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How to Clean Leather Steering Wheel?

The steering wheel of your car is the part which we touch the most with bare hands. With time the leather accumulates dirt, grime and oils from our body and the outside making it look oily, grimy and dull.

Natural leather should have a matte appearance. If it appears to be oily it means it has grime and oil-build up. Moreover, the color of the leather also tends to fade over time due to UV rays.

To maintain the natural shine of your leather steering wheel with time you should clean it every few months to prevent damage and dirt buildup.

How To Clean Your Leather Steering Wheel In 6 Simple Steps

The ideal way to clean a leather steering wheel is to cover the other parts of your car, then take a leather cleaner into a soft cloth, rub it gently to wipe off any dirt and then top it off with a leather conditioner or leather sealant.

Clean Leather Steering Wheel

Here’s what you should do:

1. Cover Other Parts of Your Vehicle

As we proceed with cleaning the steering wheel, the very first thing that you would do is cover the adjacent parts, including the dashboard, the front seat and gauge cluster and turn signals to protect them from accidental spills and casting residues.

Cover the dashboard with a piece of cloth. Then take a towel or a larger piece of cloth and cover the front seats. You also need to cover the electronic gauge cluster and the turn signals, as dirt and grime may stick to the nook and corners. And do not forget the windshield wipers.

By using this technique, you may thoroughly clean the steering wheel without damaging any other components of the vehicle. In addition, it will keep the other parts of your vehicle covered against overspray and slinging dirt particles.

2. Take Some Leather Cleaner Into a Soft Cloth

As you would do while cleaning a sofa or carpet, you need to take a soft cloth and some leather cleaner. We recommend using microfiber cloth to avoid any scratches or a horsehair brush.

Since the leather used in the automobile industry has pH 5, we recommend using a leather cleaner with close pH levels. You may use a cleaner made for leather shoes if you don’t have a car leather cleaner in hand.

However, using an all purpose cleaner is a big no no as they can mess up with the leather and cause permanent damage. We also recommend using foam or spray cleaner as they are much easier to work with.

Their consistency helps them easily spread over the surface and cause minimum spillage. Just be a little cautious and spray from a closer distance while using a spray cleaner to avoid mess.

3. Thoroughly Clean Your Leather Steering Wheel

Now take some leather cleaner into the microfiber cloth and directly apply it onto the leather steering wheel. Using gentle pressure wipe off any dirt or grime build up with the cloth.

Be as gentle as possible to prevent any rough handling. Don’t scrub as this can cause minor scratches instead use circular motions to wipe off any dirt residues.

For the hard to reach corner, you may use a different kind of brush instead of the cloth. There are horsetail brushes and boar hair brushes you may choose anyone depending on your budget.

Never use a hard bristle brush like a toothbrush or shoe polisher as this can cause potential damage to the leather surface. Slowly clean the nook and corners. Make sure you don’t oversaturate the leather with the cleaning solution.

4. Let the Leather Steering Wheel Dry Off

Next step involves complete drying of the leather. You must use a clean cloth, preferably microfiber cloth to wipe off any residues of the leather cleaner.

Clean the surface until you see any dirty spots or sheen on the surface. To speed up the drying process you can leave your car’s door open. Also, you may use a hair dryer but on the low-heat setting to quickly dry the leather steering wheel.

Make sure the leather is 100% dry before moving on to the next step

5. Apply a Leather Conditioner of Your Choice

Moving forward, you will now take a leather conditioner of your choice to replenish the oils of it. This will protect it from cracking, fading and minor abrasions and makes it durable.

We advise using a sponge for the application but you can also do it with any lint-free cloth. Take a dime size amount not too much. Coat the leather steering wheel with a thin layer, don’t overdo it.

Gently apply the conditioner all over the surface. Make sure you reach every side of the leather steering wheel.

6. Wipe off the Excess Leather Conditioner From Your Steering Wheel

Use the dry side of the sponge or the cloth and buff out the excess conditioner from the surface. It will remove any streaks or unattractive marks.

Now take a dry cloth, preferably microfiber and give it a rub for the last time to bring out that polished leather look. Your steering wheel will look all new, clean, dry with a nice sheen on it.


A lot of you ask, how often should you clean your leather steering wheel? A short answer to this is, every few months. However, if you live in a warm environment, moisture, dirt and grime build-up is very common. In that case, you should clean it more frequently.

If you want to disinfect your leather steering wheel, use mild soap and warm solution. And stay away from regular disinfectants since they contain high amounts of isopropyl alcohol which can be damaging for leather causing it to dry and crack.

Also, don’t use household cleaning products for cleaning a leather steering wheel. Use a proper leather cleaner, gently rub it in circular motions then wipe it off with a clean cloth. Top it off with a leather sealant or leather conditioner.

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