How to Make Tire Shine: A DIY Guide

Whether you love to wash and detail your vehicle yourself, or you simply take it to a local car wash, the final touch is applying a good tire shine to your vehicles “boots”. And while it’s absolutely an option to buy some tire shine from the store, you could make it yourself… in fact you should!

Tire shine isn’t always the cheapest and sometimes you’re doing a quick once over and realise your all out of tire shine. But if you didn’t know already, you can make some yourself!

It’s super easy, cheap and we do it all the time and get great results. So read on and we will tell you how to make a great tire shine with just the ingredients around your house.

3 Best DIY Tire Shines

It is not uncommon for people to have their own homemade recipes for tire shine. However before getting started we always recommend erring on the side of caution when making your tire shines. Start with small amounts first to ensure that it works, and use gloves and eye protection.

Start by ensuring your tires are thoroughly clean and dry. Applying tire shine is always the last step when washing your car. Use a mixture of car soap and water to wash off any dirt, followed by a light scrub with a rubbing paper for stubborn grime.

No. 1 – Baby Oil and Car shampoo

  • 1 cup (237 ml) of baby oil
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) of water
  • 2-3 drops of car shampoo
  • Tire shine applicator
  • Microfiber Towel

Mix together your water, automative shampoo and baby oil in a small bucket, bowl or container. Once mixed together, you can either transfer the mixture into a spray bottle, or simply dip your applicator into the mixture to apply directly to your tires.

Apply the tire shine evenly to ensure the entire surface of the tire is covered with the solution. Avoid using too much and allowing it to run as this can sling onto your car’s paint when driving or run onto your nice clean wheels.

Once you’ve applied the tire shine, proceed to apply to the other tires and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Once it has sat for a few minutes, take your microfibre towel or rag and gently buff the surface of the tire. This step helps remove any excess solution, giving your tires a beautifully polished look.

Remember to reapply the mixture as necessary to maintain that fresh, shiny appearance.

No. 2 – Rubbing Alcohol and Oil

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) of Castor oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Rubbing Alcohol
  • 1/2 gallon (2l) of water
  • 3-4 drops of car shampoo
  • Brush to scrub tire
  • Tire shine applicator
  • 3 Microfiber Towels

A little oil and rubbing is a great way to bring out the natural deep black colour of tires, and the oil leaves a shine on the surface of the tire which makes it look super clean. This is also a simple way to clean your tires from start to finish.

Before we apply tire shine, we must ensure your tire is squeaky clean. Add your car shampoo into a bucket and then add your water. Mix vigorously together until it lathers up. Then dip your brush in the mixture and scrub your tire. The brush will allow you to clean all the different level grooves in your tires sidewall.

Once done, take a clean microfibre towel or rag and dry the tire. Then apply a dab of rubbing alcohol to a clean towel and use to further clean the tire. This extra step will remove any left over greasy residue on the tire in preparation for our tire shine. The rubbing alcohol should evaporate quickly.

Once the tire is dry, apply your castor oil onto a clean microfibre towel or your tire shine applicator and spread evenly over your tires surface. Once down, step back and admire your work as your tire now gleams and shines whilst being clean and protected.

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No. 3 – Lemon Oil

  • 1 tbsp (15ml) Lemon Oil
  • 4c (960 ml) of warm water
  • 4-5 drops of car shampoo
  • Tire shine applicator
  • Microfiber Towel

One of the benefits of washing your car yourself with automotive products is the great smell of all the products. Tire shines however are the one area where it seems no effort is being made to make them smell nice.

To make your Lemon Oil Tire shine, put your automotive shampoo in a bucket and then add your warm water. Add your lemon oil last and gently combine together. Once combined, use your applicator or a clean brush to apply liberally to your tire. Try to avoid contact with your wheel.

Once you have liberally applied your tire shine to your tire and let it dwell for a minute or so, use your microfibre towel to wipe dry.

With our lemon oil tire shine, you can not only protect your tires from tire dry rot and UV rays, you can make them smell great and look pristine as well. You may also find it prevents dogs from sniffing and marking their territory on your tires too.

Alternative Ingredients for Homemade Tire Shine

While the above recipes works great, you can experiment with all the ingredients to create a customized tire shine. Here are what we used and how they work:

Lemon Oil: This acts as a natural degreaser, offering shine and a pleasant scent.

Castor Oil: Another oil-based option, castor oil provides excellent shine and protection for your tires.

Rubbing Alcohol: Ideal for prepping the tires by cleaning off any dirt or grime before applying the tire shine.

Vegetable Oil: An excellent alternative for those who prefer using products commonly found in their kitchen. It’s gentle on the tire and leaves a nice shine.

Benefits of Tire Shine

There are a number of reasons why you’d want to use tire shine.

A Shiny Aesthetic

Tire shine can give you tires a sleek, glossy look that is very appealing to many of us auto enthusiasts. It’s both great to look at and I find makes me feel happier and gives me a sense of pride to be able to drive my car looking its very best. A clean car is a reflection of you.

It Provides Protection

It’s not just about looks however. Tire shine provides a layer of protection against harmful agents like UV rays, dirt, and road grime. This barrier can help prevent cracking and fading of the tire’s surface. Some formulations also include UV blockers for additional protection.

What’s the Difference Between Commercial Tire Shine and Homemade Tire Shine?

Easier Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular application of tire shine makes it harder for dirt, dust, and grime to stick to the tire’s surface, thus reducing the time and effort required for upkeep.

Commercial tire shines often come with added ingredients to enhance shine, durability, and protective qualities. However, they can be more expensive than homemade options. 

Homemade tire shine, on the other hand, is cheaper and you control what goes into it, making it a safer and more natural option.

Types of Commercial Tire Shine

Commercial tire shines come in three main types: spray, gel, and foam.

Spray Tire Shine

Perfect for those seeking quick and hassle-free application, spray tire shines deliver an effortless way to rejuvenate your tires. They leave your tires looking clean and polished with just a few spritzes, making them an ideal choice for those pressed for time.

Gel Tire Shine

If you’re after a long-lasting shine, gel tire shines should be your go-to. They provide a thicker and more robust coating, ensuring the shine endures the test of time. Although they may require an applicator pad for even coverage, the additional effort yields impressive results.

Foam Tire Shine

Foam tire shines provide comprehensive coverage with their unique property to expand upon spraying. The foam clings to the tire surface, seeping into the rubber to nourish it while maintaining a dark, shiny look. This tire shine type offers an excellent balance between ease of application and long-lasting results.

Meguiar's G13919 Hot Shine Tire Foam, Aerosol Tire Shine for Glossy, Rich Black Tires - 19 Oz Spray Can
Trinova Tire Shine Spray No Wipe - Automotive Clear Coat Dressing for Wet & Slick Finish - Keeps Tires Black - with Rubber Protector - Prevents Fading & Yellowing - 18 OZ
Chemical Guys TVD11316 Tire Kicker Sprayable Extra Glossy Tire Shine (Works on Rubber, Vinyl & Plastic) Safe for Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, RVs & More, 16 fl oz


Is WD-40 OK to use on rubber?

Yes, WD-40 is absolutely safe to use on your tires and can be an effective cleaning aid. They will not damage your tires or rims.

Can you use Vaseline for tire shine?

No. Vaseline is a petroleum based product which can degrade and damage your tires. Use one of the products of methods mentioned above.

Can you use furniture polish as tire shine?

Some people swear by using furniture polish as a tire shine but we really wouldn’t recommend it. The chemicals in it can degrade the makeup of your tires and lead them to crack and split over time.


Keeping your tires slick and shiny doesn’t need to cost you. These DIY methods are all super easy and provide you with a wonderful product that you can make over and over again. Of course, if you don’t feel like making tire shine yourself, the store bought options work great too!