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How To Clean RC Tires

If you are an RC hobbyist, you are probably aware that maintaining your RC car and keeping it clean is crucial to making it last as long as possible. You can’t avoid getting dirt, mud, or water on your RC car, no matter how hard you try but failing to maintain cleanness in or on your RC tires can definitely cause long term damage. 

The simple way to make sure that you clean your tires properly  is to get organized and have a cleaning routine. This will make your cleaning process much quicker and it will soon become second nature to do it after every use. 

It’s essential to keep your tires clean for both racing and bashing. When treads are dirty, that limits contact and the amount of tread that actually touches the ground which  will greatly affect traction.  and While spinning your wheels can be a lot of fun if you are just bashing,  it certainly slows down your vehicle and will hurt your acceleration a lot.  Keeping your tires clean is an excellent way to be faster, and it won’t even cost you any money!

So, how do you clean your RC tires? 

Cleaning RC tires is not difficult, but it is a process. If the tires don’t have air vents, dip them in soapy water and scrub the dirt off with a toothbrush or dish brush. Once they dry, use some rubber or vinyl cleaner on them to make them look brand new. If the tires have air vents, use some special tire foam designed for cleaning. Spray it on, and leave it for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a clean rag. Use a toothbrush to remove any leftover mud, dirt, or rocks. 

Most people will find that cleaning their RC tires is often as simple as using warm soapy water and a nice stiff bristled brush most of the time. Even if your tires are vented you can still use the warm soap and water as long as you don’t dip the tires in the water and are careful to not allow the water to get into the holes while scrubbing. 

For more information on cleaning your RC tires you will want to keep reading as well as to check out the video below. 

RC tire cleaning tools

There are no special tools you have to have to properly clean your tires, but you may find it extremely helpful to put together a small cleaning kit that you use every time. This way you have everything all in one spot and are able to get the cleaning done much faster and without having to try and find a brush. 

 Below are a few tools that will help you get your RC tires cleaned quickly. 

  • A toothbrush or dish scrubbing brush:  These are helpful to remove chunks of dirt or mud. 
  • A few rags: These are used for wiping your tires after washing them. 
  • Paper towels: Used to dry off your tires
  • A good quality soap: I prefer to use Dawn
  • A large flat shallow container: This will allow you to clean it on a bench or table without getting the water everywhere or requiring you to clean it on the floor.

There are of course many other tools that you might find are helpful to clean off your tires but if you clean them after every use then these should be enough for most people. Creating a little kit that you use everytime will help you make sure that you do it right and also save you time by not having to look for these individual items every single time. 

Best methods and tips for cleaning RC tires

In this section we will give you some quick tips to help you clean your tires more efficiently as well as save you some time and money on the back end if you do it wrong. The best way to clean your tires might vary from vehicle to vehicle so you will probably want to see which one of these works best for your car and then use that. 

Avoid immersing the tires in water

It’s a big mistake to soak your tires entirely in water but unfortunately that’s what many users do. Although this does a good job cleaning your tires, it also often allows water to get inside of the tires, trapping it between the rubber and the rims. This increases weight, throws off the wheel balance, and ultimately deteriorates the inserts, wheels, and tires.

Clean the tires as soon as they get dirty

If you allow the dirt, mud, etc. to sit on or in your tires it gradually gets harder and harder to clean it off the longer you let it sit. It is always the best idea to clean your tires after every single use unless you did not take it off road at all. Leaving caked on clay or mud can easily dry out and damage your tires themselves over time so not only will cleaning them be more difficult but it will cost you more money in the long run. 

Use a wire brush

As a word of caution this should only be done if you are careful and if the mess is incredibly hard to get off. Wire brushes are quite abrasive and if you are not careful you can easily find yourself permanently damaging the tires or even the car itself. 

If the mess is quite bad you can use a wire brush to scrape off the tires to remove big particles and debris before busting out the water and cleaning solution. Ensure you don’t scrape sideways against the treads, but rather, follow the circumference of the wire. This aids in preventing damage to softer tires.

Use warm water and a nylon brush.

Use a plastic basin and fill it with half-full of warm water. Roll the tire in the water, allow the water to get into the dirt, and then use a nylon plastic bristle brush to remove the remaining dirt. Since the nylon brush is not very abrasive, it may be used in a side to side motion and you don’t have to be nearly as careful with it as you do if you are using a wire brush as mentioned above. 

Make a Simple Green wash solution

With most of the surface debris out of the way, add some new water and about 25% Simple Green cleaning solution and then rewash the tires with the nylon brush. The Simple Green cleaner is non-toxic, cleans very well, and will not dry out the tire compound over time. 

Dry the tire with a soft towel

Once you are done with the cleaning, dry the tire with soft cloth thoroughly. Start by wiping the surface, and then wrap the tires in the towel and squeeze them. This will assist in removing any water that soaked into the tire inserts. Be sure and give your tires plenty of time to get fully dried off/out before you store your car away. 

Add traction compound

It’s not that important, but it’s a good idea to add some traction compound to the tires. Traction compound makes the rubber soft and helps them last considerably longer. On the market, there are several traction compounds, most of which are quite excellent.You can find a good one on Amazon here.  Avoid using compounds like lighter fluid, as they only tend to dry out tires over time. After applying the mixture, use a soft towel to wipe off any residual liquid.

Store tires in a zip lock bag

Unless you are planning on hitting the dirt immediately, it is good to store clean tires in an airtight container. This ensures tires don’t dry out in storage and also prevents dust and dirt from accumulating on them in transport. 

Storing your tires this way will also help you keep your spares together in your bag and you won’t have to go digging for them if you need a new set. 


Although the RC hobby can be costly, some of the best ways to extend the life of your vehicle often cost very little. Keeping your tires clean is very important for maintaining traction and extending the life of the tires themselves. Cleaning your tires should be part of your routine RC maintenance and something that should be done after every use in the dirt or mud. 

Many  hobbyists spend a lot of money on costly tires, but that is quickly lost if these new tires are not cleaned very often. Always be sure to take care of your tires and never use harsh chemicals or scrub too hard when using an abrasive brush such as a wire one. 

The main reason for cleaning your RC tires is to make them last as long as possible and work properly so tearing them up with harsh chemicals or aggressive brushing defeats the purpose.