When you want to wash your car, it’s recommended that you use a car wash; when you want to clean a mirror, it’s recommended that you use a mirror/window cleaner; similarly, when it’s time to clean your car’s steering wheel, it’s recommended you use a steering wheel cleaner.
This is not because you can’t use regular cleaners, but a steering wheel cleaner would do the job better and sterilize the wheel, so it’s free from germs. But the challenge is deciding on which steering wheel cleaner to use.
Well, this article clearly explains how to choose the right steering wheel cleaner for your car; your choice should be influenced by what material your steering wheel is made of – leather, plastic, reins, natural wood, etc. We also talked about some of our preferred steering wheel cleaners.
Understanding Steering Wheel Materials
Here’s a concise overview of the common materials used to make vehicles’ steering wheels. However, it is important to note that some purpose-built vehicles may come with a unique steering wheel not made with either of these materials.
Steering wheels covered using a plastic material are typically found in entry-level cars. The plastic material prevents dust and makes it easy to clean out dirt on the wheel.
However, plastic steering wheels get hot when driving under the sun for a long time, which can be very uncomfortable for the driver.
2. Leather (Suede, Faux, Pigmented)
There are many types of leather steering wheel covers often used in higher trims of most vehicles (or in the highest trim only).
It is usually installed to complete the luxurious look of the vehicle, and yes, this type of steering wheel cover provides good comfort, whether driving in high or low climate conditions.
Typically, the leather material is original pigmented or faux leather, waterproofed, and designed to offer great resistance to all weather conditions.
3. Natural Wood
Natural wood steering wheels are typically seen in older vehicles or some special luxury cars furnished with a wooden interior. This type of steering wheel is easy to clean and maintain; you just need to buy a good wood polish.
4. Synthetic Resins
Synthetic resin steering wheel covers look pretty much like plastic covers, but they are not the same. Steering wheels covered using synthetic resins typically appear duller and opaque.
This type of steering wheel does not heat up like the plastics ones and can withstand mechanical forces much better than plastics.
5. Alcantara Material
Alcantara is another common material used for covering cars’ steering wheels. Alcantara is a suede-like, soft material that feels very comfortable when held; cars with Alcantara steering wheels feel so good to steer and drive. It is more durable than leather and other materials.
Which Steering Wheel Cleaner To Use?
As hinted above, you have to first know the type of steering wheel cover/upholstery used for your car before proceeding to buy a steering wheel cleaner. A clean steering wheel contributes to a seamless, enjoyable driving experience.
While there are many steering wheel cleaners out there, you should pick the one that would work best for your car. Apparently, a steering wheel cleaner meant to be used on plastic wheels cannot clean a leather-coated steering wheel properly and vice versa.
That said, when in the market for a steering wheel cleaner, ensure to check if the cleaner is meant to be used on leather, plastic, wooden, or synthetic resin steering wheels.
Furthermore, some steering wheel cleaners are formulated to hide light scratches that may appear on the steering wheel by coating the affected areas with a protective film/layer.
Furthermore, some steering wheel cleaners are formulated for black steering wheels or other specific colors. If you use such cleaners on the wrong color, the results may be appalling. With these considerations, you can easily figure out which steering wheel cleaner is best for your usage.
Our Recommended Steering Wheel Cleaners
While there are many good options, these are the best to choose from. Remember to choose based on your car’s steering wheel material.
1. TriNova Leatherette
- ✅ ADVANCED FAUX LEATHER RESTORATION – TriNova’s Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner offers the best way to restore and protect all of your synthetic leather goods. Your faux leather can look and feel as luxurious as the real thing, so it deserves proper care and maintenance, which is easy to provide with this two-in-one product.
- ✅ TOUGH ON DIRT & STAINS – The compound in this cleaner and conditioner effectively lifts dirt and grime from your faux leather goods, clearing away mild stains. As it works, it also provides the moisture your products need to prevent cracking and fading, keeping them looking like new for years to come.
- ✅ ALL-PRODUCT PROTECTION – With TriNova’s Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner, you can rest easy knowing you’ve found a solution for all of your synthetic leather goods. Whether you’re looking for a product to care for the upholstery in your car or the couch in your home, this cleaner has you covered. Plus, it’ll work great on Nuluxe, Bonded, Vegan, Saffiano, or Durablend Leather
- ✅ VERSATILE COVERAGE – It’s important that a few products go a long way, and that’s why TriNova hasn’t limited this cleaner to synthetic leather goods. It’s also safe and suitable for any vinyl surfaces or products you may have in your car or around your home.
- ✅ QUICK-DRY ABSORPTION – TriNova has designed this cleaner and conditioner to quickly absorb into your faux leather goods so that you can get back to using them. You won’t have to worry about avoiding your car seats or sofa for hours on end, just apply, let dry, and you’re done.
This cleaner is best for faux leather steering wheels; notwithstanding, it can be used on other leather types.
TriNova’s Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner is formulated with premium cleaning and conditioning agents; it doesn’t only remove tough dirt but it also adds a protective layer to keep germs away.
Also, this cleaning solution dries faster than most other options and somehow shines on faux leather surfaces.
2. Carfidant Ultimate Leather Cleaner
- Ultimate Cleaning Solution: Our all-in-one leather cleaner is perfect for a variety of items including car seats, furniture, handbags, and shoes, providing a comprehensive cleaning solution for all your leather needs
- Powerful Stain Remover: Effectively removes tough stains and grime from leather surfaces, leaving them looking refreshed and revitalized without damaging the material.
- Versatile Use: Suitable for a wide range of leather items, from car interiors to furniture and accessories, making it a convenient and cost-effective cleaning option for all your leather products.
- Gentle Conditioning Formula: Not only does it clean, but it also conditions, preserving the softness and natural luster of the leather, ensuring longevity and durability.
- ade in USA - 100% Satisfaction: Rest assured with our 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you're not fully satisfied with our product, we'll provide a full refund.
The Carfidant Ultimate Leather Cleaner kit comes with microfiber towels inside the box. It works great for cleaning vinyl and leather surfaces, including leather steering wheels.
This cleaning solution is formulated with premium chemicals that won’t damage your car’s steering wheel cover but make it appear neat and shiny at all times. It works for all colors and can be used to clean other interior components of your car, including the leather seats.
3. Sonax Cleaner
- NEW FORMULA developed specifically for vehicles with Alcantara microfiber seats and interiors
- Cleans and restores dirty and matted Alcantara found on seats, upholstery and fabric back to its original vibrant colors and soft, suede feel
- Safe and effective on carpets, textiles and standard upholstered seating and interior surfaces
- No overpowering odor - Features a pleasant Fresh and Clean smell
- Sonax Upholstery & Alcantara Cleaner is very effective in cleaning and restoring other Alcantara surfaces - Microsoft surface, steering wheel covers, iPhone and Samsung cases, Alcantara keyboards and Alcantara covers
Here’s a premium steering wheel cleaning solution formulated to clean Alcantara and upholstery fabrics much better than any other type of cleaner. The Sonax Cleaner has a nice scent and works effectively when applied rightly.
This cleaner can be used on other Alcantara surfaces asides from steering wheel covers. It is equally suitable for use on carpeted and suede surfaces.
4. Chemical Guys SPI22016
- ONE CLEANER TO RULE THEM ALL - Rather than use separate cleaners for leather, vinyl, plastic, carpet, cloth, glass, and wood, Chemical Guys developed Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant; with just one product, you can now clean and protect virtually all interior surfaces!
- SIMPLIFY YOUR DETAILING ARSENAL - Save time and money with one do-it-all product; keep your interior fresh, clean, and looking like new; clean without worrying about damaging surfaces; clean and protect nav and touch screens too!
- MIST ON, WIPE OFF - Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant offers professional grade results and is so easy to use! Just mist on and wipe off! The unique formula contains blockers that help shield interior car parts from harsh sunlight to help prevent cracking and fading on hard plastics.
- DRY-TO-THE-TOUCH FORMULA - The premium formula wipes clean, finishes residue free, and leaves no greasy or oily feel or look behind; Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant does not add extra gloss or shine; it only restores the stock appearance to the cleaned surface. Always test surface area first
- THE GO TO BRAND IN CAR CARE - Beginners and professionals alike choose Chemical Guys, not only for the finest car care products, but the world class customer support and vast detailing knowledge Chemical Guys is more than a brand it's a lifestyle with a worldwide following
The Chemical Guys SPI22016 cleaner is best for plastic steering wheels, thanks to the formula and ingredients. It works best to clean and revive plastic steering wheels, restoring their shine and beauty.
This cleaning solution can also be used to clean natural wood steering wheels; it lifts staunch dirt easily and protects against discoloration. If you wish, you could use this cleaner on other interior surfaces of the car.
5. ForceField Fabric Cleaner
This upholstery cleaner works to remove mild and staunch dirt from the car’s steering wheels. It removes both oil and water-based stains and works perfectly for cleaning microfiber or synthetic resin steering wheels.
The ForceField Fabric Cleaner works on all colors; it has a nice, mild scent and doesn’t actively react to interior surfaces.
How To Clean a Dirty Steering Wheel
It’s one thing to get the right cleaning agent for your car’s steering wheel, and it’s another thing to know how to use it rightly.
Here’s how to clean your car’s steering wheel the right way, but before that, here are the prerequisites.
- A steering wheel cleaner
- Clean water
- Microfiber cloths/towels
- A soft interior brush or toothbrush
Damp one of the towels or microfiber clothes and wipe down the steering wheel surface. You should come with at least two towels when cleaning the steering wheel or the entirety of your car’s interior.
Spray the steering wheel cleaner on the second (dry towel) and use it to start cleaning the steering wheel. Don’t spray the cleaner too much – just make the towel damp by about 70%. (Note: ensure you’re using the right cleaning solution for your car’s steering wheel upholstery).
While cleaning the steering wheel, focus on one part at a time, gradually, until you cover the entire circumference. It is advisable to clean the steering wheel in 360O circular moves from one corner to the other.
If you encounter staunch dirt that won’t go away as you wipe on the area, then you should use a soft brush and apply a little force on the area.
If the dirt doesn’t go away, you should spray the cleaning solution directly onto that surface area, let it sit for a little while, then attempt cleaning it again – continue cleaning the dirty area until it fumes and the staunch dirt is lifted.
After the cleaning, use a dry microfiber cloth or towel and wipe down gently. Don’t let the steering cleaner sit for too long before drying it off. You may need to use two different clothes for drying if the wetness is too much.
Alternatively, you can use a steam machine to clean your car’s steering wheel; this method is used if you need to remove germs and bacteria from the steering wheel’s surface.
Simply fill the steam machine with distilled water and spray it on the wheel using a single-nose spray nozzle (Don’t spray too hard). Afterward, use a dry cloth to dry the steering wheel.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should You Use To Clean Steering Wheel?
Most people use car wash solutions to clean their car’s steering wheel and other interior components; except your car wash solution is specified for cleaning steering wheels, using it to clean the steering wheel could cause the cover material to start breaking away. That said, you should use a steering wheel cleaner to clean your car’s steering wheel if you want the best results.
What’s The Best Way To Clean A Leather Steering Wheel?
Firstly, you need to ensure you’re using a leather steering wheel cleaner; that way, you’re sure the dirt on your leather-coated steering wheel will be cleaned. So, using a leather steering wheel cleaner, spray the cleaner onto a microfiber towel and wipe the steering surface; you may need another towel to dry after cleaning.
Can I Use Leather Cleaner On Steering Wheel?
Yes, but it shouldn’t be just any leather cleaner out there – it must be a leather cleaning solution meant to be used in cleaning cars’ interiors. The basic leather cleaning solution you use in your home may not clean your car’s steering wheel as perfectly as you want.
How Do You Clean A Steering Wheel Without Damaging It?
The best way to clean a steering wheel without damaging it is to use a microfiber towel and wipe the wheel’s surface gently. If you encounter thick dirt, use a soft brush and apply more of the cleaning solution onto the affected surface, then apply little pressure to clean out the thick dirt.
Hopefully, this article explained all you needed to know about cleaning your car’s steering wheel. Conclusively, when shopping for a new steering wheel cleaner, ensure to buy the one that can clean your car’s steering wheel material perfectly.