If your car has white letter tires, you know how hard it is to maintain that white color. White-letter tires catch dirt and stain very easily making your car look unflattering and outdated. To bring back the shine of your tires, you need to know how to clean white letters on tires.
Luckily, there are a few products available on the market today for removing the dirt and stains from the white letters. While the most popular technique is to use SOS pads, there are some bottled cleaning solutions and bleaching agents that work just fine.
Here we will tell you various methods of cleaning your white letter tires so that you can whiten your tires without damaging the rims. Let’s dive in.
Methods of Cleaning the White Letters on Tires
Below we have listed the most common and easiest methods of removing the dirt and stains from white letter tires. Go through the procedures and pick one that you find the most convenient.
Method One – Use SOS Pads
This is a popular product for removing the brown layer from the white letter tires. By using the SOS pads, you can bring back around 85% of the whiteness. You can use this abrasive cleaning pad to reach all the corners of the tires and collect the dirt from those hard-to-reach areas.
Here’s how to use the SOS pads-
Step 1) Get a packet of SOS pads from your nearby store. You can also purchase one online.
Step 2) Do the basic cleaning for removing the dust from your tires. Use your regular car washing detergent or soap to remove the dust and dirt from your tire’s sidewalls and around the rims. By doing the basic cleaning you will only be able to clean the regular dirt and minor stains.
Step 3) Now unpack the SOS pads and take one to scrub the dirty parts of the sidewall. The pads are a very powerful combination of steel wool and soap that can easily remove tough messes.
Therefore, you don’t have to use any extra soap or other solutions to remove the dirt. As you scrub, you’ll notice the brown color is vanishing slowly exposing the real white color of the tires.
Step 4) When you’re done cleaning all the corners, use plain water and wash off the remaining soap from the tire to complete the process.
Method Two – Bleach Your Tires
Are your white letter tires turning brown? Then bleaching the tires can be the best way to restore the white color. As we all know, bleach is commonly used to whiten and sterilize various materials. Bleach is basically a chemical featuring hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite.
If using SOS pads or other solvents doesn’t do the work for your tires, you can use bleach to whiten your tire’s sidewall. Keep in mind that, this chemical is very strong and can be harsh on the materials of your tire.
Hence, it’s not recommended to use bleach on a regular basis. Here’s how you can use bleach to keep your white letter tires from turning brown-
Step 1) Purchase a good-quality bleach in spray form and do an initial wash to make sure that your tires are clean. Also, the bleach will only whiten the tires instead of cleaning them thoroughly. So, use a scrubber to remove the dirt from the corners.
Step 2) Apply the bleach spray on the letters and the stained areas. When you’re done, let the product sit and wait for ten minutes.
Step 3) Use a standard pad of carwash cloth to rub the area and clean it properly. After that, use your hose pipe to wash the tires thoroughly. Reapply the product until the brown layer is fully eradicated.
Method Three – Use A Cleaning Solution
Many people have found using a cleaning solution or solvent a far more effective and quicker method of removing the dirty brown layer from the white letters on tires. However, since such solutions contain many compound chemicals, some car owners often hesitate to use these solutions.
So, check out the ingredient list and customer reviews before purchasing a cleaning agent. Otherwise, the rims of your tires might deteriorate due to chemical reactions. Here’s how you can use a cleaning solution-
Step 1) Take a regular pad or carwash towel for applying the solution. Start the cleaning process by wetting the pads and tires using your water hose.
Step 2) Apply the cleaning solution of your choice. WD40 is a reliable cleaning solvent that won’t do any harm to any parts of your tires. If the solvent is in a spray form, apply it directly to your tires while they are still wet.
As for the liquid cleaners, you need to pour the solution into a bucket and mix it well with water. Check out the directions on the container for knowing the exact amount of water you should mix.
Step 3) Soak the cleaning pad or towel in the solution and start scrubbing the tires thoroughly. You might have to put some extra effort into cleaning the white letters. A toothbrush-style brush can be very helpful in this process.
Mostly, the effectiveness of your cleaning will depend on the strength of the solution, and how intensely and how long you scrub the tires.
Step 4) Wash the tires every two minutes and check out the progress. Reapply the solution and keep repeating the scrubbing process until you’re satisfied with the cleaning.
Step 5) When you’re done, use your water hose to thoroughly wash away the remaining solution.
Method Four – Scrub with Fine Sandpaper
Even after you try all the techniques to clean the white letter tires, some areas remain yellowed no matter how intensely you clean them. In such cases, sandpapers can do magic!
While the process of manually using sandpaper can be painful, many car owners prefer this method over others as no harmful chemicals are involved in this process. Here’s the process of sanding white letter tires-
Step 1) purchase a piece of 400 grit sandpaper. As you might know, sandpapers won’t cost you much.
Step 2) Wash your tires properly to clean off the dust. Now rub the sandpaper against the letters to clear the brown layer. You can use a sander for this job. Otherwise, simply use your hands to easily reach all the parts.
Step 3) After you have removed all the dirt, yellowness, and stains, use some water to complete the cleaning process.
Method Five – Brush with Your Toothpaste & Toothbrush
This home remedy for cleaning white wall tires has worked for many people to some extent. You can use this method for cleaning the minor dirt and marks. Grab your old toothbrush and follow the steps given below-
Step 1) Do an initial cleaning using water and soap. Then apply your toothpaste to the old toothbrush.
Step 2) Brush the letters like you brush your own teeth while targeting the dirty areas. You might have to put some extra effort to remove the stubborn stains.
Step 3) When you achieve your desired results, wash the tires with plain water.
White-letter tires turn brown for a few reasons. Mostly, the reason is lack of proper maintenance and cleaning. When you skip regular cleaning, dust and stains start accumulating on the white letters. Also, the material of the tire plays an important in creating the brown layer.
Antizonants elements are used in the rubber tires to prevent them from drying or cracking. Sometimes these elements are released from the tire and react with oxygen. This reaction creates a brown residue that is left behind on the tire’s sidewall.
If you want to do the cleaning manually SOS pads are easily the best choice. WD40 spray solution, Cycle Care formulas for whitewall, and Green all wheel & tire cleaner are some of the most reliable chemical solvents. Instead of compound chemicals, you can also use toothpaste or baking soda to clean the dirt, oil, and other marks.
Yes, some magic erasers do work well on white wall tires. In fact, cleaning white wall tires with magic erasers is an easier and much quicker way in comparison to other products.
You just have to apply the magic eraser on the tires and scrub the area with a regular carwash towel. And the white letters on your tires will sparkle like never before.
That was pretty much everything on how to clean white letters on tires. We have covered the most effective methods of cleaning the tires and bringing back their shine.
For quick cleaning, simply use a strong cleaning solution. If you want to whiten the tire’s sidewalls, bleach them for the best results.
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Ed Walker is an automotive cleaning expert with extensive automotive cleaning skills. I have been working in automotive cleaning plants with perfection for the past decade. In addition, I own my cleaning workshop, where we wash away firm dirt and grease out of vehicles and turn them into new ones. Sharing cleaning tips for automotive is my passion.