How to Clean Steering Wheel: Leather, Wood & Plastic

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How to Clean Steering Wheel: Leather, Wood & Plastic

Whether you’re a car enthusiast or just drive occasionally, you’ve probably come across the necessity of cleaning your steering wheel. How to clean the steering wheel? It’s something that’s easy to do and should be done regularly, but it requires a little bit of preparation.

In this blog post, I’ll provide instructions on how to clean your steering wheel whether it’s made from leather, wood, or plastic.

Why Do We Need to Clean Steering Wheel?

Before you can understand how to clean your steering wheel, you first need to know the purpose of cleaning it.  Indeed, there are so many benefits of cleaning your steering wheel and we’ll give you some of them below:


The steering wheel is touched every day. Since your hands are full of sweat, grease, and dirt while driving, there’s a big chance that all these will be transferred to the steering wheel. The only way to ensure good hygiene while driving is by washing your hands before touching the steering wheel.

Improves Aesthetics

If you’re as proud as I am of the aesthetics of your car, then you will want to clean your steering wheel at least once a year. This is an easy task that only requires a soft cloth and soap.

Lasts Longer

If you take good care of your steering wheel, you’ll notice that it lasts very long. Just like any other part of the car, the steering wheel needs proper care if you want it to last longer. Since most cars today are made using leather, this material tends to get really sticky and dirty with use. With regular washing, this material will remain soft and smooth for a very long time.

How to Clean Steering Wheel: Leather, Wood & Plastic

Leather Steering Wheel

Some people are more familiar with cleaning leather steering wheels than others. Even so, the process of how to clean a leather steering wheel is surprisingly simple.

Supplies Needed:

Rubbing Alcohol (If you don’t have time to take care of your steering wheel, just use rubbing alcohol alone.)

  • Soft Cloth – Make sure that the cloth you’re using is as soft as possible. If not, you’ll end up scratching the steering wheel and damage it in the long run.
  • Soap – There are two types of soaps that you can use to clean your steering wheel. The best is a mild soap that won’t leave residues on the steering wheel. Do NOT use harsh soap, otherwise, you might end up leaving scratches or marks on your steering wheel.
  • Leather Conditioner (You can choose one with UV protection)

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Cleaning

  • You’ll want to start with removing all the dirt and grime with a wet cloth. Spray rubbing alcohol with a spray bottle and wipe it thoroughly with a soft cloth.
  • If there are still soap marks, use mild soap and wipe it clean.

Note: Do NOT rub too hard
Do NOT spray directly on the steering wheel

Step 2: Drying

  • Allow the steering wheel to dry naturally.

Step 3: Applying Leather Conditioner

  • Once it’s completely dry, apply leather cream or conditioner with a damp cloth all over the steering wheel.

Wood Steering Wheel

Wood is not as common as leather but still, there are some models using wood steering wheels.
The process is quite similar to cleaning leather ones but instead of using a leather conditioner, we’ll use wood polish in Step 3.
Wood polish will keep the steering wheel looking nice and clean.

Plastic Steering Wheel

Platic steering wheels can be found in many different models these days.
With this being the case, it’s important to know how to clean plastic steering wheels correctly.

Supplies needed:

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Soft cloths
  1. You’ll first want to clean the steering wheel with a wet cloth then wipe it dry with a soft dry cloth.
  2. After that, you can apply some soap to your steering wheel if there are still soap marks.
  3. If you’ve experienced too much grease or oil on your steering wheel, you can apply toothpaste to it to remove all traces of grease or oil.
  4. The toothpaste will break the greasy surface and make it easier for water to clean it off.
  5. Finally, dry it with a clean cloth.

Tips to Care for Steering Wheel

Cleaning your steering wheel regularly will help keep it looking nice for long. However, there are a few other things that you can do to maintain your steering wheel’s good condition.

# Keep It Moisture

Understand that your steering wheel needs moisture to stay safe. Steering wheels are there to give you precise control over the car when driving. When they’re dry, it can be quite dangerous if water is spilled on them.

# Keep Your Hands Clean

Avoid getting your hands dirty while driving. If you’re in a rush, you need to wash your hands before touching the steering wheel. Get into the habit of doing this even if you need to do it multiple times in one day.

# Wipe off Stains As Soon As Possible

If there are grease marks on your steering wheel, make sure that you wipe them off when cleaning. Grease stains can be tough to get off, so make sure that they are gone when cleaning the steering wheel.

# Avoid Using Abrasive

Avoid using anything abrasive if possible. If you want to know how to clean your steering wheel, then avoid using anything abrasive. This is because this can cause scratches on the plastic or wood material of the steering wheel, making it ugly and even dangerous to use.

# Use Leather Conditioner with UV Protection

Consider using a leather conditioning cream for your steering wheel. These creams can help keep your steering wheel looking new for a long time. Plus, they have UV protection which is great if you have a limited budget for maintaining the interior of your car.

Final Words

I hope that you can see the importance of maintaining your steering wheel. If you take care of it, the steering wheel will be durable and last you for a long time. Because this is an important part of your car, it’s best if you take good care of it.

Use this guide in case you need to know how to clean leather or plastic steering wheels in the future.