Steering Wheel Cleaner – Top Tips To Clean A Steering Wheel

Did you ever think of using a steering wheel cleaner to clean dirt, built-up grime, bacteria, and grease? Well, you should since steering wheels easily accumulate your palm’s sweat, dirt, oil, and bacteria with regular use. A dirty and slippery steering wheel does not only mar your driving experience but also may affect steering.

Best Steering Wheel Cleaner

Luckily, you can easily clean it if you have the right tools and the best steering wheel cleaner according to the steering type. Make steering wheel cleaning a part of your car maintenance, and your vehicle’s interior will look new for a long time.

steering wheel cleaner
Image credit: Flickr

Why It’s Crucial to Clean Your Steering Wheel?

You should always make it a habit to clean your steering wheel regularly, regardless of its type. The reason is the constant use of the steering wheel that is sensitive to various elements, particularly sun and grime. Regular cleaning will avert dirt buildup and premature wear off.
The second reason to use a steering wheel cleaner is its health benefits. A clean steering wheel means it is highly unlikely to get infected with germs.

If you want your vehicle’s interior to look brand-new for a long time, make it a habit to clean the steering twice a month or at least once a month. In case your car steering wheel shakes while driving, you should check out this guide to fix the issue.

How to Clean Your Steering Wheel?

Before you pick your steering wheel cleaner, you should know the material your car manufacturer has used to make the steering. Most of the vehicles feature faux leather material, but yours likely have a plastic, wooden, synthetic resin, or genuine leather steering wheel. If you are unsure, we suggest you check your vehicle’s owner manual to find the material used and know the best practices to clean your steering wheel. If you do not have the manual, you can check your vehicle’s brochure online.

Bear in mind that polyurethane material looks and nearly feels like genuine leather, so knowing the exact material is vital in tackling the cleaning adequately. In case your vehicle has a leather steering wheel, you may feel a slippery grip after using a conditioning product on it. It can stay like that for a few hours, and if you have to drive, it can compromise the handling. It is wise to let the conditioner dry, but if you have to drive soon after conditioning, buff the wheel with a clean towel.

How To Clean Hard Plastic Steering Wheel?

Cleaning a hard plastic steering wheel is straightforward, requiring you to use a soap or a dishwashing/water mixture. Depending on the dirt buildup, you can employ a brush, dish sponge, or a rough towel. Soak the sponge or towel in the cleaning solution and scrub the wheel, ensuring you don’t drip water all over the place.

Besides, you can use a spray machine to spread the cleaning solution on the dirty parts. However, make sure you do not overspray; otherwise, you can damage the surrounding sections, such as the delicate upholstery, by leaving them damp. Use a towel to dry the cleaning liquid completely.

Afterward, open the car windows for air circulation. It will hasten the drying out process.

How To Clean Leather Steering Wheel?

Cleaning leather steering wheels demands extra care than cleaning up the plastic wheels because leather is a delicate material. Besides, leather is costlier than other materials manufacturers use in steering wheel construction. Therefore, it is essential you know the right way of cleaning a leather steering to prevent damage.

The good news is you can clean it at your home with the right leather steering wheel cleaner and conditioner. Remember, you should never use an all-purpose cleaner for leather; experts only recommend a leather cleaner.

First off, remove all the dirt or grime accumulation by applying the cleaner to the steering wheel. Gently work the towel over the wheel to remove all the dirt. However, ensure not to be over-aggressive with scrubbing and wiping and use a microfiber cloth only to avoid scratches.

Once you are done with the cleaning, employ another clean cloth to eliminate any excessive cleaning solution moisture from the steering wheel. Now, use a leather conditioner to replenish the oils of the leather to retain its soft, flexible feel. Use only a dime-sized conditioner and apply it with your hands only for one to two minutes. Let the conditioner stay on the wheel for 30 minutes so it can absorb well before you remove the excess solution.

If you want to save time and money, you can also get packaged wipes containing both leather steering wheel cleaner and conditioner in them. Furthermore, you can apply coconut oil as a leather conditioner to soften the leather and restore its natural shine. The coconut oil acts as a protective layer for avoiding cracks, scratches, sweat, and other elements.

Some people ask if they can use alcohol to clean a leather steering wheel. Well, they can since leather has a urethane coating and alcohol is a cheap and convenient option. However, it is not the right approach because it can discolor the leather over time and will make the interior look old and worn out.

Other cleaning agents you should not use to clean a leather steering wheel are bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Their abrasive nature will surely harm the leather.

How to Clean A Faux Leather Steering Wheel?

Imitation leather, faux leather, or synthetic leather, whatever you call it, is easy to clean with a regular steering wheel cleaner. However, it is better to use a cleaner made of natural ingredients to prevent damage to this not-so-resilient material.

We recommend making a steering wheel cleaner by mixing white vinegar with essential oils like tea tree oil or rosemary oil.

Once the cleaning solution is ready, apply it on a soft cloth and work it over the steering wheel until all the dust and grease vanish. Afterward, remove any excess moisture with a clean cloth and let the wheel dry naturally to avoid mold and nasty smell.

How to Clean Suede and Alcantara Steering Wheels?

Suede is a porous leather (genuine one) with a soft, peach-like fuzzy, and napped texture that gives a velvety feel. Cars with the suede steering wheel are common these days, especially the racing machines.

On the other hand, Alcantara is a synthetic suede-like material created by mixing polyester and polyamide. While both are different, they look similar due to their texture and feel. That’s why many people fail to distinguish between them.

However, one thing is common between suede and Alcantara; they both are robust and equally absorbent. Both easily soak up grease from your hands and accumulate dust and dirt, dulling the fuzzy texture by gathering and flattening the peachy fuzz.

Yes, these materials give a soft and supple feel, but they are basically quite durable. You can clean them through any steering wheel cleaner created for fabrics. Besides a cleaning solution, you require a brush with slightly stiff bristles and some microfiber towels.

Start by spraying the solution on the wheel and let it sit there for some time so that it can break down the grime, dust, and oil accumulation. Also, spray some solution on the brush and mildly scrub the surface in a little, round motion to eradicate the dirt. Clean off through a microfiber cloth and let it dry naturally by opening the car windows.

How To Clean A Synthetic Resin Steering Wheel?

Often mistaken as plastic, synthetic resin is one of the easiest materials to clean. All you need is a mixture of cleaning agents and water in the right amount, along with some clean clothes. Simply follow the steps we explained for cleaning a plastic steering wheel, and you won’t find any trouble. Please avoid the use of any polish on the synthetic resin. It will make the steering wheel slippery, posing trouble in gripping it.

How To Clean Natural Wood Steering Wheels?

A natural wood steering wheel requires lots of care because it can crack if not appropriately maintained. We cannot clean it with a conventional cleaner; instead, we need a good wood polish for cleaning. A steering wheel cleaner for wood will not only remove the dust and oil buildup but will also make it smell nice. It would also guard the steering wheel against direct UV light and harm from sweat and oil.


How to get rid of mold from a steering wheel?

Getting rid of mold from a steering wheel may need dangerous chemicals that could harm interior elements. To protect yourself, we suggest you use these chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Furthermore, ensure to put on defensive gloves to avoid harm to your skin.

How can I remove scratches from a leather steering wheel?

Start by rubbing the leather with a microfiber cloth soaked in white vinegar. The vinegar will cause the cuts “swell,” which is essential to conceal them completely. Once the vinegar penetrates the cuts, the next step is to use a leather dye or leather filler on the steering wheel. Use your fingers to apply it, making sure you cover all the scratches. Finally, rub up the steering wheel with a colorless shoe polish to help shield it against impending cuts. It is prudent to let the dye and conditioner rest for a day for appropriate absorption. In case you cannot wait for a day, give it at least 12 hours before you drive.

Are wipes safe for leather?

In case you do not have a steering wheel cleaner or are in a hurry for cleaning, you may use leather cleaning and conditioning wipes. However, you must be cautious about buying a product made for leather only. Some wipes containing isopropyl alcohol could be good for eliminating dirt and bacteria from plastic and other surfaces, but they are not suitable for leather. Alcohol wipes can take out the leather’s oil, make them dry, and eventually crack.

Can you make a leather steering wheel cleaner at home?

You sure can! You can use several products available at home to make a befitting cleaner for leather. However, we highly recommend using our version of the steering wheel cleaner. You need vinegar and olive oil for this purpose.
First off, pour vinegar and olive oil in equal proportions into a bowl and blend them properly. Now, take a soft towel or microfiber cloth and dip it a little into the solution. Next, apply the wet cloth to the leather and rub it gently all over. Once the solution mixes with dirt and grease to break them down, use a clean cloth to remove the grime

How to cleanse leather?

Since we have to live with the coronavirus, we should make it a habit always to disinfect our car’s interior. We use our vehicles daily for work or business, so we need to clean the leather surfaces regularly. The problem with the leather is that it is harder to clean than other surfaces. You cannot just use any steering wheel cleaner for it. Primarily, you need to avoid alcohol solutions. The most precise method to sanitize the leather steering wheel (other than applying a leather cleaner) is to employ a dishwasher and water solution. Use a microfiber cloth, dip it in the solution, and rub it gently to quickly remove all the grime and oil from the steering wheel.

Which is the best steering wheel cleaner?

We suggest you search the internet for the best steering wheel cleaner according to your wheel type. Our independent research found that CarGuys All Purpose Super Cleaner is the best. It has over 16,000 satisfied customers, and the best part is that you can use it on any surface. Yes, with its advanced nanotechnology, you can clean leather, plastic, and even wood. The other two highly recommended cleaners include Carfidant ultimate leather steering wheel cleaner and Chemical Guys InnerClean.

Top 6 Tips To Clean a steering wheel

1. Go for steering wheel cleaning once a month, minimum.
2. It would be better to include steering wheel cleaning in your interior care checklist.
3. It is wise to wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles while cleansing because the steering wheel cleaners contain harmful chemicals.
4. Decide the product according to your steering wheel material.
5. Try not to scrub the steering wheel; be gentle with it harshly.
6. Do not overuse the product; spray the right amount only.

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Drew Hendricks covers the newest technology and makes it easy to understand. He ghostwrites and creates native advertising for automotive startups as well as major media outlets.