How To Clean A Leather Steering Wheel: 3 Effective Ways

Cleaning Your Dirty & Sticky Leather Steering Wheel

Knowing how to clean a leather steering wheel effectively is a good skill to help you get rid of dirt and grime and to keep your wheel looking new
This article shows you how to do so using different methods and products.

You can get more in-depth information about steering wheel cleaners as well as different cleaning methods at the link above

What To Use To Clean Leather Steering Wheel

There are many ways to clean a leather steering wheel to rid of dirt and grime on the surface

These include:

  1. Specialist Leather Cleaning Products
  2. All-Purpose Cleaner
  3. Magic Eraser
  4. Wipes
  5. Rubbing alcohol

Cleaning Leather Steering Wheel With Cleaning Kit

The best way to clean a leather steering wheel is to use a specialist leather cleaning products that are designed for this purpose

Cleaning a leather steering wheel is different from other types like vinyl and plastic and requires a different approach
Similar to cleaning Alcantara Steering wheels, the cleaning process is more specialized
It is however simple enough for anyone to do

Items You Will Need

  • Leather Cleaner
  • Leather Conditioner/Polish
  • Cleaning Sponges
  • Brush (Medium soft bristles)
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Towels
  • Gloves (Optional)
  • Bucket (Container with clean water)

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Cover the steering wheel column, dashboard, and gear area if you want to avoid any spills or accidents
  2. Spray a liberal amount of leather cleaner onto a cleaning sponge
  3. Spread this across the surface of the steering wheel to cover the whole area
  4. Use the brush to scrub the surface in small sections at a time
    This will help to loosen the deeply embedded dirt and grime from the surface in small sections.
  5. Using a damp microfiber cloth, start wiping off the scrubbed surface to remove the dirt
  6. Repeat the above steps if the results are not satisfactory with the first attempt
  7. Once you are satisfied with the cleaning process, leave the steering wheel to dry
  8. Once dried, apply the leather protector using the cloth or sponge or as specified by the supplier
  9. Leave to dry
  10. Some products might require buffing afterward

Using Magic Eraser To Clean Steering Wheel

Using a magic eraser is one of the easiest and best ways to deep clean a leather steering wheel
When combined with an all-purpose cleaning concentrate, the results can be incredible


  1. Put some clean water in a bucket and add a bit of all-purpose detergent
  2. Place the magic eraser inside the soapy water to soak
  3. Wring it out to remove most of the water and then start cleaning the steering wheel
  4. Work in left to right motions, as well as forward and backward, around the circumference
  5. Do this one section at a time before moving to the next
  6. Wring out the eraser and rinse in clean water and wring out to remove soap
  7. Repeat the cleaning process, but this time using the eraser with clean water
  8. Next, use a clean damp microfiber cloth to wipe off any remaining residue on the wheel
  9. Leave to dry
  10. This should return the leather steering wheel close to its original matt condition
  11. Apply a leather conditioner or protector if available this will help to prevent dirt and oils from penetrating the surface
  12. In severe cases, use a suitable scrubbing brush to loosen embedded dirt and grime

When using a magic eraser you should do so with caution on older and worn-out leather

Cleaning With Alcohol

Although leather can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol in a diluted form, it is not the recommended way

There are far too many specialist products on the market to effectively do so

If you’re unable to achieve satisfactory results with conventional products, you might want to try alcohol


  1. Dilute some rubbing alcohol with water (50%)
  2. Dab a cotton ball or other suitable fabric inside the solution
  3. You should test a small section first to gauge the effectiveness and possible damage (dilute further if required)
  4. Start applying to the affected area and gently rub to remove stubborn grease and grime
  5. Repeat if necessary until the desired results are achieved
  6. Apply a leather cream or conditioner afterward to replenish the leather


  • Alcohol can cause damage if used undiluted
  • Will dry out the surface 
  • Can leave a whitish bleach stain behind
  • It is a health hazard when inhaling as well as on the skin

Can You Use Baby Wipes To Clean Leather Steering Wheel?

While baby wipes are good for the skin and general surfaces, it is not the best option to clean leather.

There are many special car wipes that are specifically designed for this purpose

While some people might swear by it, the active ingredients are not suitable for leather products


In conclusion, leather steering wheels look amazing when cleaned and can look great for many years.

The above methods should keep them looking their best and like new again

All it takes is the right product and cleaning methods

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