How to clean an old steering wheel (Best methods)

How to clean an old steering wheel

Cleaning your car’s old steering wheel is tricky, especially if you don’t know how to clean an old steering wheel. An old car’s steering wheel requires regular cleaning as, over time, harmful elements like bacteria, dirt, and body oils build up since it is the most touched part of the vehicle.

Car owners who have old cars think it is important to keep the exterior clean. But they neglect to clean the car interior, especially the steering wheel, which is a hotspot for bacteria. We will teach you how to clean a steering wheel using this article’s best tools and methods.

Why you should clean an old steering wheel

Most owners of older cars who have driven their cars for thousands of kilometer’s tend not to clean their steering wheels. If a person had been taking care of his car for years, he would surely take care of every inch of the car, whether its interior or exterior, since cars are expensive investments, and not taking care of them can decrease their resale value.

How to clean an old steering wheel

It is awful to try to turn the steering wheel in a car and hold on to it because it is so clumsy. Dirt and bacteria can accumulate from all kinds of weird and unusual places on the steering wheel. In addition to being dirtier, slippery steering wheels can also make it difficult to control your vehicle, making driving less enjoyable and affecting your steering ability in certain cases.

According to Multi-clean, keeping the old steering wheel clean for health reasons is essential. As we know, the steering wheel is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. It is just disgusting to think of eating something after touching it. Moreover, it is one of the few things people look at when getting into a car.

Identify the material of the steering wheel

How to clean an old steering wheel

Before cleaning the steering wheel, it is crucial to identify its material. Various materials make steering wheels, such as plastic, polyurethane, synthetic resin, and leather. Finding out what kind of material the steering wheel is made of can help you decide which cleaning agent to use. There are specific cleaning guidelines for each, so be careful. For details on the material of your steering wheel, refer to your owner’s manual or visit the manufacturer’s website.

How to clean an old steering wheel

You can easily clean steering wheels by using a few simple items. If you perform regular maintenance on your steering wheel or thoroughly clean it, your old steering wheel will look brand new! Just follow the steps below.

Supplies and tools needed for cleaning

How to clean an old steering wheel

You can pretty much use whatever you want to clean the steering wheel. You can use whatever works for you, and there is no set of tools to make it easier. With my experience, I normally use an all-purpose cleaner and a brush of some kind.

Method 1: Rinsing off daily dirt

Step 1: Pick a cleaning solution suitable for a particular steering wheel

Different cars use different materials for their steering wheels. The most common steering wheel material is faux leather, but you can also choose from plastic, wood, or genuine leather. Check your owner’s manual to find out what materials to use and how to clean them.

  • In the faux leather or plastic steering wheel, make a solution by mixing 3 parts all-purpose cleaner with 1 part water.
  • In the case of natural wood: If your steering wheel is made from wood, you can wood polish it. You should see a wood grain pattern on it.
  • In the case of the leather steering wheel: If the steering wheel is leather, use a leather cleaner or conditioner. Check your owner’s manual if you’re unsure whether your leather is faux or genuine.

Pro- Tip:

To be safe, use the leather cleaner if you are unsure. You can use it on various surfaces without damaging them, and leather cleaners are very gentle. You can even use it to clean the entire interior of your vehicle.

Step 2: Apply the cleaning solution to a microfiber towel

If your cleaner is not already in a spray bottle, pour it into one. Cleanse the towel until it feels damp to the touch by spraying the cleaner into the center.


Make sure not to spray the cleaner directly onto the steering wheel, or it might get caught behind the dashboard.

Step 3: Scrub the wheel with the towel

Hold the towel in your hand and place it on top of the wheel. Clean the wheel by turning the towel from front to back. Clean the wheel around the entire surface and wherever dirt and grime have accumulated.


  • While cleaning, avoid applying too much pressure, which might lift the colors.
  • Make sure you clean the wheel center as well.

STEP 4: Use a wet cloth to remove the cleaner

How to clean an old steering wheel

Wash a clean washcloth with water and squeeze it out. Pick up any dirt or cleaner accumulated in the areas you have just cleaned. By doing this, you avoid coming into contact with any chemical cleaners as soon as you get back into a car.


In the absence of an extra cleaning cloth, use paper towels.

Step 5: Take another microfiber towel to dry the steering wheel

Dry off your steering wheel with a microfiber towel immediately after wiping the steering wheel with water. After it is dried, the wheel should appear new and shiny.

Method 2: Cleaning the old steering wheel like an expert

Step 1: Clean the stitches with a brush or soft toothbrush

How to clean an old steering wheel

The use of a soft toothbrush or interior brush is important for how to clean an old steering wheel. Sweep the steering wheel in small circles after spraying or dipping the brush in the cleaner. You should see bubbles forming as the cleaner penetrates. Concentrate on dirt-covered areas and stitching. Remove the cleaner from the steering wheel by wiping it with a damp cloth.


  • When scrubbing, don’t put too much pressure on the wheel, or you’ll damage it.
  • Using a scrub pad instead of a brush is a good idea.

Step 2: Use a steam machine to clean the wheel (if you have one)

How to clean an old steering wheel

Put distilled water into the steam machine and start it. Spray the steering wheel surface and wipe it with a microfiber cloth using your single-hole sprayer. Make sure you kill all bacteria on the steering wheel by spraying. After you’ve cleaned the wheel, dry it with a microfiber towel.

Step 3: Have your car cleaned by a professional

Try to find a car wash in your area that offers interior and exterior cleaning. Next, have your car serviced by them. They will clean the steering wheel and make sure your car smells good and looks good.

How to clean different types of old steering wheels

It is critical to identify the surface or material of an old or used car steering wheel before cleaning it. Check out the different types of steering wheel materials so that you know what your car steering wheel is made of;

Cleaning Plastic Steering Wheels

Tools needed;

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Dry cloth
  • Sprayer

How to clean an old steering wheel

Most entry-level vehicles are equipped with plastic steering wheels. This one is the easiest to clean among all types of steering wheels. Alternatively, use the sprayer to apply the liquid soap to the wheel’s surface, making sure not to spray the liquid on the buttons. To clean the wheel, all you have to do is spray the solution on it, rinse it with water, and then wipe it dry with a clean cloth.

Cleaning Leather steering wheel

Typically, leather is seen in vehicles of the highest quality and provides the greatest comfort level. As soap and water can damage leather, you should use a leather cleaner or conditioner instead. Don’t spray directly onto the steering wheel, but rather onto the cloth (or microfiber towel). If you use too much force to clean it, you may scratch its surface. Before using the chemical, you should let it dry first.

Natural wood steering wheel cleaning

How to clean an old steering wheel

In modern vehicles, wood steering wheels are rare, but old vehicles may still have wooden inserts in the steering wheel. To keep it clean and protected, use wood polish. Putting too much pressure can scratch the surface rather than protect it. A microfiber cloth is recommended when cleaning the wheel, as it prevents scratches and rubbing from damaging it. Additionally, it lifts dirt off the wheel.

Cleaning imitation leather steering wheel

Faux leather, also known as imitation leather, is the most popular type of steering wheel. Cleaning this material is easy with plain soap and water, but you can also use chemicals to enhance its appearance. You should thoroughly clean them since they often have fake stitches that collect dirt and grime.

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How to clean an old steering wheel (Best methods)
How to clean an old steering wheel (Best methods)

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