How To Make DIY Tire Shine (Recipes & Easy Steps To Follow)

Updated June 14, 2024

So you’re trying to find alternatives to buying a tire shine? In this guide, you’ll learn more about:

  • Using WD40 as tire shine
  • How to make tire polish at home
  • DIY recipes and steps to make tire shine
  • What you can do to make tires look shiny

How To Make DIY Tire Shine (Recipes & Easy Steps To Follow)

Table of Contents

Welcome to my article on DIY tire shine. It can be expensive to buy tire shining products, so we’ll explore alternatives that are a fraction of the price. It’s important to keep your tires shiny for a number of reasons. In this article, I’ll answer the following:

Can You Use WD40 As Tire Shine?

While WD40 seems to be the ‘go-to’ solution for almost everybody for almost everything, let’s tread lightly here. Bonus points if you got the pun. You should always be wary of applying a product to your tire when you don’t know what’s in it as is the case with WD40; some of the ingredients have been kept a secret since the 50s.

There’s no escaping the fact that it does a brilliant job on a lot of things but you want to be mindful about applying it to tires. It does have cleaning and lubricating properties but it’s generally accepted in the car industry that you use WD40 for lubricating alone.

WD40 should be fine to use for a touch-up here and there but because it’s renowned for picking up debris with its oily nature, you may want to steer clear of it. More bonus points! It’s great for rust prevention but it’s not a great choice for a DIY tire shine solution.

WD40 is too risky to use as a solution on its own for your tires but if you use it with another water-based product, preferably one with soap, then you should be fine. The key with using WD40 is to use it sporadically. Think twice before you use it as a complete all-around product.

Can You Make Tire Polish At Home

Can You Make Tire Polish At Home?

You’ll be glad to know that not every car detailing product has to be purchased. By being thrifty, there are several homemade options you can use that may not be as effective but are a lot better for your wallet.

The most common homemade product is oil. This includes lots of varieties including vegetable, cooking, brake fluid, lemon, and castor. Oils such as lemon and castor are better for your tires because they can soothe your tires without the need for drying them. Drying your tires after cleaning them can sometimes remove the oil.

The upside to using a homemade solution is that it’s much more likely to be environmentally friendly. They’re also safer in terms of fire hazards. Because commercial products have harmful chemicals, they’re more prone to fires, which makes a homemade solution more appealing.

The only downside, and that’s even if you consider it a downside, to creating your own polish from home is that it will take longer than buying a ready-made product off the shelf. 

You need to be mindful of ensuring the mixtures you put in are balanced so that the finished tire shine is not diluted or not too diluted. In other words, you’re looking to strike the right balance.

Can You Restore A Tire So It’s Shiny?

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing your tires are no longer jet black and are starting to resemble something more faded. If your tire is filled with brown, stubborn dirt then it’s probably mud. What’s worse is that a simple cloth won’t cure your tires. You could have what’s known as tire blooming.

You can most certainly restore your tire. Using a microfiber cloth with some water will start to loosen the build-up of dirt that you have. This may be a good start, but to really restore your tire to how it was, try using a synthetic bristle brush. Not only will it clean your tires but it can also get into those hard-to-reach places.

Once you’re finished, just give your tires a once-over with a garden hose. Feel free to add in some decontamination mixture but it’s not totally necessary. Either way, your tire will look much better after applying the microfiber cloth with the brush.

In other words: yes, you can most definitely restore a tire so it shines. If you’re consistent with it you should have no problem in maintaining your car tires to a very high standard using a home-based product. 

Tire shine DIY recipe

What You Can Do To Make Your Tire Shiny

If you are looking to make (and keep) your tires clean without breaking the bank, you might want to consider mixing alcohol with castor oil. Combine both with some water and shampoo and your tire will soon shine in its natural state. It may seem like a wacky method, but it totally works! As the saying goes “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”

You’ll need the following:

  • A cup (237 ml) of castor oil 
  • A quarter cup (59 ml) of rubbing oil 
  • A cup (237 ml) of water 
  • 0.3 fl oz (10 ml) of shampoo

The results will surprise you. Give it a shot!

Can You Use Baby Oil As Tire Shine?

No one likes a dull tire. The good news is if yours are they don’t have to be! I know buying tire shining products can be expensive but you can still get the same effect while using homemade remedies. One such remedy is using baby oil.

Using baby oil is a cheap and easy way to bring back some of that gloss your tires may have been missing. Pamper your tires with baby oil and you’ll see the difference instantly, especially on older-looking tires. 

The other benefit of using baby oil is that you can use it as much or as little as you like. Because it contains no harmful chemicals, you can apply as much of it as often as you like without doing any damage to your tire or car.

To clean your tires with baby oil, you need the following:

  • A cup (237 ml) of baby oil 
  • Half a cup (118 ml) of water 
  • Some dish soap 
  • A clean towel

Pour the baby oil into a bowl and add the water with a couple of drops of the soap. Stir everything up for 30 seconds and then soak the edge of the towel into the finished product. Gently apply the towel, now soaked in the baby oil, to the tire in a circular motion. You may need to rinse the towel every now and then.

Repeat this process a few times and leave your tire to dry. You’ll notice a stark difference in the shine. I did say it was cheap and easy! 

How Do You Polish Tires?

By being the part of your car that makes contact with the road first, it also means that they’ll be the first part of your car to get dirty (and usually end up being the dirtiest). And you can notice it straight away. While general dirt and dust are harmless, it’s what’s underneath that you want to make sure you’re keeping clean.

Round up all your materials and equipment, including:

  • White vinegar and baking soda 
  • A bucket of water and non-chemical soap 
  • A wheel brush

Give everything a good rinse with water. Simply spray your tires down so they’re ready for a clean. Next, you’ll want to create an 80/20 split with the vinegar and baking soda so you can apply it to your tires using a sturdy cloth.

Now you’ll really want to give the tire a good, deep clean using the items listed above. Once you’ve done this thoroughly, you’ll want to add some wheel wax to give you that glistening, shiny look. It will give your entire car a pop.

Is Tire Shine Bad For Tires?

Generally speaking, most DIY tire shining solutions should be fine for use on your tires. The reason for this is because homemade solutions are water-based, which is great news. Because most water solutions are free of chemicals that can harm your tires, you can use them without having to worry about the effect they will have on your car.

There are a few products and ingredients you should probably keep away from because they can damage the properties of your tires. Products such as WD40, alcohol, and expensive tire dressing cans can have a good short-term impact but continual use can erode your tires.

Tire shine is good for your entire car, not just your tires because if done correctly your car will drive smoother, will be safer, handle easier and will look snazzier!

Final Thoughts

We’ve explored many ways how to make DIY tire shine. Keeping your tires clean can be difficult especially if you’re usually driving in rough terrains. However, instead of opting for the usual more expensive options that are available commercially, if you go for a DIY solution, you’ll save money with your tires.

Commercial tire shining products cost more for a reason but it doesn’t mean you can’t get a similar effect from a DIY alternative. It will just require a bit of research on your end and patience to make sure you get the right mixture.

All in all, you can definitely make your own homemade solution which costs less but the flipside is that it could take longer to prep and clean your tires.

Before you rush off to go make your own DIY tire shine, you might be interested in some of our tire reviews. Happy tire buying!

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About The Author

Alexander Monteverde

Alexander Monteverde

A third generation tire salesman, Alexander Monteverde has been surrounded by tires his whole life. When he’s not looking up the specs of the latest tire models or writing his latest article, he can be found playing with his dog Gizmo or on long bike rides.


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