I have a set of Continental Touring tires with the white reflective stripe on the sidewalls, and they get pretty dirty with road and brake grime. Normally I would clean with car soap and water but sometimes it doesn't get all the dirt off/make them look new. It is also winter right now so it is harder to soap and water wash in the garage. I did use a washcloth and clear water from bucket. It helped a lot but still a long ways off. Is there a way that I can make the stripe clean and bright white again?

NOTE: The reflective strip on these tires are a tape that is added to the tire. I have another bike with different brand tires where they might be painted on.

  • I think they always dull out. You can buy 3m Scotchlite tape and add it to your frame for side reflectivity or apply a coat of reflective paint to the sidewalls, but I don't think anything will restore it properly.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 0:57
  • Go to a place that sells auto soaps and polishes and buy some tire cleaner. Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 4:15
  • (Though one wonders who worries about cleaning the sides of their tires.) Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 4:17
  • Mine are Schwalbe rather than continental but while they don't look perfect after a normal soap & water wash with a bit of a brush they're almost as reflective as new after 3000 miles of commuting. I have been known to use a pressure house on my rims and tyres only but there's no real benefit to it and keeping the high pressure spray away from the bearings means it's more hassle than it's worth.
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 17:20
  • 1
    Soapy water with the rough side of a kitchen sponge did wonders for my tires. Didn't even know they had a reflective stripe before I cleaned them ...
    – linac
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


Hit the tires with a bush and some concentrated soap.
In the dark shine a light on them and you would be surprised how much they shine even if they look dirty.
Once you scuff em up bad then just time for new tires.

  • I ended up using dish soap for this and a old wash cloth. It takes a little bit of scrubbing but the results are acceptable. Not bright white like new, but I have white stripe tires again when done.
    – BPugh
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 12:22

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