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How to Clean and Protect Your Steering Wheel


Here is a little something about interior cleaning and specifically about steering wheels. As everyone has to constantly hold the steering wheel (obviously), rarely does anyone use gloves or clean their hand every single time. When people touch the same area constantly, dirt and grime build up and becomes very apparent. The most used places in a car…the steering wheel and the driver floor mat!

This could be from women who constantly wear lots of lotion or makeup, men who work in dirty fields or factories, or anyone who doesn’t wash their hands before getting behind the wheel. The accumulation of the grime builds up and forms a layer of dirt that is an eyesore!

With that said, here is how I would normally go about cleaning a dirty steering wheel:

  • Initial wet towel wipe down to start to soften the grime.
  • Optimum Power Clean APC at a 4:1 ratio sprayed on a microfiber towel.
  • Gently rub the wheel in small sections with back and forth motions. Let the APC and the towel do the work.
  • Reapply the APC to the towel as necessary and continue to wipe gently.
  • Once the entire wheel is 99% clean, wipe the wheel in a 360 degree circle in one wipe to make all the cleaning even.
  • Then take a wet towel and wipe down the steering wheel.
  • Finally, add your favorite protectant as necessary. For vinyl I would use the Meguiar’s Quick Interior Detailer. For leather I would use Leatherique Prestine Clean.

Here is a 50/50 shot of the process: top half done, bottom half untouched:

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Eric Schuster Envious Detailing
Eric Schuster
Envious Detailing
Orange County, CA

9 comments on How to Clean and Protect Your Steering Wheel

  1. Well said Eric. I like to use a horse hair brush as well.

  2. Steven Duker says:

    Great write up Eric. Thanks for the info!

  3. Vincent Lawrence says:

    Magic Eraser works great too.

  4. Nightowl says:

    I have an older chevy stock rubber type steering wheel that I cleaned the best I could. I got nearly all the gunk off it but now its sticky? How do I get that sticky feeling gone?
    I have tried kaboom, wet wipes, triflow, hot water and dish soap and nothing changes except now it smells good.
    Any help out there?
    Thank you

  5. tom weider says:

    sprinkle a little talcum powder on it

  6. Golf Hub says:

    “The proper score for a businessman golfer is 90. If he is better than that he is neglecting his business. If he’s worse, he’s neglecting his golf.” -St Andrews Rotary Club Member

  7. Ben says:

    Try using baby wipes. That worked for me.

  8. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  9. Dennis says:

    Don’t you need to caution about not making the steering wheel slippery, such as with ArmorAll on the outer ring of the wheel?

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