How to Clean Different Types of Steering Wheel

Cleaning the car dashboard

Your car steering wheel could be the dirtiest thing you touch today. It is constantly exposed to oily hands, sweaty fingers, spills, and dust. This is why you want to regularly clean and detail your steering cover using the best steering wheel cleaners.

In this post, we share with you tips on cleaning and maintaining steering wheel covers. However, different steering wheel types require different ways of cleaning.  For instance, to clean plastic steering wheels, all you need is soap, water, and a towel. But you will need special leather-specific products to clean and restore leather steering wheels.

How to clean rubber steering wheels

Cleaning rubber or plastic steering wheels like the Plasticolor Jeep steering wheel is easy. But you want to be careful not to use harsh solutions that will discolor and dry out your steering wheel cover.

Supplies needed

Mild soap or shampoo
– Microfiber cloth
– All-purpose protectant (optional)

Step 1

Soap your micro-fiber towel and rub the solution all over the wheel. Gently wipe the dirt off, taking care not to exert too much pressure.

Step 2

Repeat step 1 to remove accumulated dirt on steering wheel. If you can still spot sticky stains, use a scrub pad for car interiors to gently remove the grime.

Step 3

Once clean, rinse off the soap using a clean, damp towel. Finally, give your wheel a good wipe down with a dry towel to dry it off.

And that is how to clean plastic steering wheels. As a final touch, lightly spray a protectant like Armor All to guard your wheel against discoloration and drying out. Wipe off any excess protectant so your wheel will not slippery when you drive.

Cleaning genuine leather steering wheels

How do you keep your leather steering wheel like new?

The trick is to regularly cleanse and protect (or moisturize) your leather steering wheels using quality leather detailing products. If treated right, genuine leather is one of the more durable materials.

Leather steering wheel care can be as simple as a wipe down using leather care wipes. These will clean and condition your steering wheel surface, but if you want a deep cleanse, be prepared to invest in quality leather cleaners for car steering wheel.

Here is the best way to clean a leather steering wheel.

Supplies you need

– Leather cleaner
– Cloth
– Leather conditioner

Step 1

Dampen a microfibre cloth with leather cleaner. Do not spray or dab the directly on the leather steering wheel. Rather, spray on the towel and gently wipe the dirt off the steering wheel.

Step 2

Blot with a dry microfiber to remove excess moisture.

Step 3

To moisturize and protect the leather, rub the leather conditioner on the steering wheel using a damp microfiber towel or brush.

Step 4

Let it sit for half an hour to allow the absorption of the oils in the conditioner. You may then gently use a clean towel to blot out the excess formula.

How To Clean Synthetic Leather Steering Wheels

Synthetic, artificial, or faux leather may look or feel like real leather. Yet some are rather delicate, so you want to be very careful when cleaning synthetic leather steering wheel covers.

Luckily there are special products for deep cleaning synthetic and faux leathers. An example is the versatile Colourlock faux leather protector which is great on a range of leathers, including vinyl, PU, bonded, patent, and other faux leathers.

Naturally, this dual-action treatment kit offers both a deep cleanse and protection of your leather from dryness and excess moisture.

What you need

– Microfiber cloth
– Faux leather protectant (optional)

Step 1

Dilute a teaspoon of leather shampoo in two cups of water. Dip your microfibre towel in the solution to damp it (squeeze out any excess liquid). Then, gently blot and wipe the grime off the steering wheel cover

Step 2

Use a clean, dry microfiber towel, pat dry the cover to remove any lingering moisture, and let it air dry

Step 3

Next, apply the leather conditioner, which rejuvenates and restores your leather to its previous shine. 

How to Clean Natural Wood Steering Wheels

What you need

– All-purpose cleaner
– Microfiber cloth
– All-in-one wood polish
– Wax

Step 1

Spray the All-purpose cleaner onto your microfibre cloth and thoroughly clean the wooden wheel cover.

Step 2

Once clean, be sure to completely wipe off all residue. Do not allow the all-purpose car cleaner to dry anywhere on the wheel.

Step 3

If you notice that the wood has light scratches or oxidization, you will want to polish it. Use a sponge or microfibre cloth to work the wood polish into the wood. A great all-in-one polish I found is this Conrads Wood Food Oil. This polish is particularly great for cleaning, restoring, and protecting the wood surfaces in your car. Once the polish residue has dried, buff it off with a clean, soft, microfibre towel.

Step 4

Repeat step 3 until your wood has been restored to your satisfaction.

Step 5

After polishing, the waxing natural wood steering wheel comes next. Waxing protects and seals the wood while also enhancing the clarity of the grain. To wax, simply apply a small amount of this natural carnauba-based wax on your microfibre applicator pad and work it into the wood. Let it cure for a while, then rub off the wax residue.

Tips for DIY Steering Wheel Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning leather, you’re better off using either plain water or leather specific cleaning products. Common home treatments like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice may backfire on delicate leather steering wheels.

For light cleaning, simply damp a clean microfibre cloth in distilled water and gently rub off the dirt. To remove grime, stains, and spots from your leather steering wheel, follow the steps above.

DIY Steering Wheel Cleaner for Vinyl Cover

Step 1

Use a damp sponge or microfibre towel to wipe away surface dirt on your steering wheel

Step 2

In an empty spray bottle, pour some water and add baking soda. Mix thoroughly.

Step 3

Spray the formula all over your vinyl steering wheel – be sure to cover the whole surface. Allow the solution to sit for up to 10minutes.

Step 4

Use a clean towel to carefully wipe off the dirt. Repeat the process until clean and dry.

Final Thoughts

Making steering wheel cleaning a regular part of your auto detailing routine will save you a buck in the long run. First things first – find out exactly what material your steering wheel is made of, and then give it a good professional cleaning. Don’t forget to finish by applying a good steering wheel protectant to keep your wheel cover well moisturized and protected!

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