How To Polish a Leather Steering Wheel

Sometimes, it can be easy to overlook the importance of a clean, well-maintained car. Many opt for visiting car detailing cleaning services to have their floor mats, seat covers and windows properly washed. But keeping your ride free of dust and garbage is only half of what you need to do. Most vehicles nowadays have leather (real or faux) covering the steering wheel and this too has to be kept clean. It is easy to forget that the steering wheel can eventually show signs of wear and tear if not properly cared for. Here are good ideas on how to polish your leather steering wheel, to not just keep it nice to look at but also make it last longer as well.

  • The professional way. One way to polish your steering wheel is to trust the restorative cleaning powers of commercially available leather care products. There are two kinds typically available: leather wipes and lotions.

    Use leather wipes the way you would normally use a rag. Hold the wipe firmly in one hand and with a gentle but deliberate motion; wipe down the surface of the steering wheel. If you can, try to wipe following a single direction (clockwise for example) as to minimize the risk of streaking or marking the leather. A good habit to have is to use leather wipes once a week. When properly done, the wipe coaxes away from the leather any oils and similar contaminants that may have been left on the wheel by your hands. Allow the wheel some time to air dry.

    On using a leather lotion, be sure to clean the steering wheel to remove excess dirt. Gently wipe the wheel down with a clean rag. Afterwards, apply a small amount of leather lotion to the center of the application pad or to the center of a clean rag. The amount need not be too generous. With a firm but controlled motion, rub the lotion onto the steering wheel. There should be little need to apply again unless you used a dollop too small (around the size of a quarter should be more than enough.) Continue to rub the lotion on to it until there is no longer any visible amount. Then wipe the wheel dry of any excess left with another clean rag or microfiber cloth. Leather lotions need only be used once a month.

  • The home-style way. Dilute a small bit of mild soap into a cup of water. Dip the center of a clean rag onto the liquid and wipe down the steering wheel to clean it. Allow the steering wheel to air dry. Once dry, use a microfiber cloth to buff the steering wheel to a nice sheen. If you want to, you can use a very small amount of shoe polish to help enrich the color of the steering wheel. Just be careful that you do not use a polish that is too dark for the leather. While this method may require stronger and longer buffing, it should give your steering wheel a shimmer that you can be proud off.


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