Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Your Custom Steering Wheel
A routine steering wheel cleaning protects the materials, ensures a consistent grip, and keeps your interior looking fresh. As one of the highest contact points in your ride, regularly removing dirt, oil, and grime is a necessary chore that you should never overlook. Since not every material is created equal, it’s important that you use the correct cleaning products to safeguard the integrity of your wheel.
Here’s how to clean the majority of steering wheel materials, and a few tips for maintaining your ride like a professional detailer.
Know Your Steering Wheel
Ranging from all-natural leather to plastic, each steering wheel material requires a specific cleaning strategy. In general, with any natural material like leather or wood, never use harsh chemical products or aggressive force. With synthetic materials like plastic and resin, any interior detailer or gentle soap will usually do the trick. Whichever material you’re working with, always perform a spot test before completing a comprehensive wheel cleaning.
Approved Cleaning Agents for Common Materials
Natural Leather: If your leather has taken on a shine, it’s time for some care. Use a dedicated leather cleaning and conditioning product. After applying the leather cleaner, gently agitate the surface using a very soft detailing brush. After carefully brushing the leather and stitching, use a microfiber cloth to remove any excess cleanser.
Lacquered Carbon Fiber: With a carbon fiber steering wheel, you’re not actually cleaning the carbon fiber; you’re cleaning the thin layer of lacquer that coats the surface. Since this is the same material used on exterior panels, you can clean your Audi carbon fiber steering wheel with any approved car cleanser/gentle soap and a microfiber cloth.
Alcantara: Since Alcantara will gradually break down with exposure to dirt and the natural oils from your hand, frequent upkeep is necessary. Like leather, only use a dedicated cleaning product that specifies it is safe for Alcantra. After applying the product, rub it in and remove it with a microfiber cloth, then gently brush the fibers to “fluff” them into their original positioning.
Natural Wood: Since wood absorbs moisture, only wash the surface with a very light misting of water or interior detailer. Immediately wipe dry to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood. While it is safe to use a wood polish for cleaning, this can leave a slippery residue on your wheel and should be avoided.
Plastic & Synthetic Resin: Use any interior cleanser or gentle soap and water with a medium brush or microfiber cloth. Unlike other materials, it is usually safe to use a little more pressure while scrubbing resilient plastic materials.
Steering Wheel Maintenance Tips
Frequent cleaning is the easiest way to prevent residue accumulation and premature material breakdown. After polishing up your C8 Corvette steering wheel, you can also preserve the wheel by washing your hands before driving, avoiding eating in the car, and considering purchasing a pair of driving gloves to take your material maintenance to the next level.