How To Remove Paint From Tires: A Helpful Guide

a car tire being hosed down
20th Sep,2023

So you’ve got paint on your tires. While there are different methods you can do to remove it by yourself, it can be tricky and you might end up in a worse situation than before.

To help you out, we’ve put together this simple guide to remove paint from your tires.

How Can I Remove Paint From Tires?

a car tire being hosed down

Depending on the method, removing paint from wheels can be as straightforward as taking a few minutes long changing your tires. Knowing how to remove paint from tires is a useful skill, especially if you’re fond of painting rims by yourself. If your car has wheel spacers the method to remove the paint is the same. Check out this guide if you don’t know what are wheel spacers.

Here are the different methods you can do: All the supplies that you need can be found on Amazon or your local auto parts store.

Method 1

You will need:

  • Nylon-bristled brush
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon Juice

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  1. Hose down the tire with water to make sure it’s clean.
  2. Vigorously scrub the paint spots with a heavy-duty nylon-bristled brush. This will get those marks loose and prepped for removal from your tires. 
  3. While the wheel is still wet, sprinkle baking soda on the affected areas. 
  4. Apply lemon juice to the same areas. This baking soda-lemon combo is a powerful cleaning agent that’s popularly used as an all-around cleaner for the household.
  5. Scrub the tread again with your nylon-bristled scrubber, letting the baking soda work its magic on the painted areas.
  6. Reapply baking soda and lemon as needed and continue scrubbing until the paint is completely removed. 
  7. Rinse off your tires with water. 

Method 2

You will need:

  • Nylon-bristled scrubber
  • Vegetable oil

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  1. Coat your tires with a generous amount of vegetable oil.
  2. Let it sit for 2-4 hours. The vegetable oil will break apart the paint on the tires.
  3. Scrub the tire with the brush.
  4. Apply water occasionally to stimulate the grease, and continue to scrub the tire with force.
  5. Rinse off your tires with water and towel dry.

Vegetable oil may seem like an unlikely ingredient to remove tire paint, but it’s an effective technique to give your wheels a shiny-looking appearance without inflicting damage. 

Method 3

If the paint is still fresh, you can use this quick method to take off the unsightly stains from your tires in minutes.

You’ll need:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or any rubbing alcohol you have at hand
  • Piece of cloth

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  1. Simply pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol on a rag or any piece of cloth.
  2. Wipe away the paint smudges on your tires.

A photo of a clean tire

Method 4

This fourth and final method is ideal if you need to get road paint off your tires. 

Road paint is typically harder to remove because they soak into the rubber. But surprisingly, it’s actually easier to remove if the painted part is on the treads. If you keep driving, the stains that mar your wheels will eventually wear off. If the paint is on the tire’s sidewalls, however, this is where it gets a little tricky. 

You will need:

  • Sponge
  • Bug and tar remover
  • Terry cloth or soft-bristled scrubber

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  1. First, you need to get all the road debris off your tires. Use a sponge and wash it down with soap and water.
  2. Shake the bug and tar remover well and hold it at about 6-7 inches away from the paint. 
  3. Spray on the affected areas and let sit for 1 minute to allow the product to seep through.
  4. Gently scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush or a terry cloth until the paint comes off.
  5. Wash off the bug and tar remover with soap and water. Then, use a lint-free towel to dry.

Does Paint Thinner Damage Rubber?

If you search online posts regarding this matter, you’ll find that people are conflicted if paint thinner causes tire damage. Some users claim that thinners are an easy way to get the job done fast and that they’ve used it all the time.

However, petroleum products and solvents are very harsh and should not be used on tires. Buying new, reliable tires as you’ll see here is always an option, but it isn’t always the wisest one. When those products are absorbed by your tire, it will cause the rubber to break down.

Lacquer thinners, paint strippers, white wall cleaners, and other similar products are very caustic and will make your tire more prone to brittleness and cracking, thus significantly reducing your tire’s lifespan.

Although it can be said that short term exposure to these products won’t have any visible harm, it would be wise to stay away from them to keep the integrity of your wheels. If you’re using any of these products in your home, be careful when handling them as they may cause damage as well.


Removing tire paint may seem like a daunting task, but it can be made easy with the proper materials at hand. With the different methods listed above, you’re sure to find one that works when getting the stains off your tires.

Just remember that although your tires are tough, products such as solvents can be harmful and should not be used. Also, ensure that you do some maintenance to keep tire quality every now and then.

If your struggling to remove your tires, check out this seperate guide.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.