How To Clean Leather Steering Wheel

How To Clean Leather Steering Wheel - AutoGlanz AG Car Care

Joe Pritchard |

Your car deserves the best care, and your leather steering wheel is no exception.

Overtime, steering wheels tend to accumulate grime, oils, and contaminants from regular use. 

Our in-depth 2023 guide to cleaning leather steering wheels will show you the most effortless ways to maintain the pristine condition of your wheel.

With the right products, and attention to detail, you can achieve professional results and keep your car's steering wheel looking as good as new.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right leather cleaning agents and avoid harsh chemicals that may cause damage.
  • Always spot test before you clean a leather steering wheel
  • Be careful cleaning a damaged steering wheel 
  • Pay special attention to stitches, creases, and hard-to-reach areas for a thorough clean.
  • Consider applying a high-quality leather conditioner to maintain suppleness and avoid drying out.
  • Establish a regular maintenance routine to keep your leather steering wheel in top condition.

Understanding the Importance of a Clean Steering Wheel

Every time you get in and out of your vehicle - you touch the steering wheel with your hands:

Dirty hands on steering wheel

It should be cleaned regularly to maintain cleanliness and health as dirt and contaminants can build up.

Furthermore, neglected steering wheels are susceptible to accumulation of grime, dirt, and bacteria, deteriorating the leather and affecting the aesthetic and tactile quality. 

Initial Preparations Before Cleaning Your Leather Steering Wheel

Before rolling up your sleeves and tackling the job of cleaning your leather steering wheel, you must first ensure that you are well-prepared with the necessary products and tools.

It's not rocket science - and you can actually do with just 3 products:

That's all you need for the cleaning itself - and then you can consider applying a conditioner. 

Remember to spot test

We see it over and over again:

Steering wheels that have not been cleaned for several years, ending up with so much grime that the original leather wheel has turned all shiny.

In these cases - it is difficult to see whether the original leather is actually intact - before you start cleaning.

Therefore - if that is the case for yours - then remember to test in a non-visible area, so that you don't end up with a wheel with unwanted damage or discolouration. 

The cleaning process in general

In general when cleaning your steering wheel:  

As you prepare your workspace, keep in mind the importance of accessing the steering wheel from a variety of angles, ensuring that each section of the wheel is given equal attention during the cleaning process. A thorough approach is crucial to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Please also consider:

  1. Make sure your vehicle is parked in a well-lit area, preferably under shade to prevent the cleaning solution from drying too quickly on the leather surface.
  2. Consider additional light within the cabin.
  3. Ensure you have ample time and patience to carry out the task. Rushing and cutting corners may lead to a subpar result.
  4. Keep all required tools and products within reach, making it easier to maintain focus and complete the task without unnecessary interruptions.

Selecting the Right Cleaning Agent for Leather

We will keep this short - even though it is important.

When it comes to the best way to clean your leather steering wheel, choosing the most suitable cleaning products is crucial. The materials in your steering wheel are delicate, and using harsh detergents or soaps can damage your leather. 

In general:

  1. Select a dedicated leather cleaner formulated specifically for automotive use.
  2. Use gentle leather brushes and soft microfibre cloths. Avoid using abrasive materials or tools that may harm the leather.
  3. Optional: Use a leather conditioner or UV protectant after the cleaning process to preserve the suppleness and durability of the leather. Additionally, when selecting protective products for your steering wheel, be cautious not to introduce a slippery or greasy surface, which could be dangerous while driving.

ALSO READ: How To Clean Your Leather Seats

The Step-by-Step Process to Deep Cleaning Leather Steering Wheel

OK - Let's get to it - the actual cleaning process along with the products that we recommend.

Start by covering your dashboard, so that you don't get leather cleaner sprayed in unwanted areas. 

You will need the following: 

Auto Glanz Leather Cleanse

 Auto Glanz Leather Cleanse

The product that will clean your leather steering wheel.

Auto Glanz Leather Brush

 Auto Glanz Leather Brush

Leather Brush is a soft brush that can loosen the grime from the steering wheel. 

Auto Glanz Laser Edge 320

Laser Edge 320 Microfibre cloth

Laser edge 320 is a soft microfibre cloth for interior cleaning that cleans and dries excess Leather Cleanse

How To

For a comprehensive clean, spray leather cleaner onto the Auto Glanz Leather Brush, taking care to scrub the leather steering wheel without using excessive force. Once the cleaner has been applied, wipe away any excess residues with a clean microfiber cloth. This process will help in removing stubborn dirt and bacteria that can accumulate on leather steering wheels over time.

If standard cleaning measures prove insufficient, consider incorporating additional scrubbing tools and techniques. For example, a soft toothbrush, sponge or interior scrub pad can be used to access hard-to-reach areas such as stitching and textured surfaces.

Take a look at the grime in this steering that had built up making it look shiny:

Dirty Steering Wheel

And after we cleaned the car's steering wheel - we are back to the original matte factory look:

Steering wheel with grease removed

And that's how you clean grease off a leather steering wheel!

Tips to Protect and Maintain Leather Steering Wheels After Cleaning

Once you have cleaned your leather steering wheel, it is essential to follow proper maintenance routines to keep it in excellent condition.

In general:

For the steering wheel - it is not strictly recommended to give it leather conditioner - and if you do, make sure it is a conditioner that does not make it slippy.

You want as much grip as possible on the steering wheel.


Avoiding Common Cleaning Mistakes

To maintain the integrity of the leather, it is crucial to avoid common leather cleaning mistakes.

That includes:

  • Forgetting to spot test
  • Using harsh chemicals
  • Using a leather conditioner that makes the surface slippery

Simple Routines for Regular Leather Steering Wheel Upkeep

Establishing a routine for regular leather steering wheel maintenance can prevent the build-up of contaminants and effectively preserve the look and feel of your steering wheel. Consider the following steps for a hassle-free leather upkeep routine:

  1. Gently wipe down the steering wheel with a microfiber cloth with a little leather cleanse applied at least once a week. This prevents surface dirt accumulation and maintains cleanliness.
  2. Perform a deep clean of your steering wheel once a month to thoroughly remove embedded grime and refresh the leather. This includes using a leather cleaner, scrubbing with a leather brush - and if you wish - applying leather conditioner.


How often should I clean my leather steering wheel?

It is recommended to clean your leather steering wheel regularly, at least once a month, to maintain its appearance and prevent the buildup of contaminants. This can vary depending on your usage and personal preferences.

What type of cleaner should I use on my leather steering wheel?

Always use a cleaner specifically formulated for leather, such as a Auto Glanz Leather Cleanse. Avoid harsh detergents or all-purpose cleaners that may damage the leather.

Can I use a microfiber cloth for cleaning my leather steering wheel?

Yes, using a clean microfiber cloth is an excellent option for gently agitating and wiping away dirt without causing scratches or damage to the leather surface. 

Can I use steam cleaning for my leather steering wheel?

Yes, steam cleaning is a great option for disinfecting and loosening stubborn dirt on your leather steering wheel. However, their is also a high risk of damaging the leather, which is why we, in general, do not recommend it. 

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