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How to Clean Tires?

While washing your tires and wheels can be an uphill task, it does not need to be complicated. With a few simple steps, you bring back the tire shine and prevent browning along the tread area and the sidewalls. 

Unfortunately, unclean tires are more prone to damage, dry rot, oxidation, stiff tread area, and the like. Regularly cleaning the tires and wheels with good quality products will help prevent such issues.

We have created a list of instructions that provides a step-by-step process of the best tire cleaning method. We recommend using natural products without harsh synthetic ingredients to ensure the tire's longevity. Some cleaning products with hydrocarbon silicone can sit on the tread area and accelerate dry rot and tread damage. 

To prevent this, natural and gentler sprays and dressing are recommended. We hope to make cleaning your tires less of a headache the next time you wash your tires and wheels.

Check out this blog if want to get more tips on how to clean white letters on tires so that they look like new again!

Tire Browning & Blooming

Tires are manufactured with an Antiozonant chemical that helps prevent degradation (splitting, cracking, oxidizing, etc..) from the tire's contact with ozone (a gas that is part of our atmosphere).

Tires are designed to work the antiozonant throughout the rubber to the outside as the tires are rolled across the pavement providing a protective layer against the elements.

Unfortunately, antiozonant quickly oxidizes to a brown colour once in contact with the air. This is the brown film you see on the outside of your tires after prolonged use without cleaning. It's often confused with just being a layer of brake dust on the tire.

The correct term for this discolouration is blooming. Look at other cars tires the next time you're in a parking lot. You'll see this effect on almost all of them.

Sitting Tires and Dry Rotting

Tires that sit (cars that don't move much like your garage cream puff) cannot work the antiozonant to the surface and therefore don't have much protection from the elements (unless you add some).

The tires will quickly break down and begin developing cracks along the sidewall known as dry rotting. These cracks can and will lead to premature failure of the tire. Therefore, this is part of the 5-year recommendation to replace tires.

Step by Step Guide for Cleaning Tires

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Rinse Tires With Water

This is the first step in the tire cleaning process. Clean water will help loosen up the grime stuck to the tires. Next, you can either use a high-pressure hose for extra cleaning power or a sponge to help remove dirt and browning from the tire's area. Be sure not to use harsh bristled brushes, as they can scratch up the tire's surface.

Scrub With Car Shampoo

Car shampoo is gentler than some tire cleaners, and it will help finish the job without issues. These cleaners work by removing the majority of dirt located on the tires. Such products will help you remove sand and mud on the models without scratching up the tire. By scrubbing the shampoo into the tire's surface area, most of the grime will be removed. On regularly maintained tire and wheel combinations, this is enough to wash them completely. Be sure to rinse off the car shampoo before moving to the next step. You could use dish soap as a substitute for vehicle shampoo.

Apply a Tire Cleaner

If the grime is too much for regular car shampoos, you will need to bring out stronger tools as the next step. Still, be sure you choose the least damaging brand, as commercial-grade chemicals can accelerate the tire's oxidation and dry rotting by breaking down its outer layer. However, washing the rubber with specific products will allow you to remove unnoticed grime and oil with a little elbow grease. Next, you need to spray or wipe the cleaner onto the tire and scrub it in with a towel, sponge, or brush. This step will help you remove blooming or browning. No harsh cleaning products should be used on the tire's rubber area, as they will dry out the compound and lead to premature damage.

Tire Shine

Tire shine or tire dressing will bring back the slick, black appearance of car tires. Tire shine does not damage the white paint on white wall tires. Even if some brown parts remain on the tire, it will not be an issue as removing all oxidation is near impossible. The market is flooded with different types of tire dressing available, but the main types are water-based and solvent-based.

Water-Based Tire Shine

Water-based tire shine gives the tire a matte finish, which resembles a new tire. This type of dressing is of a better quality as it absorbs into the tire, with some brands offering a coat of UV protection. This combination prevents the dry rotting, cracking, and stiffening of the tread area. The drawback of water-based shines is their short life span, as they only offer protection for a few weeks.

Solvent-Based Tire Shine

Solvent-based shines to give the tire a plastic-like appearance. They utilize hydrocarbon silicone in their chemical structure, which results in a greasy image and the shine sliding off the tire surface onto the strip and paint. As a result, they tend to last longer than water-based shines. Unfortunately, this type of tire shine can be degrading to tire life.

How to Clean White Wall Tires?

Whitewall car tires can easily get dirty, as the white area is prone to get grimy - just like white clothes do. You can follow the aforementioned steps to clean your tires. However, purchase special whitewall tire cleaning sprays as most are made for black wall tires. Also, do not use harsh sponges or brushes to scrub the paint, as they might leave scratches. If the job you did does not clean the models correctly, you can use baking soda for extra help.

Cleaning White Wall Tires

Whitewall Tire Cleaner

Whitewall tire sprays are manufactured specifically for use on whitewall models. They offer a gentler washing ability and do not use ingredients that could damage the paint on the sidewall while further enhancing the cleaning of the sidewalls.

Baking Soda

To remove the grime from the white wall of the tire, you can use regular baking soda. Place some baking soda onto a damp towel or a gentle sponge and wipe the white wall surface with it in a small, circular motion. Rinse the tire and repeat this process after a few minutes.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Whitewall Tires

Make sure to avoid any dangerous household cleaning products when cleaning your whitewalls models. For example, alcohol or chlorine bleach might be the easy and quick solution on the over-saturated market of tire products, but they will damage the tires in the long run. When you apply such products to the tire, their stronger ingredients will dry out its rubber materials, resulting in a stiff tread area and tread damage.

How Do I Clean White Letter Tires?

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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, you end up splattering dirt on the other car parts most of the time. So, always start with the wheels.

Step 3 – Wet the Wheels With Some Water

If you have a pressure washer, 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 would 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 discolouration.

Frequenlty Asked Questions About Cleaning Tires

It isn't an unusual occurrence for white letters on tires to turn brown. Unfortunately, this frequently happens, especially during the rainy season when there is a lot of mud.

There are two main reasons why white letters turn brown: 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 colour.

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 to help you dress it.

You are already familiar with how to clean white letter tires, and you are aware of 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 satisfying results. Here is a list of the best cleaners you can use on white letter tires.

A soft brush always does a good job of cleaning white letter tires. However, you may be tempted to use a brush with hard thistles because it is more abrasive.

Remember, rubber is very soft, and the harder they 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.

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