Cleaning Whitewall Tires

by Julia Woodbury
(last updated July 24, 2017)

Your best bet for keeping your whitewalls in good condition is to never let them get too dirty. Keep a regular cleaning regimen for your tires, cleaning them at least once every two weeks, or more often if needed.

Rather than using a powerful cleaner once in every while to maintain your tires, try cleaning them more often with water, gentle soap, and a rag. Gently cleaning often will prevent the need to use harsh cleaners that will ultimately shorten the life of your tire. In fact, harsh cleaners may brighten the tire for a short period, but in the end they cause yellowing and cracking. Bleach is one of these harsh cleaners. If you do use bleach, dilute it and don't allow it to sit on the tire too long, it will dry and crack the rubber.

There are dozens of kinds of cleaning materials that have been used to clean white walls. Some of the most common are Westley's Bleach White (available in car stores), Purple Power (available at Wal-Mart), Wide White (made by Coker), Simple Green, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and Scotch-Brite pads. When using these products, be sure to follow the instructions on their labels.

If you would like to use around-the-house items, try using cleaners like Comet, Ajax, 409, or dish soap. To use any of these cleaners, rinse and wipe down the tire first, apply the cleaner, scrub it into the tire with a stiff brush, then rinse and dry with a soft rag.

Keep in mind that while you're cleaning your tire, you may also come into contact with the metal of your car or motorcycle. For this reason you should not use a metal brush or cleaners that will harm the metal.

In some cases you may have whitewalls that have not been maintained very well and that have a stubborn yellow surface. The tire may be permanently stained or yellowed, in which case no amount of cleaning will restore whiteness. To solve this problem you can try gently sanding off the outer layer of the white portion of your tire. This works for aged tires that simply have been stained over time. Sanding should remove the yellowed layer of the tire and expose a brighter layer underneath.

Whether you are cleaning, maintaining, or restoring the white of your whitewalls, the best type of cleaning is consistent and frequent cleaning.

Author Bio

Julia Woodbury

Julia Woodbury is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University. She delights in the written word and has interests in magazine writing and editing. ...

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