How To Clean Leather Steering Wheel In Your Car

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how to clean and protect car steering wheel, leather conditioner, car detailing planet

Many people make mistakes when cleaning and protecting the car’s steering wheel. The steering wheel is full of body oils and other specks of dirt and needs to be maintained regularly. Today I will show you how to clean a leather steering wheel in your car.

Cleaning and safely protecting the steering wheel is one of the most important things. Protecting it the wrong way may lead to uncomfortable driving and, even worse – an accident.

Pedals, shifters, and the steering wheel are the main parts we use when driving a car. If any of those parts aren’t acting the way they should, we’re endangering our and others’ safety.

Why It’s Important To Clean and Protect Leather Steering Wheel?

As I said earlier, the steering wheel is full of body oils, sweat, dust, and other dirt specks. If you neglect it for a while, the steering wheel will quickly become old. The steering wheel is often the dirtiest part of your car.

Reasons to clean and protect the steering wheel:

  • You’ll keep it soft and flexible.
  • Extending the steering wheel’s lifespan
  • Making rides more comfortable
  • Protecting the steering wheel from UV rays and other external factors

With all these reasons mentioned, it would be dumb not to clean, disinfect and protect your steering wheel.

However, many people make mistakes when it comes to protecting the steering wheel the right way, which can be dangerous. That’s why I decided to write this article.

How To Clean a Steering Wheel: 2-Step Guide

Here’s a simple guide on cleaning steering wheels, especially leather steering wheels.

Step 1: Clean The Steering Wheel With a Brush and a Leather Cleaner

First, you must take all the dirt from your steering wheel. It’s the essential step to apply protectant later on correctly.

For this step, you will need the following:

Follow these steps when cleaning the steering wheel in your car:

  • If it’s filthy, use a vacuum to suck up all the dirt from it.
  • Spray some Leather Cleaner on the steering wheel.
  • Use a clean microfiber towel and gently wipe off all the dirt.
  • Spray the Leather Cleaner on your steering wheel again and also on the detailing brush.
  • Gently agitate the brush on your steering wheel to clean all the tiny pores, especially on leather steering wheels.
  • Wipe off the steering wheel with a clean microfiber towel.

As you can see, it’s a pretty simple process and will only take you a few minutes to complete.

If you have a non-leather (fake leather) steering wheel, don’t worry. You can still use leather cleaner to clean it. There are plastic parts on every steering wheel, but leather cleaner is safe to use on all of them.

Step 2: Protect The Steering Wheel With a Leather Conditioner

When everything is clean, it’s time to protect the steering wheel adequately. You need to know that you can’t use every product as a steering wheel protectant.

Many protectants leave the surface slippery, which is not allowed for the steering wheel. If you use such products on it, you won’t be able to drive safely.

You want to use a high-quality leather conditioner that won’t leave a greasy look and won’t make the steering wheel slippery.

For this step, you will need:

Follow these steps when applying a leather conditioner to your steering wheel:

  • After a thorough cleaning of the steering wheel, dry the steering wheel.
  • Spray some leather conditioner on an applicator pad.
  • Gently apply the leather conditioner to the steering wheel surface. Make sure to get into all pores and crevices.
  • After a few mins of applying the conditioner, use a clean microfiber towel to buff off the excess.

When Should You Clean The Steering Wheel?

Well, there’s no definitive answer to this question. However, whenever you are cleaning the car, make sure to clean and protect your steering wheel, just like all the other car parts.

However, if your steering wheel (mainly leather) looks shiny, that’s the first sign of dirtiness. Genuine leather should never look shiny or greasy.

Maintain The Steering Wheel

In between car washes, make sure to sometimes quickly clean and protect the steering wheel. If you are a daily driver, especially in some van or truck, the steering wheel will soon become dirty again.

It only takes a minute or two to clean and protect the steering wheel quickly, and you’ll get a clean and healthy steering wheel again.

For maintenance cleaning and protection, I recommend using leather cleaning and conditioning wipes (check the price on Amazon now)

They are just perfect to use every couple of days or weeks, depending on how often you drive your car.

If you work for some company where more people drive the same vehicle (car, truck, van), using the wipes is a MUST. Always make sure to have clean and healthy surfaces in the vehicle.

Steering Wheel Cleaner: Which One Is The Best

In my opinion, the best leather steering wheel cleaners are standard leather cleaners that you use to clean all the leather in your vehicle. Leather cleaners are gentle enough not to damage the leather yet strong enough to clean and disinfect the steering wheel.

However, since not all of you guys have leather steering wheels, I’ll also show you a recommendation for the best steering wheel cleaner for non-leather steering wheels.

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner – Best For Leather Steering Wheels

As I already told you, you’ll get the best results if you clean the leather steering wheel with a leather cleaner. Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner (check price now) is one of the best leather cleaners you can buy, and that’s why I highly suggest you use it.

Chemical Guys Nonsense All Surface Cleaner – The Best For Standard Steering Wheels

For cleaning standard steering wheels made from rubber, plastics, or other materials, I highly suggest you use this Chemical Guys Nonsense All Surface Cleaner (check price now). It’s safe on all materials and will clean all the dirt with ease.


Can I use an all-purpose cleaner (APC) on the steering wheel?

Using an APC on the steering wheel may be risky. If you don’t dilute APC the right way, it may damage the leather steering wheel. I always recommend people use leather cleaner, even if they don’t have a real leather steering wheel.

Can I use rubber conditioning products to protect the steering wheel?

I don’t recommend you use rubber conditioning products on the steering wheels. They’ll leave the steering wheel slippery, which is hazardous.

Is the detailing brush important for cleaning the steering wheel?

I recommend you use it. Without a brush, you’ll hardly clean those tiny pores and crevices on the steering wheel. However, you don’t have to use a dedicated detailing brush; any soft and gentle brush will be fine.


I’ll be quick here. I want to remind you again that the steering wheel is a part of the car you’ll use the most, and cleaning the steering wheel is important for your safety and also for the longevity of leather steering wheels.

If you neglect it, not only it’ll fade and ruin, but you’ll also be driving in an unhealthy car because of all the bacteria, dirt, grime, and body oils on it.

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