How To Clean and Restore Steering Wheel Leather

Being an essential part of your vehicle, your steering wheel is often the dirtiest part of your car. As a result of daily usage steering wheels get coated with body oils, sweat, dirt from our hands, and even body lotion. 

Over time, these fluids make your steering wheel look stained, feel sticky, and cause it to peel eventually. Asides the damage done to the steering wheel leather, the fluids attached to your steering wheel may cause health challenges if neglected for long. 

In this guide, you will find the most effective way to keep your steering leather looking good as new. I have also included three effective steering wheel cleaners and conditioners that will help you clean and protect your leather steering wheel.

Let’s get started!

What Can I Use To Clean Leather Steering Wheel?

To clean the leather steering wheel, the best product to use is the leather interior cleaners, conditioners, and microfiber towels.

Best Car Steering Wheel Leather Cleaners & Conditioners

As you already know, the brand of leather steering wheel cleaners and conditioners you use also contribute to how good your steering wheel looks. Below are my recommendations for the best cleaners for leather steering wheels. I have used them for a long time, and they never make me down.

Chemical Guys SPI-109-16

Chemical Guys SPI-109-16 Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

Meguiar's G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

Meguiar’s G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

Swan 70% Rubbing Alcohol

Armor All Leather Cleaner and Protectant

How To Clean Leather Steering Wheel Grime

Steering wheels can get stained or feel sticky over time. Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in automobile to clean it up. All you need to do is pay attention to details and choose the right steering wheel cleaner for your leather. 

To get rid of stains, you will need: 

Step 1: Apply steering wheel cleaner on your brush 

We recommend that you spray your steering wheel cleaner on your brush instead of directly to your steering wheel leather. This is to prevent the liquid from damaging the sensitive parts of your leather.

Step 2: Clean the steering wheel 

Secondly, apply just the right amount of pressure while cleaning the steering with your brush. If you scrub too hard, you risk scuffing your leather. 

Clean a particular spot in slow, precise movements before heading on to the next spot. If you do it hastily, it will look patchy and unprofessional. Cleaning a steering wheel is easy, but if you may not get the expected results if you do it wrong. 

Step 3: Wipe off excesses 

If you are satisfied with the spot you have cleaned, wipe off the excess steering wheel cleaner with a disposable microfiber towel. Do this immediately after you are done with the spot. Otherwise, the product would dry off and leave you with an even bigger stain. 

You should use microfiber towels for cleaning to avoid transferring stains to the cleaned steering wheel.

Step 4: Inspect thoroughly 

Once you have wiped off the excess cleaner from your wheel it’s time to carefully inspect your leather steering wheel. If there is a spot you missed, repeat the first three procedures until the stain is gone. 

Step 5: Apply leather steering wheel conditioners

Finally, apply a conditioner or protectant on the steering. Using conditioners and protectants on your leather steering wheel keeps it safe from UV rays and will give you an impressive finish.

Buy needed tools below to clean your steering wheel leather:

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaning Kit

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaning Kit

Chemical Guys Microfiber Towels

Chemical Guys Microfiber Towels

How do you get dead skin off a leather steering wheel?

Frankly, the best way to restore a peeling leather steering wheel is to replace it. However, if you’re trying to avoid costs, we have outlined ten (10) easy steps you can clean and restore your peeling leather steering yourself. 

Need materials:

  • Masking tape 
  • Masking film
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 320 or 400 grit sandpaper 
  • Linseed oil 
  • Leather steering wheel cleaner 
  • Microfiber towels 
  • Leather filler 
  • Leather dye 
  • Sponge and gloves 

Step 1: Cover the dashboard and non-leather parts of the steering wheel 

First spread the masking film over your car’s dashboard and non-leather parts of the steering wheel. This action protects the components from the steering wheel cleaners that would most likely stain them. 

Buy masking film and masking tape below:

3M Hand-Masker Advanced Masking Film

3M Hand-Masker Advanced Masking Film

3M Automotive Refinish Masking Tape

3M Automotive Refinish Masking Tape

Step 2: Clean the steering wheel 

As it is with a normal leather steering wheel, clean your peeling leather following the procedures outlined in the preceding section. The only thing you would not do is applying a conditioner or protectant.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Using the 400 grit sandpaper, remove the flakes from the steering wheel by scrubbing them. Do not be alarmed when you start seeing holes in the leather. 

Buy grit sandpaper below:

Dura-Gold 400 Grit Sandpaper

Dura-Gold 400 Grit Sandpaper

Step 4: Apply the linseed oil 

Use your microfiber to apply the Linseed oil to your leather steering wheel. Use sparingly and ensure that the wheel does not become greasy after you have finished. Let the oil dry off for 10 minutes before you continue. 

Step 5: Fill holes with leather filler 

The leather filler will be used to fill out the holes in the uneven parts of your leather steering wheel. Keep doing this until you get an even surface. 

Step 6: Even it out with the sandpaper 

Pay more attention to the areas that you just filled out and use your sandpaper to scrub until the steering wheel has a more even feel and look. 

Step 7: Wipe off cleaners on the steering wheel 

Use your microfiber towel to eliminate flake, filler, or sandpaper residue that is still on the steering wheel. 

Step 9: Apply adhesion promoter 

Adhesion promoter adds color to the leather steering wheel, helps the color last longer, and makes it easier for dye application.

Step 10: Apply leather dye 

For this process, you would need the gloves and the sponge to apply the dye. Start with a small quantity and carefully apply the dye in circular motions. Increase the amount until you get the right color of your leather steering wheel. 

That’s all. Allow the steering to dry, or use a hairdryer to dry more quickly.

How to clean suede leather steering wheel

Is cleaning a leather steering wheel with alcohol safe?

No, cleaning a leather steering wheel with alcohol is not safe. Alcohol can strip away the natural oils from the leather, leaving it dry and brittle. Over time, this can cause the leather to crack and peel. Instead, use car leather cleaners and conditioners to clean and care for your leather steering wheel.

Sum up

You need to put in some effort to protect your steering wheel leather from peeling, feeling sticky, or getting stained. l If you do not clean it regularly, your leather steering wheel will lose its color, look dirty, or peel. Also, the accumulation on the steering can be bad for your health. So, protect yourself and your steering wheel by cleaning it regularly.

See also: How To Clean Leather Car Seats

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