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08 Oct 2010 | Text by Richie Setiawan | Category: Car Maintenance Advice

Steering wheel is one of the main elements in driving a car. Therefore, getting rid of dirt on it is pretty recommended for the sake of a joyful driving experience and performance.


One of the key points while driving a car is the pleasure of driving it. The cleaner a car drives, the more favourable a car is. But a joyful driving does not come with a dirty steering wheel. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the cleanliness of the steering wheel.

Over time, dirt may gather on the steering wheel of a car. Even though it is almost impossible to see dirt with our bare eyes, it will disrupt driving performance and the pleasure of the driver in most cases, especially when they are sensitive to dust.

Fortunately, it is quite easy to get rid of the dirt on the steering wheel. As a matter of fact, you can even use self-made material to clean your steering wheel.

What to know

First of all, you will need to take into consideration the material that makes the steering wheel. There are cars out there that are either equipped with a plastic steering wheel or with leather upholstery.

In the case of a textured plastic steering wheel, it is often the case that the owner of the car can find black dirt sticking on the part where the wheel is grabbed the most. This is usually the 3-o'clock and the 9-o'clock position. This can also be found on steering wheel that comes covered with suede, synthetic or even genuine leather material, causing a rather annoying sight.

Although some car owners try to make use of an instant hand sanitizer before they drive their car, it is still not an ideal solution. The steering wheel will still get dirty due to the sweat or the oil produced by hands while grabbing the wheel. This is when dust particles or microscopic dirt will stick onto the steering wheel by means of the driver's sweat.

With that being said, you will have to realise that there is only one solution to this problem - to clean the steering wheel periodically. Fortunately, you are able to do this without the help of others. Acquiring car grooming companies will no longer be necessary as well.

Nonetheless, there may be slight differences between cleaning steering wheels that are made of plastic and leather. However, the basic principles remain the same. The difference is mainly on the types of cleaners used.

Plastic steering wheel

Cleaning materials required:

  • You may use plastic or vinyl cleaning materials - often in the form of liquid - for this kind of steering wheels. There are a couple of brands you can use for the cleaning material. Some examples are Turtle Wax F21, Autoglym Super Sheen or the Meguiar's Quick Interior Detailer.
  • Fortunately, for those who are not quite willing to spend such a sum of money, you can make the cleaning materials yourself. The things you will need include warm water and shampoo that you use every day. Yet, it is important that the mix is not too slimy, otherwise the steering wheel may end up being too sticky.
  • You may also need to prepare a sprayer tube, a toothbrush and a clean soft cloth or microfiber. This allows you to clean the narrow and difficult-to-reach parts.

What to do:
  1. You will need to spray the cleaning liquid onto the steering wheel equally.
  2. Let the steering wheel sit for a few minutes before wiping it with the piece of cloth prepared earlier. You will need to wipe it softly until it's clean.
  3. However, if it does not work well, spraying the steering wheel again with the cleaning liquid will be good enough. Then, softly brushing it with the toothbrush prepared is necessary. Lastly, you will have to wipe it dry by means of a dry piece of cloth.
Leather steering wheel

Cleaning materials required:
  • In this case, the use of cleaning liquid especially designed for leather material is necessary. Some examples are the Turtle Wax Leather Cleaner, Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner or the Astonish Car Care.
  • You may need to prepare a sprayer tube, a shoe or a paint brush, a toothbrush and a clean soft cloth or microfiber.

What to do
  1. You will need to clean the steering wheel surface by means of the shoe or paint brush prepared earlier. This is intended to remove dust or soft dirt particles from the steering wheel.
  2. Spraying the cleaning liquid onto the steering wheel equally can then be done. Let the wheel sit for a few minutes and then wipe it softly using the toothbrush prepared.
  3. Following that, wipe the steering wheel dry using a soft and dry piece of cloth.
  4. Additionally, spraying a conditioner onto the wheel may be a good idea. This is intended to dampen the leather material of the steering wheel.
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