White letter tires have been there for as long as we can remember. Some car owners find them attractive and others don’t.
Irrespective of what you think of white letter tires, one thing we can all agree on is that keeping the white letters clean isn’t easy. It’s even harder to do so if you are an off-road enthusiast or happen to drive mostly in remote areas.
Even though maintaining the pristine white letters is difficult, there are a couple of ways on how you can ensure they are always clean.
The methods below work differently and for you to find the one that suits you the best, you should familiarize yourself with all of them so that you can make an informed decision.
When it comes to cleaning white letter tires, the trial and error method works perfectly till you find the one that is right for you.
So don’t hesitate to use any of the methods recommended below. Enough about that let’s look at how you can clean white letter tires.
Table of Contents
- (But First) Know that Your Choice of Cleaning Products Matters
- How Do I Clean White Letter Tires?
- Step 1 – Get your hands on a wheel cleaning product
- Step 2 – Always start with the tires
- Step 3 – Wet the wheels with some water
- Step 4 – Apply and spread the wheel cleaner
- Step 5 – Start scrubbing
- Step 6 – Rinse and repeat the above two processes if the white letters are still dirty
- Step 7 – Move to the rest of the tires and finish up by washing the entire car
- Why Do White Letters Turn Brown?
- Does Dressing the Tire Help Maintain the White Letters?
- What is the Best Cleaner to Use on White Letter Tires?
- What Type of Brush Should I Use to Clean White Letter Tires?
- Can I Use Steel Wool?
(But First) Know that Your Choice of Cleaning Products Matters
When hunting for the ideal cleaner for white letter tires, it is easy for one to be tempted into using harsh chemicals. These are often quite effective and don’t require a lot of elbow grease.
The problem with strong chemicals is that in the process of removing the dirt from the white letters, they eat through the rubber and this can lead to cracking or dry rot.
As a result, your white letter tires lose their aesthetic appeal and you will be endangering your safety when driving.
As you shop for a white letter tire cleaner, opt for gentle cleaners as they are strong enough to remove, dirt, oil, or grease without eating through the tire and putting your safety at risk.
Other than the cleaning products, the tools also matter a lot. Use a soft brush when scrubbing the white letters and water to rinse off the cleaner and dirt residue.
How Do I Clean White Letter Tires?
Step 1 – Get your hands on a wheel cleaning product
Without a wheel cleaner, getting those letters white from brown is going to be impossible. This is why the first and most important step is to identify a suitable cleaner.
The product used shouldn’t be too strong that it can damage rubber and neither should it be too light that it can’t remove stubborn dirt and grease.
While shopping for a wheel cleaner, invest in a soft wheel brush. Scrubbing is also a key process. Never use a wheel cleaner directly before performing a spot test.
Step 2 – Always start with the tires
It’s still unclear why people always wash the wheels last? The tires are often the dirtiest part of the vehicle because they make direct contact with the ground.
When you finish with the wheels, most of the time you end splattering dirt on the other car parts. So, always start with the wheels.
Step 3 – Wet the wheels with some water
If you have a pressure washer then cleaning the white letter tires should be easier, as the pressure removes dirt from the surface.
Wetting the wheels loosens up dirt, grime, and stains that are on the white letters. It prepares these contaminants for the wheel cleaner.
Step 4 – Apply and spread the wheel cleaner
Pick your wheel cleaner and spread it on the white letters. Some people start scrubbing right away, however, giving it a minute or two will let the ingredients settle which helps loosen the dirt stains.
Step 5 – Start scrubbing
Remember when we mentioned the importance of a soft brush. Scrub the contents of the wheel cleaner with a soft brush.
You can also use a scrubbing pad or sponge. You may need a lot of elbow grease depending on how dirty the white letters are. However, do not be so rough as you may wear out the rubber on the wheels.
Step 6 – Rinse and repeat the above two processes if the white letters are still dirty
It’s not always when the white letters will become clean after scrubbing them in the first attempt.
If they were too dirty, you will have to spread more wheel cleaner and scrub it even harder using a brush or pad. Therefore, you can always repeat this step.
Step 7 – Move to the rest of the tires and finish up by washing the entire car
You can dress the tires after drying them using a microfiber cloth. This ensures your wheels retain their deep dark look and prevent UV discoloration.
Why Do White Letters Turn Brown?
It isn’t an unusual occurrence for white letters on tires to turn brown. This happens frequently especially during the rainy season when there is a lot of mud.
There are two main reasons why white letters turn brown, one is because of stains and the other is due to oxidation from the air. In the white rubber letters, manufacturers often add a layer of wax which gives the letters their color.
Does Dressing the Tire Help Maintain the White Letters?
Investing in a tire gel ensures that white letters and the tire, in general, look clean and shiny. Therefore, as you buy a cleaner for your tires, look for a tire gel that will help you dress it.
What is the Best Cleaner to Use on White Letter Tires?
You are already familiar with how to clean white letter tires and you are aware of the reasons why your white letters turn brown. But, what cleaner should you use?
A tire cleaner will get the job done, but there are other types of cleaners that you can use and still get pleasant results. Here is a list of the best cleaners you can use on white letter tires.
Made using steel wool which is saturated with soap, SOS pads are the best cleaners you can use on white letter tires. They are popular amongst DIY car detailers because they are very effective.
No matter how dirty or brown your white letter tires are, they will be no match for SOS pads. For decades, SOS cleaners have been used to restore the white letter tires.
Unlike other cleaning tools, this one doesn’t need a lot of elbow grease and gets the job done in a short duration.
Ordinary soap and water
For white letter tires that have some mild staining, ordinary soap and water will always be enough to give your letters a bright white finish.
A lot of people do not like using ordinary soap because it isn’t very strong and needs a lot of elbow grease when you are working on a white letter tire that is very dirty.
This is another popular kitchen cleaning product that found its way into the auto industry. Simple green is a strong cleaning agent that can help you get rid of the brown stains on your white letter tires.
On its own, it may not work perfectly that’s why you will need to use a soft brush to scrub the letters.
Bleaching products have been known to have a tremendous effect in cleaning surfaces. Some people use Wesley’s bleach to clean the white letter tires and it works exceptionally.
The problem is that rubber can be discolored by bleaching agents. Therefore extended use will make the tires lose their rich dark look.
This is also the same outcome you will get when you use bleaching paste. If you must use Wesley’s bleach, rinse it off as soon as possible so that the bleach doesn’t settle on the tire.
If you are worried about the impacts of bleach on rubber, then sandpaper is your next best alternative.
Using fine sandpaper, you can glide it over the white letters, and in the process, it will remove the brown layer and reveal a bright white color.
Be very careful with sandpaper because if you scrub too hard, you will wear the rubber in the process. We recommend the use of fine sandpaper when your white letters are super dirty or the stains are very stubborn.
What Type of Brush Should I Use to Clean White Letter Tires?
A soft brush always does a good job of cleaning white letter tires. You may be tempted to use a brush with hard thistles because it is more abrasive.
Remember, rubber is very soft and the harder the brush, the sooner you will wear the white letters.
A soft brush works just fine and you won’t need to use a lot of energy or effort, especially if you pair it up with a cleaner such as the ones mentioned above.
Can I Use Steel Wool?
There isn’t that big of a difference between ordinary steel wool and SOS pads. Therefore, if you have some laying around, you can use them to clean white letter tires.
Some people also use rags to rub against the white letter tires. Feel free to be creative with the cleaners and tools that you can use on your white letter tires.
As you do that, evaluate the impact these cleaners or tools will have. For instance, keep off harsh chemicals as they will damage the rubber on your tires.