How to Clean Leather Steering Wheel

Cars with lovely interiors are always comfortable and attractive. A leather steering wheel is one of the things that make up the interior of a nice car, and it is essential to know how to keep it clean because it will help you maintain your car and enjoy it fully.

Leather steering wheels are beautiful, but the beauty may fade if you don’t take proper care of them. That is why you should know how to clean the leather steering wheel to ensure yours stays bright and shiny for a long time. You may see this video for some visual tips, and keep reading to know more.

How to Clean Leather Steering Wheel Step-by-Step Guide

Your hands will likely stay on your steering wheel more than the other parts of your vehicle. The hands may be dirty, sweaty, or may even be clean but have oils and hand lotions on them, and you will quickly transfer these to your leather steering wheel, causing it to become very dirty.

 The oils, dirt, and germs deposited on the steering wheel can build up over time and cause it to become stiffer to grip. However, you can avoid such build-up when you learn how to clean leather steering wheel regularly in a few easy steps.

how to clean sticky leather steering wheel

Dust off with a dry cloth:

A simple way to clean your leather steering wheel is to brush the dirt off using a clean, dry cloth. You can keep the clean cloth in your glove section for easy teaching and regular cleaning.

Having the cloth handy will help you clean off the dirt from your steering wheel each time you enter your car. Regular wiping of dirt will help to ensure they don’t accumulate and affect the beauty of your leather steering wheel.

Apply the leather cleaner on a microfiber towel:

You can use a cleaner such as KevianClean car leather cleaner to clean your steering wheel. This is best done using a spray bottle, so you can pour some of your cleaners into a spray bottle if it doesn’t come in one.

If you don’t have a special cleaner for your leather steering wheel, you can use a cleaner for leather shoes. You can also make a leather cleaner at home by combining one part of a multi-purpose cleaner with three parts of water.

Now, spray your leather cleaner on the towel till it gets wet but be careful not to let it soak.

Wipe the leather steering wheel with the cloth:

The next step is to gently wipe the leather steering wheel with the cloth moving in 360 degrees. Then grip the wheel while the cloth is placed over it and twist it gently in a forward and backward motion to wipe off the residue on the entire steering wheel.

Remove the excess:

Get another clean cloth and make it damp with warm water, then use it to thoroughly wipe off excess cleaner on the leather steering wheel and dry with another soft towel.

Apply leather conditioner:

After drying the wheel with a soft towel, you may proceed to apply a small quantity of leather conditioner to your steering wheel. You should put a drop of the conditioner on your palm and rub it on the wheel in a gentle motion using your bare hands.

Allow the conditioner to stay for half an hour, then remove the excess with a microfiber towel. Applying the leather conditioner weekly will help to protect your steering wheel and let it remain flexible for a long time.

How to Clean Sticky Leather Steering Wheel

Your nice leather steering wheel may look all good until you notice your hands sticking to it, and you almost need to peel it away from the steering wheel. If you feel your steering wheel rubber has turned sticky, then it is time to give it a thorough cleaning to get rid of the stickiness.

Some of the things that can make your leather steering wheel sticky are body oil, spills from soda syrup, excess conditioning, heat from sunlight, and build-up dirt. As you read on, you’ll find some tips on how to restore the sticky steering wheel.

You can do the following to clean a sticky leather steering wheel:

  • Clean the spills: when soda or something else spills on your leather steering wheel, it is best to dab it up immediately before the leather surface soaks up the liquid. But, if you have old spills, ensure to clean them well using a leather cleaner.
  • Wipe off excess conditioner: if you apply lots of conditioners when conditioning your car, always wipe off the excess with a clean, dry cloth. The extra conditioner will take time to dry and may make the steering wheel sticky when turning.
  • Remove body oils: you can use dish soap to remove body oils. To do this, apply the soap solution where there is oil on your leather steering wheel and quickly dry it with a clean cloth. A leather cleaner will also help to clean up the body oils.

how to keep leather steering wheel like new

How to Clean Leather Steering Wheel Grime

The need to constantly clean your leather steering wheel cannot be over-emphasized. However, if you’ve not been doing regular cleaning, you’ll have a buildup of grime on the steering wheel. So, you need to know how to restore the leather steering wheel to make it look good again.

When there is grime build-up, some people suggest cleaning the leather steering wheel with alcohol, but there are some other tips on how to keep the leather steering wheel like new, even when there is heavy grime. Some of the recommendations include the following:

Leather cleaner and scrubbing pad: you can remove leather steering wheel grime using a scrubbing pad and a leather cleaner. Spray some of the leather cleaners on the scrubbing pad and use it to wipe the wheel gently, then dry off with a soft towel.

Leather cleaner and a soft brush: for a steering wheel that has not been receiving regular cleaning, you may opt for a soft brush to achieve better cleaning. Apply some of the leather cleaners on the brush and carefully scrub the steering wheel.

Next is to remove the lather using a clean towel, then use a damp cloth to rub the leather steering wheel and dry it off with a soft towel.

Use leather degreaser: how to clean grease off the leather steering wheel? A leather degreaser comes to the rescue as it is excellent for cleaning oil and grease from the leather steering wheel. The degreaser pulls out the grease and oil and makes them become powder dry.

It usually comes in an aerosol spray. Spray a good quantity of the degreaser on a soft towel without making it drip, then use it to rub the entire wheel. Next is to dry completely and then wipe it off using a clean brush or towel.

You’ll know you’ve done a thorough cleaning when the powder dries and become white. But, if it dries and becomes yellow, that shows there are still oil and grease left, so you need to keep decreasing until the powder dries and becomes white.

When the powder comes out white, use a towel and a leather cleaner to clean it again. Wipe off using a clean fabric and dry it with a soft towel.

You may also use this leather conditioner kit from chemical guys leather cl to make it soft and offer flexibility.

Disinfect with a steam machine: if you can get a steam machine, you may want to use it to disinfect your leather steering wheel against bacteria. You can easily do this by filling the steam machine with distilled water, setting it at medium, and spraying it on the leather steering wheel.

Ensure you reach all the steering wheel parts and use a microfiber towel to dry off the moisture instantly. Remember to select a steam machine that has a single-hole nozzle.

How to Remove Spots from Your Leather Steering Wheel

It is possible to have some spots on your leather steering wheel from stains or some other sources. Making a solution of one part each of lemon juice and cream of tartar will help you to clean spots with ease.

After combining, use a soft, clean cloth to apply the paste on the spot and leave it under a shade for 2 to 3 hours. After a few hours, buff out the stain using an extra scoop of the mixture, and the spots will quickly come off.

How to Remove Water Spots from Your Leather Steering Wheel

When you let water sit on your leather steering wheel for a long time, its spots will stain the leather. Therefore, it is best to avoid water spots by wiping off water from your leather steering wheel once it gets wet.

But, if you already have water spots on your steering wheel, get distilled water and apply it on a soft, clean cloth. Then, gently wipe off the stain to the outward area starting from the center. Try to blend the stain to the outer area using the dry part of the cloth.

How to Remove Grease Stains from Your Leather Steering Wheel

Grease stains can make your leather steering wheel look too shiny, but you can restore your shiny leather steering wheel when you remove the grease stains on it. Some cornstarch, a vacuum, and a soft cloth are the things you need to remove the grease.

You may begin by using the cloth to blot the grease on the surface. Then, apply cornstarch to the stain and leave it for 8 to 10 minutes. After a few minutes, use the soft brush that comes with the vacuum to vacuum up any grease that remains.

How to Restore Leather Steering Wheel

Some people want to know how to fix the peeling leather steering wheel, while others want to learn ways to make their steering leather smooth and comfortable again. Whatever the case is, we know that no one enjoys steering a wheel that has worn-out leather.

There are ways to restore your steering wheel leather and make it appear as good as new, especially if you don’t wait till it becomes too late. Some of the ways to restore leather steering wheels include:

  • Begin by using a disposable cloth to cover your car’s dashboard, seat, and floor to avoid discoloration from the chemicals you’ll be using to restore the leather. Also, cover the buttons with masking tape.
  • Soak cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and scrub all the steering wheel leather parts until the swabs become clean.
  • Use sandpaper that has 400 grit and above to sand the steering wheel. This will remove the hard flakes and make tiny scratches where the coloring agents can easily permeate.
  • Next is to soften the leather by applying linseed oil, then apply leather filler with the help of your finger to fill the holes, and use 400-grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface.
  • Remove any leftover flakes with a tough cloth and use an adhesion promoter to coat the steering wheel and make smooth dye application and durability.
  • Lastly, apply the dye by dipping a sponge into it and wiping it on the steering wheel, moving in circles until the entire steering wheel is covered. Then spray a satin clear when the coat has dried to protect the leather steering wheel and make it smooth.

how to restore leather steering wheel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I make my leather steering wheel look new?

You can make the leather steering wheel look new by cleaning it regularly, and if you’ve not been doing such regular cleaning, you should clean thoroughly using a brush and a leather cleaner, then dry off with a microfiber towel.

Can you use Clorox wipes on the leather steering wheel?

Some people use Clorox wipes on their leather steering wheels, but it is safer to use other standard car leather cleaning products to avoid damaging the finish of your leather steering wheel.

Is it safe to use a magic eraser on leather?

You can use a magic eraser on your leather as long as your leather has a light color and you don’t apply force while scrubbing because scrubbing with force will cause the leather’s protective coating to wear off.

What cleaner is safe for leather?

A solution of one-part vinegar and one-part water is a safe cleaner for leather. Spray this solution on a soft cloth and rub the leather in a circular manner to remove dirt from the leather.

Can you use baby wipes on leather?

It is not right to use baby wipes to clean leather because the wipes are alkaline and contain other chemicals that may make the leather crack and peel after some time.

Does a magic eraser work on car leather?

Yes, a magic eraser works on car leather as it removes dirt from them. However, be careful not to ruin your car’s leather with it.

Final Words

The steering wheel of your car may be one of the dirtiest things you touch each day, and keeping it clean is necessary. We have listed essential tips on how to clean the leather steering wheel to ensure your leather steering wheel remains clean and new every day.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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