How to Clean A Sticky Steering Wheel? – Expert’s Guide

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According to Automotive experts, a steering wheel is the most useful and crucial car part. Any fault in it can lead you toward a big accident. So, keeping it maintained regularly is as essential as engine maintenance. The most common issue with the steering wheel is stickiness. It gets sticky over time and doesn’t feel comfortable for the driver. So, knowing how to clean a sticky steering wheel is very important.

Before knowing the solution to the sticky steering wheel, it is necessary to know how it becomes sticky. It will help prevent your car’s steering wheel from being sticky.

How Do The Steering Wheels Become Sticky?

There are multiple reasons behind the stickiness of the steering wheel.

1. Dirty and Sweaty Hands:

Holding a steering wheel with dirty and sweaty hands is the main reason behind the stickiness of steering wheels. When you touch steering wheels with sweaty and oily hands, everything on your hands transfers onto it and makes it sticky. So, always clean and dry your hands with a towel or tissue paper before starting the drive.

2. Residue of Foodstuffs:

The second major cause is the residue of edible things on steering wheels that you eat while driving. All the foods that we eat are oily. So, these oily products leave behind a sticky residue on your steering wheel and make it sticky. Avoid eating anything with your hands while driving the car to prevent your steering wheel from getting sticky.

3. Environmental Factors:

The third and last reason is the environmental factors such as humidity, sunlight, heat, and contaminants. Humidity moisturizes the steering wheel; the moisture mixes with dirty particles in the environment and comes on to the steering wheel and makes it too sticky.

Automotive experts recommend always removing the moisture and dirt particles with a towel or tissue paper before touching the steering wheel.

Now, let’s move on to the central question that is how to clean a sticky steering wheel.

How to Clean a Sticky Steering Wheel?

The lack of cleanliness only causes stickiness on the steering wheel. If you properly clean your steering wheel, the stickiness will not matter for it. Here, we have provided step-by-step instructions to ensure the best cleaning process for your steering wheel.

List of Items you need to do this job:

Step-by-Step Process to Clean a Sticky Steering Wheel?

Step 1: Firstly, spray a quick shot of interior cleaner on a dry microfiber towel, then wipes the steering wheel in 360-degree turns. Avoid spray cleaner directly onto the steering wheel, as any overspray may harm the dashboard and electronic devices. So, always spray the cleaner on a towel, and then wipe the steering wheel.

Step 2: Again spray the interior clear but this time onto the soft interior brush, and agitate the area until the lather is created. Moreover, if the steering wheel has stitches, use the interior brush to tamp the fibers between the threads to remove the trapped dirt particles. After agitating the area, immediately wipe the lather with a dry microfiber towel.

Step 3: To remove heavy grime and debris, spray interior cleaner onto the scrub pad and gently wipe the steering wheel in short strokes. Avoid applying too much pressure to prevent the color of worn areas from scrubbing off on the steering wheel. After doing that, immediately wipe the area with a microfiber towel.

Step 4: For deep cleaning, you can use a toothbrush and a three-to-one mixture of water and all-purpose cleaner. Dip the brush into the cup and scrub the area. An all-purpose cleaner will cut through the body oils and grease buildup onto the steering wheel. Immediately After scrubbing, wipe it with warm water in a microfiber towel in 360-degree motion to remove any residue of the all-purpose cleaner.

Step 5: If you have access to the steam machine, this is the right time to take advantage of its antibacterial capabilities. Use the single-hole nozzle and spray the steam onto the steering wheel. It will remove all the germ and sticky materials. In the end, wipe the moisture immediately with a towel.

Step 6: In the end, apply the UV protectant to add protection against the stickiness for the next time.

How to Clean a Sticky Leather Steering Wheel?

How To Clean A Sticky Steering Wheel? - Expert'S Guide

When you are going to clean a sticky leather steering wheel, you need some specific products that are specially designed for leather. These products ensure the best and safe cleaning of the leather sticky steering wheel in two steps.

List of Items to do that job:

  • Colourlock Strong Leather Cleaner
  • Colourlock Leather Shield
  • Colourlock Leather Brush
  • Sponge

All these products as mentioned earlier are available on Amazon.

2 Steps to Clean a Sticky Leather Steering Wheel?

First, start with protecting the dashboard with a cover or any piece of cloth against any overspray. Now, let’s move toward the best way to clean the leather steering wheel.

Step 1: Apply a little bit of colourlock leather cleaner onto the leather brush. According to automotive experts, colourlock is the best leather cleaner for car steering wheels. It has a perfect PH level for leather. Divide the area into shorter sections and start brushing. Avoid applying too much pressure.

All the oils and dirty particles will come out on the surface. After brushing, use the dry and clean microfiber towel to wipe the cleaner onto the surface. After that, you will see the desired effect: matte appearance, not glossy or shiny.

Step 2: This is the second and last step in applying Colourlock Leather Shield on the steering wheel. It is a kind of sealant for leather.

Spray the leather shield onto the sponge and dab it on the entire surface of the steering wheel. it will protect your steering wheel for three to 6 months from any kind of stickiness and other contamination.


Stickiness on the steering wheel will be no matter if you just keep it cleaned. Always avoid touching your steering wheel directly with dirty, oily, and greasy hands because they are the main reason behind the stickiness. Moreover, when you remove the stickiness, apply a UV protectant to protect it for the next time.


Why are my steering wheels sticky?

There are multiple reasons behind the stickiness of steering wheels, such as oily, sweaty, and dirty hands. It becomes sticky when you touch your steering wheel with greasy and dirty hands.
Moreover, some environmental factors also sticky the steering wheel, such as humidity, heat, and contaminants in the environment.

Which is the best cleaner for the leather steering wheel?

Colourlock Strong Leather Cleaner is the best cleaner for the leather steering wheel. It removes all the greasy, dirty, and oily things on the surface of the steering wheel and makes it stickiness free.

Can I use household cleaners on my steering wheel?

It’s not recommended to use household cleaners on a steering wheel, especially if it’s made of leather. Automotive leather and other steering wheel materials are delicate and can be easily damaged by harsh chemicals. Always use cleaners specifically designed for automotive interiors or the material of your steering wheel​.

What should I do if my steering wheel is very sticky or has stubborn residue?

If your steering wheel is extremely sticky or has stubborn residue, consider using rubbing alcohol or vinegar applied with a soft cloth for natural remedies. For more challenging cases, especially with substances like road tar, you might need a plastic putty knife or a specialized cleaner to gently scrape or dissolve the residue.

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Owen Price

I'm Owen Price, the founder and car enthusiast senior editor of CarDetailingDIY. I love helping people and teaching them how to take care of their cars and that they don't end up spending thousands of dollars in detailing something that could have been done by themselves at home easily.

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