How to Clean a Slippery Leather Steering Wheel

by Mel FrankUpdated July 12, 2023
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Leather steering wheels are common in many vehicles, as they last for years and provide a good texture to grip when driving. There are, however, some instances where a leather steering wheel can become slippery. Sometimes the wrong cleaning product is used on the steering wheel. These are typically oil-based products that are perfect for cleaning other parts of the car’s interior, but should not be used on steering wheels. In other cases, steering wheels can become slippery from body oils on the hands that rub off onto that part of your car over time. Getting rid of the slippery steering wheel problem is an easy task. Here’s the easiest method for cleaning leather steering wheels.


Do not use any all-purpose cleaners or cleaning agents with bleach for any car upholstery. Bleach is harmful to synthetic or genuine leather, and can cause cracks in your automotive upholstery.

Things You Will Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Towel

Traditional Wheel Cleaning

1. Mix your cleaning solution

Pour a cup of warm water into a spray bottle, mixed with one squirt of liquid dish soap. The soap will cut through the natural oils on the wheel, as well as any oil-based cleaning products that have been introduced to the steering wheel. This method will also work on synthetic resin wheels. If you know you’re working with real leather, you can opt to buy leather cleaner online or in stores.

2. Spray and Scrub

Spray the solution onto the wheel and scrub with a toothbrush or a detailing brush.

3. Damp cloth to remove buildup

Wipe the steering wheel with a damp cloth to remove buildup as it is loosened.

4. Repeat until Grime is removed

Repeat the scrubbing and wiping until all dirt and grime has been removed.

5. Dry and Clean

Dry the wheel with a clean, dry cloth to collect any excess moisture.

Magic Eraser Cleaning Process

1. Magic Eraser or Leather Cleaning Sponge

Buy either a leather cleaning sponge or a magic eraser. Both are suitable for the task and can be found at your local automotive store.

2. Clean wheel with repeatedly wet sponge

Wet the sponge with warm water and wipe down the slippery leather with it. Be sure to continually wet the sponge to ensure that the wheel gets an even clean.

3. Dry with separate cloth

Wipe off any remaining water with a clean cloth.

4. Go back with conditioning product

Go back in with a conditioning product and a microfiber towel to ensure that your leather remains well-maintained.

5. After a month apply leather lotion

Apply leather lotion with a separate microfiber cloth after a month or so to maintain the leather’s natural oils.


If you feel like your car’s steering wheel is just too slippery in general, consider getting a steering wheel cover to help you grip better.

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