Tire marks are the hardest type of stain to get off our concrete. These marks are generally caused due to skid marks from erratic braking or the plasticizers.
The go-to method for removing tire marks are liquid soap/detergent with water solution and a little bit of elbow grease.
However, this method of cleaning may not work for stubborn marks. In such cases, you can opt for concrete degreasers partnered with pressure washing for a satisfactory result. There are other products that you can use mentioned below:
- Bucket or any container for water
- Soap/Detergent/Dishwashing liquid
- Nylon Brush or equivalent soft-bristled brush
- Concrete Degreaser products /Automotive brake cleaners /Vehicle degreasers
- Pressure washer (recommended) or garden hose
Items to Avoid
- Wired Brushes
How to Get Tire Marks Off Concrete
Follow the steps below for effective results.
- The first procedure is always to clean the area of the rubber mark. Sweep the surface where the tire marks are and remove any dust & debris.
- We recommend splashing some water and allowing the surface to be wet. Give it 3 to 7 minutes for the area to soften up.
- Get a bucket of water and mix dish soap/detergent or degreasing dishwashing liquid in it.
- Apply the liquid on the surface and let soak for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Scrub the area and rinse with our rented power washer or garden hose.
- If you can get a pressure washer, you must keep the nozzle in a constant motion to avoid the pressure from eating the sealant and concrete. A standard 3000 PSI pressure washer can do the trick.
- Repeat the process till the mark is gone.
This step will work for fresh stains and small spots or stains. Please opt for the recommended solutions below for bigger and older rubber marks.
Apply a Concrete Degreaser
Tire Marks that have been around for a long time may be hard to remove with just soap and water. In the event the above steps haven’t worked out for you. The best course of action is to get a concrete degreaser.
As plasticizers in rubber are water-resistant, large marks which have been around for some time might be hard to remove with just water and soap.
Plenty of brands are found in the market like Simple green cleaner, Rust-Oleum, CSP cleaners, Fila heavy-duty cleaners, ACT concrete cleaners, and Tennant 9960 Severe Soilage Neutral Floor Cleaner, Natural Orange, etc.
You can also opt for automotive brake cleaners or vehicle degreasers.
In the case of epoxy-coated floors, you might not need heavy-duty degreasers; the first course of action should always be soap, detergent with light scrubbing.
Opt for non-filming detergents and follow the same steps below. Some of the brands in use are 409 cleaners, Zepp, Goof off, and fantastic cleaners. For specific small spots, paint thinners will do the trick.
- Once the floor is wet for a period, apply the concrete degreaser on the marked area.
- Please test a small section to see the product’s reaction with the concrete applying it on every mark. Try getting cleaners that are specialized for the sealant on the concrete.
- Let the cleaner sit on for 10-15 minutes. Please note this is for solution-based cleaners.
- If you have an aerosol type cleaner, spray it, and start scrubbing.
- We recommend scrubbing the area with a nylon-bristled brush or deck brush. For epoxy-coated concrete floors, use a soft-bristled brush. Softer, the better.
- Rinse the area completely with a pressure washer or garden hose.
- You might have to make multiple applications of this process for bigger marks.
Note: Degreasers are chemical made specifically to remove agents from floors. Excessive use or letting the solution sit for a long period will damage the coat of the concrete.
Be careful during application and follow the manufacturer’s instructions strictly. Be sure to nozzle the pressure washer from a distance. Our goal is to clean the marks, not remove the concrete sealant.
Alternative Degreasing Solutions
Only opt for these solutions if the concrete degreaser has no effect. These are hard chemicals and will etch the surface if the dilution is wrong.
Trisodium Phosphate, Ammonia Solution, or Muriatic Acid are the general go-to options but always dilute the solutions to at least 1 gallon of water per cup of these chemicals.
Never pour water on the acid, it will create a reaction splashing the solution everywhere, and you will get hurt. Always acid into the water, a small amount of heat and vapor is released, but there is no exothermic reaction to hurt us.
How to Prevent Tire Marks in the Future?
Tire marks are mainly caused by heat in the tires. Since tires are made up of rubber, plasticizer polymer compounds are added to make the tire more flexible and improve traction.
Friction while driving causes tires to heat up, and as a result, these polymers soften up and leave residue on the concrete where parked.
Better the quality of the tires, more plasticizer is used. Tire marks being left alone for a period will stick to the concrete more and discolor its sealant. Follow the recommendation below to avoid such instances in the future.
- Try rinsing and cleaning tire marks as soon as they appear. Use cat litter grounded into powder or baking soda on fresh tire stains. Please note the longer these tire marks are on your concrete, the harder it will be to get rid of them.
- When sealing the concrete, remember to use those sealers with a high number of solids. Typically, you can check those in the packaging of high solid polyurethanes & Acrylic sealers. High solids will minimize potential scuffs & scratches later.
- Try placing mats on the exact area where you park every day. It sounds like an annoying solution, but it will save you a ton of effort in the long run.
- Let your tires cool off on the side of the road for some time before bringing it up the driveway if possible. The prime reason for tire marks is heat on tires.
- Teach family members proper braking techniques and avoid erratic braking to minimize future skid marks on the concrete.
Last Resort to Getting Our Concrete Back
If the marks are too tough to get rid of, even with the methods above, our most viable option is to do a sanding/grinding pass on the concrete and recoat it with a new sealer. A 40-60 grit should do the trick.
Will just a power washer alone remove the rubber tire marks off concrete?
It entirely depends on the size of the tire mark and how old the rubber mark is. Power washers will take fresh tire marks off. We recommend making a couple of degreaser applications, scrubbing, and then pressure rinsing it if the tire mark is old.