How To Clean A Steering Wheel Cover

Posted by: Mike on May 29th, 2022.
Reading time 3 minutes.


Interested in learning how to clean a steering wheel cover and restore it to its maximum possible glory? There are a few necessary steps you’ll need to take.


The end result could still be lacking, depending on how old it's current cover is and whether it was previously maintained (and how).


While this article will walk you through the steps on how to clean and condition your steering wheel cover, eventually you'll need to replace that cover. If, after reading this, you determine that's the preferred course of action for you, you've definitely come to the right place! :)


Either way - the best way to clean a steering wheel cover is to remove any dust and lint, wash off any stains, and then condition the steering wheel cover.


Preliminary Cleaning of a Steering Wheel Cover

A steering wheel cover is a nice interior upgrade. However, like any other piece of your vehicle's interior, it will only look good if it's clean.


To clean a leather steering wheel cover, you don't need to do much. The only required leather steering wheel cover cleaning supplies are a sponge or cloth and a leather cleaner of your choice.


Make sure you spray the steering wheel cleaner on the sponge or cloth, and not directly on the steering wheel! Particles of the cleaner will make it to your gauge cluster. Regardless of whether it's electronic or analog, that's one of the last places where you want any moisture in!


If your material choice is Alcantara or another suede-like material, some particles of dust might be lodged in the hairs of the suede/Alcantara. Try a gentle brush instead of a cloth. It will give you more rubbing power while remaining gentle to the surface of your steering wheel.


Removing Heavier Stains and Grime

If you’re trying to a maintain a leather steering wheel cover, a steam machine is a great way to remove bacteria from the leather. Choose a steam machine with a single-hole nozzle. Fill it with distilled water and put it on the medium setting, then spray the steering wheel. Work your way around the entire wheel, wiping the moisture off with a microfiber cloth.


Consider using a leather degreaser. It comes as an aerosol spray which draws out the grease and oil and transforms them into a dry powder. Spray it on a microfiber towel (make sure it's damp, not soaked) and rub it into the wheel.


After it coalesces into powder, wipe the steering whel with a clean towel to remove the powder. If the powder is yellow, repeat until a subsequent application of the degreaser yields a white powder. White powder means the oil is gone. Yellow means there's still some left on the leather.


Once degreased, clean the steering wheel with leather cleaner again, gently wipe it with a clean wet cloth, and finish with a dry cloth.


Things do go uphill quickly if your steering wheel is Alcantara, however. There are a plethora of Alcantara cleaners whose application depends on the type of stain. Alcantara themselves publish a detailed Alcantara stain removal guide. Make sure you refer to that article when dealing with a persistent stain.


A bristle brush (ideally a detailing brush) with a little water and soap or washing liquid will remove most stains. Some will require a fabric cleaner that can break down the oils, dirt and grime by virtue of its chemical composition.


Again, refer to Alcantara's stain removal guide for details. You want to use a bristle brush rather than a cloth or sponge. Why? Because the brush will restore the raised hairs of Alcantara without flattening them. Make sure to use the cleaning solution sparingly to avoid saturating the material with the cleaner.



There are a host of leather conditioners available on the market today, and we prefer not to make direct recommendations. Just remember, you want something neutral in color if your stitching is different colored than the underlying leather. Squeeze a dime-sized amount into the palm of your hand and massage it into the wheel. Let it dry (check the application guidance on the product you've chosen) and wipe off any excess with a clean towel.


Alcantara does not provide any conditioning guidance for their product. Once done with cleaning and stain removal, there's nothing more you need to do with an Alcantara steering wheel.


If your steering wheel is nubuck or suede, make sure to use a respective water leather protector. Since they are usually spray-on and leave a lasting smell, make sure to air your vehicle thoroughly (unless you applied it after having removed the steering wheel from the car.) That also explains why nubuck and suede steering wheels are not a great solution - assuming you'd want yours conditioned, of course. :)



If the above steps didn't restore your steering wheel to the condition you find acceptable, replacing the outside layer of the wheel with a new steering wheel cover is the only remedy. We have been manufacturing top quality leather and Alcantara steering wheel covers since 1999, so you are definitely in good hands if you decide to shop for your new steering wheel cover with us! Browse steering wheels for popular vehicles like Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Camaro, Mazda Miata, and more!


We take pride in our manufacturing process, providing a product that is of the highest quality. A small, family-owned business with heart — you can trust RedlineGoods to make leather steering wheels that fit like they’re straight out of the factory. RedlineGoods’ focus on customer service ensures you’ll never have to worry about your RedlineGoods leather steering wheel cover! Our steering wheel covers have an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 star rating from our happy customers!


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