Since I have to prep the tires for a protectant and I had some time to kill yesterday, I tested a number of different types of cleaners to see what might work well for lifting brown bloom/grime from tires.
I used standard yellow cellulose sponge to wipe/rub each product onto different parts/letters of the tire, rinsing well after application and allowed to air dry before the next product was used:
1. Caig DeoxIT Screen Cleaner -- have a huge bottle and rarely use it, so may as well experiment. As one might expect, this was least effective, though it did remove some grime from the white letters.
2. Black Magic no scrub wheel cleaner -- left over from prior use. This product smells better than some alternatives, but that's about the extent of its glory as far as tire cleaning goes. It does, however, make clearcoat wheels shine nicely... and smell good -- a boon for rim sniffers I suppose. uhm.. that didn't quite sound right.
3. Suave Naturals green apple shampoo -- because the bottle was near empty and about to be tossed, and I've noticed that when I shower after getting dirty working on the car, my fingernails are left cleaner than I get them with Gojo pumice and a nail brush! Some shampoos are really good grease cutters -- and hair is an effective, natural fingernail brush.
This stuff was as effective with light wiping effort as the Black Magic cleaner. The Black Magic might possibly have dissolved a little bit more grime from the black, but it was difficult to be sure. In fairness, the Black Magic I used is marketed primarily as a wheel
cleaner and not a tire cleaner.
4. Dawn ultra concentrated New Zealand Springs scent dishwashing liquid -- eh.. why not? I doubt it will penetrate deeply, so any wax removal should be superficial. This had similar performance to the shampoo, but was slightly less effective on the white letters and required more rubbing to achieve similar brightness.
5. Simple Green (regular, all purpose) -- every home should have it! This cleaned the white letters with better effectiveness than the shampoo and dishwashing liquid (i.e., brighter white with less effort), and about the same on the brown grime as the Black Magic. Incidentally, this stuff is superb inkjet ink remover -- better than some I've tried that are specifically designed for the purpose!
6. Simple Green Precision Equipment -- aluminum and paint safe version which I originally bought to clean the engine/bay with (and it did a good job of it). Home Depot stocked it at one time, but when I got mine there wasn't a shelf label for it (i.e., had to ask for it) and there were only a couple stores in the Houston area that even had one bottle left. But good luck if you want to try to find it there.
It seems the manufacturer discontinued it and now markets it as "motorsports" version (the label looks extremely similar and the bottle is blue just like Precision Equipment).
This cleaned the same as regular Simple Green, with the added benefit of not being corrosive.
7. Westley's Bleche-Wite -- OLD bottle before the name change. This is now a Black Magic/Blue Coral label product, owned by ITW (Illinois Tool Works). It was the most effective, leaving the brightest white of them all and squeaky clean rubber.
However, even with double application, it did not remove all the brown grime from all areas (i.e., close inspection revealed it was still present among the small font black lettering). Yeah yeah, I know: get a wheel brush!
Well, that might have helped, but the cellulose sponge should have been able to get in between those small letters, and frankly I believe it did; the product just didn't fully dissolve the grime.
Out of all the cleaners I've used, including some spray on foaming types that I no longer have, Bleche-Wite was the only one that gave a visual indication of grime/film being floated. However, when sprayed directly onto bare (and relatively clean) concrete, an identical brown tint developed in the liquid, so it obviously isn't coming only from tires, and I doubt the concrete was hosting impregnated waxes/UV absorbers that are designed to protect rubber sidewalls.
As alluded to, I've tried a bunch of other, application-specific cleaners in the past, but I don't recall all of the exact names of them, and it's been too long to remember enough details for side-by-side comparisons, AND I wasn't about to go purchase them again, if they're even still on the market, just to include them in this test, so they aren't listed.
Suffice it to say that a few of them were better than most of the seven listed above, but none were superior to Bleche-Wite.
So, I headed to Wally World for more Bleche-Wite. They were out of stock, so I ended up purchasing Eagle One A2Z
, which the manufacturer claims is more potent than Meguiar's Hot Rims and is safe for all wheel types.
I also picked up a bottle of Black Magic Natural
, which is designed to leave a matte/original finish. I wanted this for the interior anyway, so it's no loss if it doesn't produce the desired finish on tires.
I'll post the results in this thread.