A steering wheel can be the filthiest component in a car. It accumulates grime, oil, and other debris from your hands quicker than other interior parts. How you clean a sticky steering wheel requires precision. More so, you can damage it if you don’t know the best approach to use.
The steering wheel can be sticky for several reasons: juice and jam spills or driving with dirty or sweaty hands. No matter the cause, you can clean it easily, provided you have the suitable materials.
Put on your gloves and scroll down to learn how to clean a sticky steering wheel.
How to Clean a Sticky Steering Wheel
1. Cleaning with water and a degreaser
Dampen a sponge in water and squeeze out the excess liquid. Rub the sponge over the sticky vinyl steering wheel to clear debris and dust.
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Apply a degreaser on a stiff brush and rub the steering wheel, a small area at a time. Don’t apply the product on the steering. It can run down the crevices or other electronic components. An Oxo good grips clean brush will be ideal for getting into the steering gaps and edges.
Be careful not to smear the degreaser on other car components. Also, ensure the brush isn’t too hard since it could wear down and discolor the steering wheel.
You can also use Scotch-Brite pads to remove the sticky dirt.
2. Cleaning with water and soda
Mix equal portions of water and soda. Spray the mixture liquid over the vinyl steering wheel and let it rest for about ten minutes.
Wipe the steering wheel with a rug to remove the sticky mess and the mixture. It is best to wipe the wheel after every small section you clean and apply vinyl. This will ensure a uniform finish and prevent the surface from drying while gunky.
How to clean a leather steering wheel
Sometimes, a steering wheel can be oily with a sticky stain’s feel. Stains can occur over time, wearing out the steering’s leather surface and causing a shiny dirt appearance.
The good news is that regular cleaning is the best remedy to get rid of dirt buildup on leather.
Step 1: You will need dish soap, a rag, warm water, and a magic eraser to remove the shining dirt. Put the warm water in a basin and add a few soap drops.
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Step 2: Soak the rug and wring it out to prevent water from entering the electrical components. Scrub the leather surface gently and wipe the surface afterward.
Step 3: If this doesn’t leave the surface clean and shiny, apply a magic eraser to buff the stain. Apply a leather cleaner on a brush and scrub the steering wheel gently.
Step 4: After the steering wheel is clean and dry, it is wise to add a protection layer. Achieving this will prevent it from getting sticky again. Use a UV protectant like Aerospace 303 protectant, and be sure to re-apply regularly.
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UV rays can break down vinyl plastics or leather, creating a sticky surface and speeding up the rate of stain accumulation. Use a leather conditioner for extra protection if the steering wheel is leather-made.
Be sure to leverage a windshield protector when parking in direct sunlight. You can also install a UV-broking tint to block UV-rays and keep the car’s interior cooler.
Alternatively, you can apply a Cerakote Trim Coat restorer for a long-term solution if the steering surface is plastic. The product will restore and protect the sun-damaged surface.
How to clean and restore a worn-out leather steering wheel
Even with the suitable material, cleaning a worn-out steering wheel leather is tough. It is worthwhile to restore the peeled surface before washing. This will help get rid of allergens and stickiness quickly.
Step 1: Cover the car’s interior surfaces with a sheet or a plastic tarp to prevent messing up the seats and dashboard. Afterward, clean the steering wheel surface with a rubbing alcohol-based wipe until all impurities come off.
Step 2: Cover the buttons and any plastic bits of the steering wheel with masking tape. Apply a 400-grit sandpaper sheet to scrub the surface and remove flakes on the worn-out leather. Doing this will leave the surface with some microscopic scratches.
Step 3: Apply a leather filler to coat the steering wheel’s uneven sections. Sand the worn leather again with the 400-grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface. Clean the wheel to remove the filler, flakes, and other residues before wiping it.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cleaning a Steering Wheel
How to clean a white leather steering wheel?
The method for cleaning white leather is the same as that of other leather steering wheels. The only difference is you will need to clean the white leather often to prevent yellowing grime.
Why does the steering wheel feel stiff?
Lack of enough steering wheel fluid can make it stiff, but you can fix the problem by refilling the power steering tank and repairing hoses if they are leaking.
Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean the steering wheel?
Following the above tactics will revamp the steering wheel and leave it feeling smooth and good as new again if the stickiness is mild.
What can I use to disinfect the steering wheel?
Clorox wipes are ideal disinfectant wipes you can use to clean and remove allergens from your car’s steering wheel while leaving a fantastic scent. But again, be gentle while using them since they can be a wee bit aggressive on the leather surface.
Can you use baby wipes to clean a leather steering wheel?
It is unwise to wipe a leather steering will with baby wipes since they are alkaline that can damage the finish. A practical and safe substance to use is isopropyl with 70% alcohol or higher.
You now know how to clean a sticky steering wheel using the above steps. But again, the crux of it is to ensure you regularly wash with the right products, following the recommended steps. This way, the steering wheel will last longer without wearing or looking dull.