How To Clean Leather Steering Wheel

Despite a visible part of the car, steering wheels used every time you drive your car tend to be neglected carelessly and become cracked, peeled and lose the smooth and soft supple. Therefore, steering wheels are considered as one of the easiest parts of the car to get dirty.


​Dirty hands, bacteria, body oils, sweats, or hand lotions are the enemy of the steering wheel and make it as the dirtiest place in your car. Love it or not, you need know how to clean leather steering wheels properly and enjoy journeys with your caring wheels.

Steering wheels are the part of the steering system manipulated by the driver. In the market, there are many different materials of steering wheels and leather seems to be most popular and most preferable due to its durability and fine look. However, when the steering wheels get dirty, leather steering wheels turn out to be the most difficult one to clean and require much of care and love.​

When your leather steering wheels get accumulated grime and look very old, you might think about the idea to buy a new one. Why don’t you take into consideration of cleaning an existing steering wheel as its cost is much less than purchasing a new one?​

The process is very simple and time-saving and takes little skills so everyone can start with some leather cleaner products, towels, and some other basic supplies which are all available in your house. By taking these cleaning steps, you can make up a fabulous and aesthetical look to your current leather steering wheel.​

These five steps will surely make you happy and satisfied with what you will see after that.​

What To Prepare​

Before getting started, there are couples of things to take in mind for the proper preparation of the cleaning process to the leather steering wheel. For each of five below steps, there will be different requirement of materials accordingly, however; we can conclude some key notes to remember.​

The what-to-prepare list includes the cleaning liquid that is specialized for leather material with some recommended brands such as Turtle Wax Leather Cleaner, Astonish Car Care, etc, sprayer, brush, dry and soft cloth or tower or microfiber type, etc. Furthermore, you also need to make yourself ready with newspaper, tarp, water, gloves, and masking tape and so on.​

Step By Step Guide To Clean Leather Steering Wheel

Step 1: Take the Preparation for Work Area​

Put down plentiful newspaper or a big tarp to prepare for the work area with the purpose to protect wheel surfaces from stains, spills, and solvents. It is important to have some proper ventilation when dealing with leather refurbishing items, so it’s ideal to proceed outside for better ventilation.​

Step 2: Get the Wheels and Supplies Ready​

Always remember to remove the steering wheel from the car. Attempting to work with the wheels still attached to the car can cause some unexpected harms to other parts inside the car. Take the leather outside can be the best option for it to dry fully between each step.​

To accelerate the cleaning process, necessary cleaning supplies are needed including pads, leather brushes, soft towels or cloths, vinyl gloves, detergent, conditioner, spray gun, water, etc.

In the meantime, do not forget to prepare the newspaper and masking tape to keep the steering wheel center safe.​

Step 3: Remove Dirt and Grime From the Wheels​


​To remove the dirt and grime from the steering wheels, it is recommended to use a spray and a dry soft towel or cloth. Firstly, make a quick spraying shot of the interior cleaner onto the towel for cleaning the steering wheel completely. Avoid spraying the cleaner directly on the wheel.

If the wheels are directly overspread, the buster and clear plastic parts can be hit. This is the reason causing to the difficulty of cleaning the wheels. Try to keep gripping the towel and the wheel and twisting back and forth for times to make sure the dirt and grime are removed.​

Regarding steering cleaned with less frequency, you can use a comfy brush for interiors instead of a towel. Spray the interior cleaner onto the brush and agitate the wheel area. The final step is to wipe the leather with a dry and clean microfiber towel immediately.​

For heavy debris that is difficult to be removed, directly shot the interior cleaner spray onto the scrub pad before slightly clean off the wheel properly. At first, gently press the pad to avoid the color being peeled off from the wheel. After that, immediately use a soft cloth to wipe the area quickly before it becomes dry.​

Remember to protect any plastics parts and the middle of steering by wrapping with newspaper and securing with covering tape. It is to prevent the plastic parts from colors and chemicals of any detergents used for cleaning the leather.​

Step 4: Replenish the Leather Softness​


​The next step is to maintain the softness, flexibility and durable feeling of the leather wheels by replenishing the oils in the leather with a leather conditioner. The best tool/material is your bare hands to apply conditioner to the wheels.

Get a dime-sized amount of conditioner into the hand palm, and then softly massage it into the leather for a few minutes. Keep the oils in the conditioner to be absorbed into the leather for about 30 minutes before removing with a dry and clean towel.​

Step 5: Finish​

Apply the leather finisher as the last layer of cleaning the steering wheels process to protect and seal the finish. Do not overspray the finisher; it is ideal to spray two or three thin layers and wait for it dry between coats. This final step enhances the lasting protection for the wheels and produces a great like-new finish.​

Sometimes, if you want to get a totally new coat for the steering wheels, you can try to apply the spray color. Take the paint sprayer and spray on the leather surface evenly of about three layers to get the ample coverage.​

Quick Notes​

​The frequency of doing the leather steering wheel clean can vary depending on the frequency of uses of your car and the environment in your area. Ideally, you should always prepare a clean and dry towel in the car to do a simple daily wipe to prevent your sweat or oils from the wheels.

Try to make cleaning your steering wheel a regular habit even though it is not a leather one. As always being used, the steering wheel is quite sensitive to the external environment, especially the sun damage. By frequently cleaning the wheel, you can prevent dirt from getting a chance to build up and becoming grime.

This good habit can not only provide a great look but also help you feel comfortable and safe while driving. Some leather conditioning products can sometimes make the leather steering wheel slippery for several hours, which might cause the driving unsafely accordingly.​

Finally, knowing how to clean leather steering wheel properly with simple steps will help you enjoy the best of your driving with a comfortable and clean steering wheel.​


Anthony Ebden

He's an auto blogger. He worked as an auto mechanic for more than 5 years and his mission is to provide our readers with the best car maintenance tips, DIY guides and the most updated trends in the automotive industry.

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