Steering Wheel Cleaner (Which To Use)

Regardless of what type of steering wheel you have, we always recommend using a steering wheel cleaner instead of regular cleaning agents to make your steering clean and free from germs!

If you clean your car’s steering wheel, it won’t accumulate germs or dirt! It’ll also make your driving experience more enjoyable by enabling a better grip and making the wheel much easier to spin.

In this article, we will guide you through choosing the right steering wheel cleaner based on what material your vehicle’s sterling is made of.

We also provide you with step-by-step information on properly cleaning your steering wheel to get the best results.

Choosing the Right Steering Wheel Cleaner

Before choosing a steering wheel cleaner for your vehicle, it is important to know what materials your vehicle’s steering is made of, as this will help you make the right choice.

How to Determine What Material Your Steering Wheel Is Made Of

Many materials are used for steering wheels in a vehicle, including plastics, faux leathers, synthetic resins, and natural wood.

Here are different materials your vehicles steering wheel might be made of as it gives you a clear idea of which steering wheel cleaner to use for them

1. Leather Steering Wheel

The most durable and reliable steering wheel leather is nothing short of the highest quality. This type of steering gives you pleasure in vehicle interior design unsurpassed by other steering wheel models.

This leather is waterproof, anti-slip, and offers unbeatable resistance to all weather conditions. Additionally, to prevent self-skin irritation and sweating due to humidity, these steering wheels are made from pigmented leather.

2. Plastic Steering Wheel

Most entry-level cars have a plastic cover over the steering wheel to protect them from dirt, but that can make driving a bit uncomfortable when temperatures touch triple digits.

These plastic steering wheels tend to become extremely HOT during the summer months, so you can use a towel to cover your steering wheel to make it more comfortable when you drive.

3. Natural Wood Steering Wheel

Although wooden steering wheels are not commonly used in modern cars, you can take care of the ones with them by having a wood polish around.

4. Synthetic Resins Steering Wheel

A lot of people are unaware of the fact that plastic and synthetic resin are not the same. It has been found out that both types look similar, but they have more significant differences.

One significant difference between plastic and synthetic resin is their appearance – while the former appears to be transparent and glossy, synthetic resin is opaque and dull-looking.

Although they do not have a significant difference in appearance as far as steering wheels are concerned, they have significantly different qualities. For example, Synthetic resins wheels seem to withstand mechanical forces better than plastics.

5. Polyurethane/Faux-leather Steering Wheel

Polyurethane is the most popular material used to manufacture steering wheels, and it’s also called faux leather or “leatherette” or “vegan” leather.

These steering wheels are made from soft, comfortable leather that can be used in any condition regardless of the season.

Also Read: What is a Serpentine Belt & When Should You Replace It

How to Select the Best Steering Wheel Cleaner

Best Steering Wheel Cleaner
Credits: G.Tbov / Shutterstock

Cleaning the steering wheel is important because it not just makes the car look beautiful but also makes the grip tight for the driver.

This lets the driver control the car properly, and that is why it is important to select the best steering wheel cleaner.

Be sure to select the best cleaner because so many products are available in the market. Some of them are safe for the wheels, while others are not.

Select a steering wheel cleaner that does not only cleans the wheels but also protects them from scratches.

Besides having clean steering wheels, it is important to ensure that the steering wheel cleaner used in cleaning the steering wheel won’t leave behind any kind of residue that could make the steering wheels slippery.

Before you invest in any car cleaning product, sample it first – if it doesn’t dissolve a tough stain that your steering wheels have accumulated over time, then you shouldn’t consider buying it.

There are also products available specifically for black steering wheels and spray-on waxes, which might be better suited for dark surfaces or have more protective qualities than traditional steering wheel cleaners.

After a few trials, you can find the best steering wheel cleaner. Some manufacturers may offer bargain deals that offer only cheaper variants of their products but don’t trust every brand without further inspection.

Ensure you’re aware of the type of material used in your car’s steering wheel before purchasing to ensure that it is compatible with your vehicle. Also, make sure to check out different brands and compare prices between them to pinpoint which one offers the deal that will work for you!

After choosing the best steering wheel cleaner for your vehicle, the next thing to know is the best way to clean your steering wheel with it. Here is a guide on how to clean your steering wheel to get the best results

How to Clean a Steering Wheel

Here are the steps on how to clean a steering wheel

  1. Use the right cleaning solution for your steering wheel.
  2. Use a microfiber towel to spray your cleaning solution.
  3. To clean the wheel, wrap the towel around it.
  4. Use a damp cloth to clean the cleaner.
  5. Use a microfiber towel to dry the steering wheel.

1. Determine the Type of Material Used for Your Steering Wheel

Faux leather is one of the most common materials used for car steering wheels, but you can find steering wheels made with different materials such as plastic wood and leather materials.

Check your owner’s manual to learn about the specific material of your steering wheel as well as recommendations for cleaning it.

2. Spray the Steering Wheel Cleaner Onto a Microfiber Towel

If your cleaner isn’t in a spray can place it inside of one. Spray the cleaner onto the rag and not directly on the steering wheel or various other parts of your car. That could cause problems for you later on if those substances get stuck behind your dashboard.

3. Wrap the Towel Around the Steering Wheel and Scrub It

To clean your wheel’s front, top and back, apply a circular motion turning the towel around the steering wheel. Workaround the entire perimeter of the wheel, cleaning it thoroughly and carefully making sure no area goes uncleaned.

You may have to apply some pressure while you’re cleaning but make sure not to rub too heavily, or else you could end up removing some of the material’s color in the process.

It’s very important that you also clean all over your wheel’s center since that part is often more neglected than others.

4. Use a Damp Cloth to Clean Wipe the Cleaner off the Steering Wheel

Use another towel soaked in water to wipe the wheel to remove any excess steering cleaner from the steering wheel. This will also help you wipe off any dirt or grime that might be left.

If all you have is paper towels, you can use that too. Make sure you go over the entire wheel to avoid prolonged contact with abrasive cleansing chemicals that might be in the steering wheel cleaner once you re-start your driving again.

5. Use Another Microfiber Towel to Dry the Steering Wheel

To get any excess water off of your steering wheel, make sure to slowly wipe it off with a handful of paper towels.

After that, pull out your trusty microfiber towel and completely dry the steering wheel – it should look shiny, free of dirt, and new once it is dried.

Here is a video guide to direct you on how to clean your steering wheel

How to Clean a Steering Wheel Made With Different Materials

Steering wheels can be cleaned with several different products, depending on the materials they are made out of.

Here is a step-by-step guide to clean different steering wheel materials to get the best results.

How to Clean a Leather Steering Wheel

Leather steering wheels are easy to clean.

  1. Use a dry cloth to wipe the surface of your steering wheel to remove dirt.
  2. Spray a leather steering wheel cleaner on a microfiber towel
  3. Use the towel to gently wipe the steering wheel. Wipe every area, including the center.
  4. Use a damp towel or cloth soaked in clean water to wipe off the leather steering wheel cleaner from the steering.
  5. Put a little leather conditioner on the steering wheel using your hands.

How to Clean a Hard Rubber Steering Wheel

A hard rubber steering wheel can be cleaned easily using a hard rubber steering wheel cleaner. However, if you can get a hold of this, you can use mild soap or detergent. Here are the steps!

  1. Make water and hard rubber cleaner, soap, or detergent solution.
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the mixture onto a microfiber towel or cloth, and use it to wipe the hard rubber steering wheel clean. Be sure not to miss any spots.
  4. Dry up the steering wheel with a paper towel or dry cloth

How to Clean the Alcantara Steering Wheel

Have a look at these steps!

  1. Firstly, Wipe any dirt or dust in the steering using a microfiber cloth.
  2. Mix an Alcantara steering wheel cleaner and water in a bowl and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the steering wheel cleaner and water mixture onto a towel and use it to gently clean the steering wheel.
  4. After cleaning thoroughly, wipe off the steering wheel with a dry towel.
  5. Allow the steering wheel couple of minutes to dry.

How to Clean Vinyl Steering Wheel

Cleaning vinyl steering wheels can be very easy if you know how to do it. Here are the steps on how to clean a vinyl steering wheel.

  1. Make a mixture of water and vinyl steering wheel cleaner and pour it into a spray bottle.
  2. Shake the spray bottle well to combine the ingredients.
  3. Spray the mixture over the vinyl steering wheel. Cover the vinyl steering wheel with the liquid as completely as possible.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit for a while to dissolve any sticky dirt.
  5. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the mixture from the steering wheel.
  6. Dry the wheel with a dry cloth or paper towel

How to Clean the Rubber Steering Wheel

Follow these steps to know how to clean rubber steering wheels.

  1. Firstly make a solution of an equal amount of rubber steering wheel cleaner and water.
  2. Pour the solution into an empty spray container.
  3. Spray the solution onto a towel or microfiber cloth. Do not spray it directly into your steering wheel.
  4. Use the towel to thoroughly clean the steering wheel.
  5. Use a dry cloth to dry the steering wheel.

The steering wheel needs to be dried because it can become slippery and make driving more difficult.

How to Clean the Suede Steering Wheel

You can easily clean the suede steering wheel by following a few steps below.

  1. Use a suede steering wheel cleaner to clean your wheel at least once every week.
  2. Make sure the cleaner and suede brush are in your glove compartment. By using this, you will remember to clean your steering wheel whenever you open it.
  3. Make a mixture of steering wheel cleaner and water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  4. Spraying the mixture you just made on the steering wheel directly is not a good idea as you might overspray it on the steering. Instead, spray the mixture on a clean brush.
  5. Use the brush to rub against the suede steering wheel to remove any dirt or grime.
  6. After brushing and thoroughly cleaning the steering wheel, Place a dry towel on it to help it dry.

How to Clean the Upholstery Steering Wheel

You can use an upholstery wheel cleaner to clean your upholstery steering wheel. Many are available on the market. Here are the steps!

  1. You should first clean the dirt using a microfiber cloth.
  2. Make a mixture of the upholstery cleaner and water.
  3. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the cleaner and water mixture onto a cloth and use it to thoroughly clean the steering wheel.
  5. After cleaning, dry the steering wheel with a dry towel. Leave it to dry for a few minutes before you hit the road.

Also Read: Purge Valve (Functions, Symptoms, Replacement, & Testing)

Frequently Asked Questions About Steering Wheel Cleaner

Is It Okay to Clean Leather Steering Wheels With Baby Wipes?

Baby wipes are not recommended for cleaning your steering wheel. Instead, use leather wipes because they will effectively clean the steering wheel of any dirt and grime. Never use baby wipes to clean your steering wheel as they can damage the wheel’s leather through their alkaline contents and destroy the finish with their strong chemicals.

Can I Use Clorox Wipes on the Steering Wheel?

Clorox wipes can be used for cleaning the steering wheel. Clorox wipes are excellent at disinfecting a steering wheel since they kill disease-causing germs such as viruses that live on its surface. With these germs gone, it will be safe to use the steering wheel without having to worry about your bare hands being exposed to them while driving your car.

Can I Use Lysol Wipes on the Leather Steering Wheel?

Lysol wipes or alcohol can also be used on other surfaces, such as the steering wheels in vehicles. These disinfecting products will be able to help you get rid of pesky germs on your steering wheel that are otherwise hard to clean off using just soap and water.

How Can I Remove a Sticky Residue From My Steering Wheel?

Multipurpose steering wheel cleaning products can be used to remove a sticky residue from the steering wheel, but leather cleaners are always best for many steering wheels out there. Use a microfiber cloth to apply the cleaner on the sterling wheel, and it’ll buffer over the steering wheel and clean off all of the grime.

Why Is My Steering Wheel Sticky After Cleaning?

The steering wheel can get sticky after cleaning because of the substance used in cleaning the steering wheel. When cleaning the steering wheel, one should allow it a decent amount of time to dry. If you do not allow enough drying time, the steering wheel will end up feeling as though it’s sticking to your hands or fingers. This is because the surface becomes somewhat sticky due to a residue leftover from whatever cleaner or conditioner was used to clean the steering wheel before.

How Do I Make My Steering Wheels Shine?

Regular cleaning can make your steering wheels shine. If you want to keep your steering wheel tidy and clean, it is a good idea to apply a cleaner and conditioner. The conditioner will make it smooth and shiny, which ensures easy handling by the car’s driver.

Can You Use a Magic Eraser on the Steering Wheel?

You can clean your steering wheel with a magic eraser. The magic eraser will soften and remove the greasy residue from the worn-out steering wheels without scratching them, along with cleaning any other plastic or leather surfaces on which it may come in contact.

How Do I Get Grime off My Steering Wheel?

To remove grime from a steering wheel, you can use a leather conditioner or try out this simple home remedy. Take a paste of baking soda and water, rub it on the grime in the steering wheel, let it sit for about five minutes. Scrub it off with a toothbrush and clean it with a microfiber cloth.

How Often Should I Clean My Steering Wheel?

There is no set time frame for how often your steering wheel should be cleaned. It’s recommended that you clean your steering wheel at least twice a year. Nevertheless, you may want to do it more frequently if you feel sick regularly. Some drivers like to do it twice a month.

What Should You Do When Your Steering Wheel Cover Is Worn Out and Damaged?

A new steering wheel cover is an excellent idea when the old one gets too worn out, dirty, or damaged. There are many choices to pick from, and often what is available depends on what your car’s interior style is like and how much work you want to put into fixing it up.


Cleaning your steering wheel from time to time is a good way to restore its natural look. This can also help make it feel more comfortable and improve your driving!

There are many ways to clean a car’s steering wheel, and the most direct route involves using a special cleaner designed for the task.

Still, in some cases, you may be better off skipping those expensive ‘car-specific’ products and simply reaching for the soap you already have in your home or apartment.

By cleaning the steering wheel regularly, you will drive safer, steer the wheel more accurately and keep the steering wheel in good condition.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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