How To Choose And Use The Best Steering Wheel Cleaner – J. D. Power

Different criteria will influence your choice of vehicle. When talking about the inside of a vehicle, things like steering wheel or upholstery will spring to mind, as they complement the overall aesthetics. Your steering wheel will become dirty after extensive usage, which can surely make it look worse for wear from a passenger’s point of view. To avoid that, you need a good cleaner. Let’s take a look at your options.  

How To Choose And Use The Best Steering Wheel Cleaner

Why Does Your Steering Wheel Need Special Attention?

When you use your vehicle every day, you touch your steering wheel all over, and whatever is on your hands also gets on the steering wheel. Some grease and sweat after a long nervous drive in traffic jams, something left from a coffee and a quick bite, or even a full breakfast you had behind the wheel; some oil, dirt, and dust from your hands if you got out on the road to pour windshield washer or change the tire. The wheel’s surface is like a smartphone screen – a permanently unclean spot and an excellent home for bacteria colonies. The facts above also relate to the shift knob, so do not forget to clean it after you’re done with your wheel.

If the wheel gets oily, you can use the same wet wipes you clean your hands with regard to hygienic purposes. Antibacterial gels or wipes containing alcohol are not suitable for leather – you know how quickly they dry up the skin on the hands when used frequently. They also dry the leather surface and cause wear-out and cracks, so don’t do it too often. Instead, buy special interior wipes at the gas station shop.  

How to pick The Best Cleaner

The first thing to consider when cleaning a steering wheel is the material. Plastic, faux leather, natural or synthetic resin, rubber, suede, Alcantara, wood, vinyl could potentially require different cleaners.

Various detergents are widely sold online and in gas stations or auto shops. Few products help with steering wheel cleaning; most are meant for other interior elements. The label usually says “interior cleaner” and specifies what materials it is suitable for, so you can find out if it works for your wheel.  

When choosing the best cleaner, always read customer reviews. We listed some top products suitable for wheel cleaning according to customer reviews on Amazon:

  • Car Guys Super Cleaner . A universal cleaner suitable for PU, faux and genuine leather, vinyl, plastic, rubber, and finished wood steering wheels. It’s also suitable for canvas, carpet, and metal car components.  
  • Chemical Guys . They have a wide product line, including a specific detergent for leather called Leather Cleaner & Conditioner and a Total Interior Cleaner and Protector meant for leather-based, vinyl, cloth, carpet, plastic, wood, chrome, rubber, and more.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer. It is an universal liquid safe for most surfaces and contains UV protection. The company furthermore produces the best-rated items for leather, like Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner Wipes.
  • Adam’s Leather and Interior Solution and Leather Conditioner . A lovely duo for the natural leather wheels’ surfaces.
  • Plexus Plastic Cleanser And Polish . Perfect for plastic surfaces.
  • Armor All Interior Car Cleaner Spray . Product working at best for rubber, vinyl, and plastic.
  • Sonax Upholstery and Alcantara cleaner . Great for Alcantara wheels.
  • TriNova Leatherette, Vinyl and Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner with the advanced faux buckskin restoration formula.

How To Clean Your Steering Wheel 

  1. Take the cleaner bottle and microfiber cloth. First, wipe the wheel with a clean cloth to remove dust and some solid particles.  
  2. Spray or pour some cleaner on the cloth, plus wipe the surface accurately with round movements to get in all hard-to-access places. Do not pour too much, as the fabric needs to be moist but not wet. To remove some deeper stains, leave it for twenty minutes. The extra drops could stick in the pits until these people dry out.
  3. If you have a perforated leather steering wheel, you need to wipe its surface and clean up these tiny perforations as they stain along with grease and dirt. Use a soft toothbrush or inside brush. This instrument is also perfect for other pits and grooves, which accumulate dirt. But don’t press too firmly; even the soft bristles can leave tiny scratches upon some materials. If you have a synthetic resin steering wheel, you can first use special shampoo dissolved in water. For suede wheel surfaces, never use anything apart from special foam cleaner explicitly meant for suede.
  4. Use a disinfectant spray if you are concerned about bacteria and viruses.
  5. Polish the steering wheel with a dry towel. You can also make use of paper towels for this. Spread the particular towel with both hands like you are steering and polish with round movements from top to bottom or in full circles clockwise and counterclockwise. It helps to remove extra moisture and makes the wheel shine.


Like smartphone touchscreens plus laptop keyboards, the steering wheel in your car needs regular care to keep it clean, new and pleasant to touch for as long as possible. There are many cleaners, most of which are universal for all materials plus car interiors. Use a microfiber cloth and a soft brush to clean the wheel according to the instructions, and then polish it with a towel to make it dry and shiny. To choose the best one for your wheel, start with the material it is made of and then read customer evaluations carefully.

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