain! You can find a quick video on engine bay cleaning here: Why and How Should You Clean Your Engine?

Rubber - Removing Oxidation

Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner can be used on other exterior rubber areas of the vehicle as well, not just tires. The rubber trim around windows, the seals in between door panels, and rubber sections on roof rails are all areas that can dry out and begin to fade to a more gray or brown color as they begin to oxidize. If you clean these areas often, they will be much easier to maintain and keep them looking new for years to come. For tight window and door trim, fold an Edgeless Utility Towel a few times into a tight fold that you can use an edge to scrub. Mist several sprays of Tire & Rubber Cleaner directly into that edge of the towel and begin to scrub the affected rubber seal. You will instantly begin to see large amounts of black oxidation pull out of the rubber and stain the towel.

Continue cleaning the area using new clean sections of the towel, until you no longer see black residue transferring into the towel. This is a good indication that the rubber is now clean. The rubber seals should look considerably more dark than when you started, but you should now add protection to them to lock in that look for several weeks to a month. We recommend our Vinyl, Rubber & Trim dressing (VRT), Graphene VRT, or the All Purpose Exterior Dressing for enhanced appearance and protection of the surfaces. For larger areas of rubber that are heavily oxidized, you can scrub them with a Deep Clean Eraser with Tire & Rubber Cleaner sprayed onto the surface first, or into the eraser itself; however, the eraser will deteriorate as you are scrubbing.

Vinyl - Tonneau Covers and Roof Panels

For faded or aged tonneau covers on trucks, or vinyl roof material on a car, sometimes our blue Car Shampoo or Mega Foam soap may not be enough for a deep-clean down into the pores and nooks and crannies of the vinyl material. This is when you can use Tire & Rubber Cleaner with our soft Cockpit Brush to carefully scrub the vinyl. Since Tire & Rubber Cleaner is a strong citrus-based degreaser, use it in a small test area first to see if there are any adverse reactions to old vinyl. Make sure to also do this cleaning in the shade, and do not let the cleaner dry onto the surface. After gently scrubbing the vinyl with the Cockpit Brush, make sure to thoroughly rinse all of the chemical from the surface with the garden hose or a pressure washer. You can then dry the surface with an Ultra Plush Drying Towel or Air Cannon dryer, and then add a protection product to keep harmful UV rays from fading the vinyl. Graphene VRT or Graphene Ceramic Spray Coating Advanced would both provide strong levels of protection that should last a few months or more on a daily driven vehicle.

All-Weather Floor Mats

All-weather floor mats are a fantastic accessory for your vehicle. They keep ice, salt, mud, spilled coffee, and more from soaking into and staining the interior carpet, but they can be quite a fair amount of upkeep themselves if you want to keep them looking clean and new. Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner and Adam’s Rubber Mat & Liner Cleaner are both excellent options to deep clean all-weather floor mats, whether they are OEM equipped or from other great brands like WeatherTech, Husky, and so on. These mats can sometimes fade to a grayish-white color over time, especially where your shoes contact and rest on the mat. Tire & Rubber Cleaner along with our Fender Brush will foam up and clean into all of the pockets and water channels of these mats, and once rinsed, it will leave them slightly darker in appearance. For an even better look and to make them easier to clean afterward, apply a layer of our Graphene Ceramic Spray Coating, demonstrated in this video here: How To Clean And Protect All-Weather Floor Mats

Tire & Rubber Cleaner Use Chart

The following is a quick chart summarizing each cleaning topic covered in this blog, as well as recommended companion products to use with Tire & Rubber Cleaner, how often you should clean these areas, and how much effort is involved for each task, from very easy to very difficult.

Task Companion Product(s) Intended Uses / Purpose Frequency of Use Level of Effort

Tire Cleaning

- Rubberized Tire Brush

Cleans Tire, Removes Discoloration

Every Wash


Fender Liners and Wax Stain Removal

- Fender Brush
- Edgeless Utility Towel
- Deep Clean Eraser

Removes Dirt/Grime Build-Up on Inner Fenders,
Removes Wax Stains

Liners = Every Wash
Wax Stains = As Necessary

Very Easy

Engine Bay Cleaning

- Rubberized Wheel Brush
- Fender Brush
- Trim & Lug Nut Brush

Cleans Engine Bay Components, Removes Dirt, Grease, Oil, Etc.

At Least Every Oil Change


Rubber - Removing Oxidation

- Edgeless Utility Towel

Removes Faded Oxidation from Rubber, Allowing it to be Treated/Conditioned

As Necessary


Vinyl - Tonneau Covers and Roof Panels

- Cockpit Brush
- Edgeless Utility Towel

Removes Heavy Dirt Build-Up from Vinyl, Allowing it to be Treated/Conditioned

As Necessary if Heavily Dirty


Floor Mats

- Fender Brush
- Cockpit Brush
- Edgeless Utility Towel

Removes Mud, Dirt, Spills, Etc. From All-Weather Floor Mats

Every Wash or Every Other Wash


Bonus - Tar and Track Prep Removal

- Edgeless Utility Towel
- Borderless Grey Towel

Removes Tar Build-Up During the Wash Process,
Removes Track Day Rubber

As Necessary or After Each Track Day


BONUS - Tar and Track Prep/Rubber Removal

One last bonus topic where you may not think to use Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner is around the painted rocker panels, bumpers, and behind the tires, where fresh road tar can be slung up onto your car, truck, or SUV! Tire & Rubber Cleaner is also very handy to have after a day at the track, whether at the drag strip, road course, or autocross, to remove track prep and tire rubber compound from behind the tires. Heating up the tires in the burnout box or doing some serious corner carving can leave large amounts of spent rubber on the painted sides of your vehicle, and if you get to it quickly enough, it can wipe away safely without too much effort. Generously spray Tire & Rubber Cleaner onto the area, then use an Edgeless Utility Towel or Borderless Grey Towel to wipe away all of the rubber compound. Our Tire & Rubber Cleaner is safe on paint, as long as it doesn’t dry onto any painted areas, so work quickly if you can. Then follow it up with some Waterless Wash and waffle weave Waterless Wash Towels to make sure you have all of the Tire & Rubber Cleaner residue fully removed from the surface.


In this blog, we explained several different uses of Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner, some of which might be news to you. We explained more common processes like cleaning tires, engine compartments, and rubber trim pieces, as well as some not-so-common uses like removing wax, compound, and polish stains from textured plastic, cleaning vinyl tonneau covers, and scrubbing all-weather floor mats. Then we finished up this blog with a bonus topic of cleaning fresh tar and rubber compound off of the body of the vehicle from every day driving or track days, and a general summary chart for each of these tasks. If you are uncertain about any product or process, or have any questions in general, feel free to contact us, or reach us on our online communities on, Instagram, and Facebook, as well.

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