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How to Clean a Steering Wheel – A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Car Care Tips
  • Samuel Green
  • 8 minutes

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If you don’t clean your steering wheel regularly, it can turn into a haven for dirt, grime, bacteria, and other contaminants over time. Cleaning your car’s steering wheel is no biggie. The right equipment, proper techniques, and elbow grease can help your steering wheel shine again. Here’s our ultimate guide on how to clean a steering wheel. Keep reading to know more.   

How to clean a steering wheel   

Things you’ll need  

  • Cleaning solution  
  • Water  
  • Microfiber cloths  
  • Soft interior brush or toothbrush   
  • Steam machine   

Step 1   

Choose the cleaning solution based on your steering wheel material. Car steering is made of different materials like faux leather, plastic, wooden, etc. Therefore, remember to check the steering wheel material before using the product on them. Using improper cleaning products can cause damage to the steering wheel and ruin its look.  

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Suppose your steering wheel is made of plastic or faux leather use an all-purpose cleaner. Use a wood polish if it’s made of wooden materials. And for original leather, use a leather cleaner or conditioner. Check the owner’s manual if you’re unsure of your car’s steering wheel material.   

Step 2    

Now spray the cleaning solution onto the microfiber cloth. Spraying the cleaning solution directly onto the steering wheel is not a great idea since it can get trapped behind the wheels on the dashboard.   

How to clean a steering wheel - man cleaning a steering wheel

Step 3  

Next, place the towel on the wheel and begin the cleaning process. Turn the towel in 360 degrees to clean all the sides of the wheel. Make sure you cover the entire circumference of the wheel.

If you notice any noticeable dirt and grime on the steering wheel, scrub and remove it. Remember not to apply a lot of pressure while cleaning as it can damage the material’s color. Also, remember to clean the center of the wheel.  

Step 4  

The steps mentioned above can help lift off light dirt on the steering wheel. To remove deeply embedded dirt and dust, you need to clean it more thoroughly. You will require a cleaner and a soft interior brush or a toothbrush for this step.   

Spray the cleaning solution onto the brush and begin cleaning the wheel. Scrub in small circles till it starts to bubble. After getting rid of the dirt, remove the cleaner with a damp cloth. Repeat the same step till you cover the wheel.   

Step 5  

Wet a clean cloth. If there’s excess water, wring it out. Using the wet cloth revisit the cleaned areas. The goal is to remove any remaining dirt and cleaner. If you run out of cleaning cloths, you can use paper towels too.  

Step 6   

Using a microfiber towel, now dry the steering wheel. Don’t let the cleaner stay longer on the wheel. As soon as you wipe the steering wheel with water, use the microfiber towel to remove it.  

Step 7   

This is an optional step. You can follow this if you have access to a steam machine. First, fill the steam machine with distilled water and turn it on. Use a single-hole nozzle to spray the steering wheel and wipe off the dirt with a microfiber towel. In this method, you can kill any bacteria present in the wheel and remove other dirt.  

What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for leather, and how to use it?  

The Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner & Conditioner kit is one of the best steering wheel cleaners for leather. The product can help maintain your leather steering wheel’s look and feel. The kit contains a cleaner that can effectively lift the dirt, grime, and other contaminants off the steering wheel. And the conditioner can make your leather smooth and sleek.

The cleaning process is pretty straightforward. First, spray the cleaner onto a brush with a gentle bristle like the horsehair brush. Next, scrub and clean the dirt on your wheels. Once you’ve finished cleaning, wipe the wheel with a microfiber towel.  

The product can be used on all types of leather surfaces and should cost you $24.99 on Chemical Guys website. 

What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for faux leather, and how to use it?  

The TriNova Leatherette, Vinyl, and Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner is the best steering wheel cleaner for faux leather. It can effortlessly remove the dirt and grime from your steering wheel and make it look shiny again. Also, the two-in-one product can prevent any cracking and fading due to continuous use.  

 You can buy this product on Amazon for $15.97. First, shake the bottle and spray it onto an applicator or microfiber towel to clean the steering wheel effectively. Then, clean the steering wheel in circular motions and allow the wheel to dry for 35-35 minutes. Next, using a dry cloth, buff the surface. Finally, clean your faux leather once a month using this product to maintain it. 

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What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for plastic, and how to use it?  

Meguair’s Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner Spray is the best for plastic steering wheels. The product is great on vinyl, rubber, metal, and leather. To clean, spray the product on the wheel and wipe it off with a microfiber towel. It’s very effective and does not leave a greasy appearance or feel. What’s more, the product contains sun-blocking agents to prevent fading. 

What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for synthetic resins, and how to use it?  

If you’re looking to clean your steering wheel made of synthetic resins, try using the Mr. Pink Super Suds Superior Surface Cleaner Car Wash Shampoo. The car wash shampoo can perfectly remove contaminants from your synthetic resin steering wheel.  

The product comes in four sizes: 4 OZ, 16 OZ, 64 OZ, and 1 gallon. Depending on the size, it can cost you $3.49 to $24.99.  

Mix the solution with water and dilute it. Next, rinse the steering wheel with the mixed solution and wipe it down with a wash mitt. Lastly, rinse with water to remove the suds and dry them with a microfiber towel.

What’s the best cleaner for microfiber steering wheels?  

Microfiber steering wheels are often challenging to clean, and this is where ForceField Fabric Cleaner can help you. The ForceField Fabric cleaner can effectively clean the deeply embedded dirt and tough stains. The product will also repel dirt and grime and prevent re-soiling.  

Spray the cleaner directly on the desired spot. Allow the cleaner to sit for 5-6 minutes and blot to remove the stain. Use a soft brush to clean if the stain is too stubborn. The product costs $14.30 on Amazon. 

What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for suede?  

Suede is a delicate steering wheel fabric, and you don’t want to ruin it by using the wrong product. Also, all suede is not colorfast, and they can vary by strength, which means you can do more damage if you pick the wrong one.  

We recommend using vinegar, and it’s an excellent option. Use a soft cloth, add an optimal amount of vinegar, and gently scrub the wheel. To remove loose debris, use a dry brush.  

What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for Alcantara, and how to use it?  

Alcantara steering wheels are soft, durable, and provide great grip and comfort. So it’s best to invest in a specialized cleaning product. The best steering wheel cleaner for Alcantara is SONAX Upholstery & Alcantara Cleaner is one of the best products. It can bring back your Alcantara’s color, look and feel.  

To use the product, shake the bottle of cleaner. Moisten the soiled area. Next, apply the foam to the soiled area and rub using a brush. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and rub again using a damp cloth. Allow it to dry afterward.  

How to clean a steering wheel

What’s the best steering wheel cleaner for wood, and how to use it?  

The best product to clean your classic wood steering wheel is The Original Bee’s Wax Furniture Polish. It can help maintain the wood’s beauty and protect it from various contaminants. The products can be used on marble, glass, stainless steel, granite, and mirrors. Also, the product does not leave any fingerprints or wax build-up over time.  

What’s the best overall steering wheel cleaner?  

The best overall steering wheel cleaner is Car Guys Detailing Super Cleaner. From genuine leather to vinyl, this product can be used to clean a variety of steering wheel materials effectively. 

Before starting the cleaning process, shake the bottle gently. Next, spray the product onto a cloth and wipe down the steering wheel.  

The Car Guys Detailing Super Cleaner is a multiuse cleaner that can be used to clean your car’s upholstery, seats, dashboard, and other surfaces. The product is available on Amazon for $16.99.  

How to clean a sticky steering wheel?  

A sticky steering wheel can ruin your driving experience and distract you while driving. To clean sticky steering, try using the Goo Gone Original. Apply the product to the steering wheel. Let sit for 8-10 minutes, wipe it down, and wash using hot soapy water. 

How to clean a steering wheel – Top tips you can use 

  • Clean your car’s steering at least once a month.
  • Remember to add your steering wheel to the interior cleaning checklist.  
  • While cleaning the car’s interior, wear protective gear like gloves and goggles since you’ll be dealing with solutions containing chemicals.  
  • Choose the right product based on your steering wheel material.  
  • Don’t scrub the steering wheel roughly. Instead, be gentle while cleaning it.  
  • Use the right amount of cleaner. Don’t overspray it.  

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