Steering Wheel Cleaning Guide [+ Best Products]
Michael Collado is a car buying expert and has been a professional automotive writer since 2009. He’s written about dealership sales, vehicle reviews and comparisons, and service and maintenance for over 100 national automotive dealerships. Previously, Collado was a copywriter at the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day where he worked on brand campaigns for Nissan, ABC Television, Sony PlayStation, and Energizer. His recognition in the ad industry includes awards from Communication Arts and The Clios.
Collado has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Marketing.
Since your hands are on the steering wheel while you are driving, this surface can accumulate a significant amount of grime. Over time, this grime can decay the steering wheel surface.
We've created this handy guide to show you how to clean any type of steering wheel.
Be sure to check out our list of the best steering wheel cleaners for each material.
Table of Contents
- How to Clean a Leather Steering Wheel
- How to Clean a Plastic Steering Wheel
- How to Clean a Synthetic Resin Steering Wheel
- How to Clean a Suede Steering Wheel
- Why It’s Important to Clean Your Steering Wheel
- Best Steering Wheel Cleaners
- 1). Nexgen Interior Cleaner
- 2). Carfidant Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner
- 3). Cadillac Leather Cleaner
- 4). Sonax Upholstery and Alcantara Cleaner
- 5). Adam’s Leather Care Kit
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Clean a Leather Steering Wheel
- Mix a quart of distilled water with liquid soap.
- An alternate mix is a leather disinfectant like Straight Cleaner Formula No. 2.
- Use a soft, damp cloth with the solution, and wring the cloth of all liquid before beginning the cleaning process.
- Wipe down the entire steering wheel in a gentle manner,
- Apply a protective coat of oil to keep your leather steering wheel.
- Use a leather conditioner that has sunscreen.
- Buff any remaining cleaner away using a microfiber cloth.
How to Clean a Natural Wood Steering Wheel
- Wipe your steering wheel clean with a dry cloth.
- Ensure that all leftover residue is removed by using a second cloth.
How to Clean a Plastic Steering Wheel
- Spray an all-purpose cleaner directly onto your microfiber car cloth.
- Gently wipe around the steering wheel, ensuring that you do not rub too hard and cause any damage to the plastic.
- Remove any residue with a second microfibre cloth.
How to Clean a Synthetic Resin Steering Wheel
- Spray all-purpose cleaner directly onto your microfiber car cloth.
- Gently wipe the microfiber cloth all around the steering wheel. Be sure to get the back of the wheel and any other hidden surfaces.
- Remove any excess residue with a second microfibre cloth.
How to Clean a Suede Steering Wheel
- Clean your steering wheel with a suede brush.
- Run the rubber bristles back and forth across the top of the wheel.
- Brush the backside of the wheel when you brush the front.
- Work your way around the wheel to cover every side
- Use a steel brush to gently pull the nap back up for a cleaner look.
Why It’s Important to Clean Your Steering Wheel
It is important to clean your steering wheel to ensure a better grip. Also, cleaning your steering wheel can help reduce the spread of germs or lower the chances of illness.
Finally, regularly cleaning your steering wheel can help keep your interior looking better. This may help increase the resale value of your vehicle.
Best Steering Wheel Cleaners
1). Nexgen Interior Cleaner
Best for interior surfaces
The Nexgen interior car cleaner is an excellent value and ideal for plastic and vinyl steering wheels. You can use this cleaner for the steering wheel as well as hard and soft-touch surfaces on the interior of a vehicle.
2). Carfidant Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner
Best overall value
If you are looking for a high-quality interior cleaner for almost all types of steering wheels, then Carfident Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner is an ideal choice. This is the type of cleaner that will work for a variety of surfaces.
3). Cadillac Leather Cleaner
Best for leather steering wheels
Cadillac Leather Cleaner is considered one of the best high-end cleaners. That is because the formula is gentle enough for most leather surfaces. The cleaner leaves an excellent shine level while also maintaining a good grip on the leather grain.
4). Sonax Upholstery and Alcantara Cleaner
Best for suede steering wheels
There are not many cleaners that are ideal for suede steering wheels. However, Sonax Upholstery and Alcantara Cleaner are notable exceptions. This cleaner can get into the unique surface of the suede without compromising the texture.
5). Adam’s Leather Care Kit
If you are looking for an affordable leather cleaner for your steering wheel, then Adam’s Leather Care Kit is going to be a smart choice. The cleaner can protect the leather while also maintaining the surface luster.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean mold from my steering wheel?
White vinegar contains acids that can destroy mold on a steering wheel. However, white vinegar is not recommended for a leather steering wheel. If you have mold on your leather steering wheel, be sure to use a leather cleaner. You may have to do several cleanings to remove all the mold.
Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean the steering wheel?
You can use isopropyl alcohol that is 70% or higher to wipe down your steering wheel. This can help kill bacteria and keep the steering wheel clean while protecting the surface.
Is vinegar safe for leather steering wheels?
Vinegar is not recommended for leather steering wheels because the acids in the vinegar can damage the leather finish. It is best to use a leather steering wheel cleaner.
What is the best steering wheel cleaner?
Carfidant Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner is the best steering wheel cleaner for a variety of different types of wheels.