The way your tires look can change up the whole vibe of your vehicle. Your car’s body could be spotless, but coupled with dirty tires, it’d still look unflattering, outdated, and probably cheap.
This only gets worse if you have white letter tires or whitewall tires, the keyword here being “white”. With such tires, any discoloration or staining will simply give your ride a bad appearance and portray you as someone who doesn’t know how to take care of a car.
If you’re wondering how to clean white letter tires effectively, keep reading to learn about various techniques and tips to bring back the shine.
The Short Answer
Cleaning your white letter tires is a process that involves a few steps:
1. Buying a quality, specialized tire cleaner and investing time in giving them a thorough scrubbing with a smaller, toothbrush-style brush.
2. Using a coarse cleaning pad to scrub the tires and white letters thoroughly.
3. Apply baking soda or bleaching cleaners, or use erasing cleaning pads to de-stain the letters. You may also have to sand them if the yellowing is too stubborn to clean.
4. Don’t use substances recommended for cleaning brakes without taking tires off since they are to remove stains from metal surfaces and get rust off tire rims. Though some of them are even used to remove tire marks from concrete.
After that, you’ll need to maintain your tires by cleaning them at least once every couple of weeks, using a tire dressing for protection against UV rays, and making sure they’re stored in ample space.
How to Clean White Letter Tires
The process of cleaning white letter tires consists of two major steps: basic cleaning and whitening. Let’s take a closer look at how you can get the job done.
1. Do a Basic Clean Cleaning
A basic cleaning session may be all that your tires need to go back to having neat white letters.
Use a specialized cleaner, a cleaning pad, and a hose to give your tires a basic cleaning. You can easily find one within your budget in the automotive department of a hardware store.
- Although regular cleaners work well for removing dirt and stains from the tires, being non-specialized can result in fast wear. For the same reason, you should also avoid using cleaning products that use chlorine bleach or alcohol.
1. Start the cleaning job by generously wetting the tires and pad with your water hose.
2. Next, apply the tire cleaning product of choice. If it’s a spray form, it should go directly onto your tires while they’re wet. If it’s in liquid form, pour the product into a bucket, add water and mix well. You should be able to find directions for mixing on the container’s label.
3. Soak your cleaning pad in the solution.
4. Scrub the tires thoroughly with an emphasis on the white letters. Be sure to put plenty of effort into scrubbing your white tires, preferably using a smaller toothbrush-style brush.
In most cases, the effectiveness of the cleaning depends on how long and how intense your scrubbing is, just as much as it relies on the strength of the product used. As such, if the effort work is beyond your physical capabilities, ask someone to give you a hand.
5. Wash off your tires every couple of minutes as you scrub them to observe the cleaning progress. Reapply the cleaning solution and keep scrubbing/washing until you’re happy with what you see after rinsing.
6. Once you’re done scrubbing your white letter tires clean, wash away the cleaner thoroughly with your hose.
2. Whiten the Letters
If basic cleaning doesn’t do a satisfying job in bringing back your white letters, you may want to focus on specifically whitening the letters. Though here you need be a bit cautious since some substances might remove white paint. We recommend to learn how to remove paint from tires to avoid damages. Here are a few methods you can try:
- Apply baking soda — put some baking soda on a moist sponge or cloth then carefully wipe the white letters in circular movements. After a couple of minutes, wash the tires to observe the results. Repeat the process until you’re happy with the look.
- Use eraser cleaning pads — wet the tires and the pad, then wipe the white letters in circular motions. To achieve the best results, wash the pads with water or use new ones between tires.
- Treat with sandpaper to remove discoloration — if the white letters remain yellowed after serious cleaning, try using fine sandpaper to sand the surface of the white letter. Make sure you go about it slowly until you see a bright white layer appear. After that, hose down your tires.
Tips to Care for White Letter Tires
- Clean your tires at least once every two weeks. This will prevent the white letters from developing stubborn dirt or discoloration.
- Use tire dressing after cleaning to protect the tires from harmful UV rays and give them some shine.
- When storing your white letter tires, you should provide them with enough space so they don’t end up leaning against one another. Otherwise, the black rubber of the tires will rub against the white rubber and smudge it.
There you have it, a complete guide on how to clean white letter tires. If you want more, feel free to check How to Clean Tires and Rims.
As we’ve explained above, you should start with a basic cleaning job to avoid unnecessary treatment with chemicals. All you need to do is put some elbow grease into scrubbing and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results of extra effort.