10 Best Steering Wheel Cleaners of 2023

If you're looking for the best way to clean your steering wheel, look no further! We've compiled a list of the ten best steering wheel cleaners on the market.

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Best Overall

CarGuys Super Cleaner

CarGuys Super Cleaner

A great steering wheel cleaner overall with a great mix of price and performance.

Best Leather Cleaner

Adam’s Leather Care Kit

Adam’s Leather Care Kit

A perfect choice for leather steering wheels. Comes both with a cleaner and a conditioner.

Upholstery & Alcantara

Sonax 206141

Sonax 206141

High performance steering wheel cleaner made for steering wheels with upholstery and alcantra.

Every day you put your hands on your steering wheel to control your car and let’s face it, some days you have a little more on your hands than you should. Whether it’s a mess from food, the kids, or germs from an up-and-coming cold, there’s a lot on your hands.

It’s one of the most touched surfaces in our lives, which is why it’s important to get a top-notch cleaner for it. But not every steering wheel cleaner delivers as it should, and that’s why I’ve listed ten of the best steering wheel cleaners on the market today.

Not only that, but I’ve written a comprehensive buyer’s guide that’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get your steering wheel in tip-top shape, no matter what type you have.

10 Best Steering Wheel Cleaners

Steering Wheel Cleaner

1. CarGuys Super Cleaner – Best Steering Wheel Cleaner Overall

Car Guys Super Cleaner
  • Best for: Leather, upholstery, fabric, vinyl, plastic, and rubber
  • Brand: Car Guys
  • Size: 18 ounces

When you’re looking for the best possible steering wheel cleaner on the market today, it’s really hard to top the CarGuys Super Cleaner. It’s an extremely versatile product that will work on any type of steering wheel your car might have.

Not only does it work on all kinds of steering wheels, but it’s versatile enough that you can use it for the rest of the upholstery and interior of your car too.

Not only that, but it’s available for an outstanding price considering the quality of the product you’re getting. And in the unlikely event that you do have any problems with Car Guys Super Cleaner, they have one of the best customer service teams in the industry.

However, while there’s a lot to love about this steering wheel cleaner, it’s not perfect. For starters, if you have a leather steering wheel, this cleaner won’t condition it, and there are not a ton of size options available.

Still, if you want a cleaner you can use for everything in your car and will work for any type of steering wheel, then this Car Guys Super Cleaner is the way to go.

Pros

  • Outstanding mix of quality and price
  • Works on all types of steering wheels
  • Very versatile product
  • Phenomenal customer service

Cons

  • Limited size options available
  • It doesn’t condition leather

2. Adam’s Leather Care Kit – Best Leather Cleaner

Adam’s Leather Care Kit
  • Best for: Leather
  • Brand: Adam’s Polishes
  • Size: 16 ounces (2 bottles)

While the Adam’s Leather Care Kit won’t work for every type of steering wheel out there, if you have a leather-wrapped steering wheel on your vehicle, that really doesn’t matter. When it comes to cleaning, restoring, and protecting your leather steering wheel, nothing’s going to do it better than Adam’s Leather Care Kit.

It comes with two different bottles, one that’s for cleaning and the other that’s for conditioning the leather. Considering you’re getting 32 ounces of total product with each purchase, this is an outstanding value for how much you’re spending.

The formula itself is extremely effective for leather too, which is why Adam’s Leather Care Kit gets our top pick for leather steering wheels. Adam’s Polishes makes all its products in the United States, which helps create jobs and ensures a higher level of quality control.

However, while I love this product for leather steering wheels and upholstery, it’s not a versatile product. It’s only an ideal choice for leather – otherwise you should go with a different option from our list.

That also creates a few problems if you’re looking for one product for your entire vehicle and you have a leather-wrapped steering wheel and another type of upholstery for everything else.

Pros

  • It’s both a cleaner and conditioner
  • Outstanding value
  • Very effective formula
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • It only works for leather

3. Sonax 206141 – Best Upholstery and Alcantara Cleaner

Sonax 206141 Upholstery And Alcantara Cleaner
  • Best for: Upholstery and Alcantara
  • Brand: Sonax
  • Size: 8.45 ounces

If you have an Alcantara interior for your vehicle then the Sonax 206141 is the way to go. It’s a foamy upholstery cleaner that works wonders for Alcantara and similar materials, which is exactly what many manufacturers use when making steering wheels.

Not only does it clean Alcantara, but it also restores it back to an even better condition. That, paired with how easy it is to use, makes this one of the best steering wheel cleaning options on our list.

But while it does great for Alcantara steering wheels, there are some concerns that we have with it. For starters, it still only works in limited applications. If you don’t have an Alcantara steering wheel, it’s not the most effective option out there.

Not only that, but if you compare the price of this cleaner to other options out there, it’s far more expensive per ounce. That’s because, while it’s available for a similar price, it only comes in an 8.45-ounce container.

That’s far smaller than other options, so you’ll find that you need to replace this cleaner sooner, and making you spend more than you would if you used another option.

Pros

  • Outstanding choice for Alcantara
  • Very easy to use
  • Cleans and restores
  • Very effective choice

Cons

  • Smaller size
  • More expensive per ounce
  • Limited applications

4. Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Kit

Chemical Guys Spi_109_16 Leather Cleaner
  • Best for: Leather
  • Brand: Chemical Guys
  • Size: 16 ounces (2 bottles)

Chemical Guys is a huge name in the car care industry, so it’s no surprise that they make a great leather cleaner and conditioner that you can use for your vehicle’s steering wheel. It comes with a bottle specifically for cleaning the steering wheel and another bottle for conditioning the leather.

And since you get 32 ounces of product with each purchase, you’re getting an outstanding value per ounce. It’s an easy-to-use option too, so you don’t need to worry about trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do when you get it.

Chemical Guys make and ship all its products from California in the United States, so you know they have a top-notch quality control process. However, like many other leather-specific products out there, this is really only a top-notch choice for leather, specifically.

While it does a great job for leather, it’s simply not as versatile as other options on our list.

Pros

  • Both cleans and conditions leather
  • Great value
  • Easy to use
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Only works for leather

5. 3D LVP Interior Cleaner – Vinyl & Plastic

3D Lvp Interior Cleaner
  • Best for: Leather, vinyl, and plastic
  • Brand: 3D
  • Size: 16 ounces

If you’re looking for a steering wheel cleaner that does a great job on all different kinds of surfaces, then this option from 3D might be exactly what you want. It’s their LVP Interior Cleaner, which works for just about any interior surface you can find inside your car.

It works on leather, vinyl, and plastic, so we wouldn’t use it on a cloth upholstery. But other than that, it’s an excellent choice for all kinds of upholstery and interior surfaces. It’s also available for a fair price, considering the quality of the cleaner that you’re getting.

Moreover, it’s extremely easy to use, and since you don’t have to worry about the type of surface you’re putting it on, it’s one less thing for you to get wrong.

But while there’s no denying that this is a great multi-purpose cleaner, it did fall to the middle of this list for a reason, and that comes down to the fact that it’s a great multi-purpose cleaner. If you take the time to get a cleaner specific to the type of material you’re using it on, you’ll be able to get better results.

Pros

  • Versatile product
  • Decent price
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Not as effective as dedicated products

6. Carfidant Ultimate Leather Cleaner – Vinyl and Leather Cleaner

Carfidant Ultimate Leather Cleaner
  • Best for: Vinyl and leather
  • Brand: Carfidant
  • Size: 18 ounces

This Ultimate Leather Cleaner from Carfidant is another versatile car interior cleaner you can use on the steering wheel. But while it’s versatile, it’s not a true multi-purpose cleaner. Instead, it’s an excellent cleaner for both vinyl and leather surfaces.

It’s easy to use and the cleaning power is outstanding, which is one of the top things you’re looking for in a cleaner for steering wheels. Another great perk with this Carfidant cleaner is that if you like the cleaner, you can order either a two or three-pack, which drives down the cost a bit per bottle.

However, while this is an excellent cleaner for vinyl and leather, it doesn’t come with a conditioner. That’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but if you’re trying to restore the leather and protect it from future wear and tear, it’s not quite as good as the full leather treatment kits we’ve highlighted.

Because of this, I really only recommend this kit for a car that has vinyl – either a vehicle solely with vinyl, or a car with both vinyl and leather, – and you only want one cleaner. That is when Ultimate Leather Cleaner from Carfidant is likely going to be the best choice for you.

Pros

  • You can purchase in bulk
  • Versatile product
  • Easy to use
  • Outstanding cleaning power

Cons

  • There’s no leather conditioner

7. Chemical Guys SPI_103_16 Steering Wheel Cleaner

Chemical Guys Spi_103_16 Sprayable Leather Cleaner
  • Best for: Leather
  • Brand: Chemical Guys
  • Size: 16 ounces

Chemical Guys makes a ton of great car cleaning and detailing products, so it’s not all that surprising to see that they have multiple options to choose from on our list. This spray is specifically for leather surfaces, and leather is a common material for steering wheels.

Even better, this single spray both cleans and conditions leather, saving you time and money compared to getting multiple sprays. And if you like the way this spray performs, you can purchase it in bulk to significantly lower the cost per ounce.

And considering the smaller option is already a more affordable choice, that means you can get a lot of this leather cleaner and conditioner without breaking the bank. This is a huge deal for automotive detailing shops or if you simply detail a lot of leather in cars.

But for everything this Chemical Guys product does right, there are two main drawbacks that come with it. First, it only works for leather. That makes it a very niche product. For full detailing jobs, you’ll need to pair it with something else.

Second, while this product does condition leather, it’s not quite as effective as a dedicated leather conditioner. It’s better than a multi-purpose cleaner for sure, but you are sacrificing a little of the conditioning power for the convenience of cleaning the leather at the same time.

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Easy to use
  • Cleans and conditions in one product
  • You can purchase in bulk

Cons

  • Not as effective with conditioning
  • It only works for leather

8. Armor All Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Multi Purpose Cleaner By Armor All
  • Best for: Plastic and fabrics
  • Brand: Armor All
  • Size: 16 ounces

If you’re looking for the most affordable product to clean the steering wheel in your car that still does a great job, you’re not going to find a better choice than Armor All Multi-Purpose Cleaner. As the name implies it’s a cleaner you can use on all sorts of surfaces.

This versatility and affordability are some of the primary reasons Armor All Multi-Purpose Cleaner is one of the best-selling car cleaning products on the market today.

Even better, if you plan on doing a lot of automotive detailing, the lower price tag makes this one of the best products to consider. Still, while it’s affordable and effective, it’s not quite as effective as the more expensive choices.

This is why it fell to the bottom half of this list, and it’s really something you should consider. Of course, you can always try it out, and if you don’t like it, then you can move on to one of the more expensive choices!

Pros

  • Very versatile product
  • Extremely affordable
  • Multiple size options available

Cons

  • Not as effective as other options
  • It doesn’t condition

9. Chemical Guys SPI22216

Chemical Guys Spi22216 Innerclean Interior
  • Best for: Plastics, fabrics, and leather
  • Brand: Chemical Guys
  • Size: 16, 64, or 128 ounces

This is yet another multi-purpose cleaner that Chemical Guys offers. Just like all the Chemical Guys products on our list, this one does a great job of cleaning different surfaces – and this is actually the most affordable Chemical Guys cleaner on this list.

Not only is it affordable in a smaller package, you can purchase it in bulk to drive down the cost even further, too. It also offers multiple layers of protection, including UV ray protection.

But while I love having a product I can use on tons of different surfaces, it simply doesn’t clean quite as well as products that only work on a specific type of surface. And while it certainly cleans leather, it simply doesn’t condition as dedicated leather products do.

Still, if you want just one product that can clean just about every interior surface in your car and you don’t want to spend a ton on it, then this Chemical Guys cleaner is an outstanding choice.

Pros

  • Very affordable product
  • You can purchase in bulk
  • Very versatile
  • It also protects

Cons

  • Still not the most effective option
  • It doesn’t condition

10. Chemical Guys SPI22016

Chemical Guys Spi22016 Total Interior Cleaner
  • Best for: Leather, vinyl, plastics, and glass
  • Brand: Chemical Guys
  • Size: 16 or 128 ounces

Did I mention that I like Chemical Guys products? While this might be the last product on othis list, if you’re looking for the ultimate multi-purpose cleaner, this might be it. It works on just about everything, so you know it will work on your steering wheel.

Not only that, but you can use the same cleaner for everything else in your vehicle, including the navigation system and windshield! It’s a convenient all-in-one spray you can take out the next time you decide to detail your car.

Not only does it clean but it has a protective layer that helps keep future dirt and grime from accumulating. You can buy in bulk with this product too, but no matter how you decide to purchase it, it’s one of the most affordable products on our list.

But while I do love this Chemical Guys cleaner, there’s no doubt that it’s not quite as effective as cleaners dedicated to specific surfaces. Moreover, it doesn’t condition leather, so it’s really not the best choice there although it does clean.

This Chemical Guys cleaner is all about ease of use and versatility with a single product. And while that’s a great perk, if you’re looking for the most effective cleaner this isn’t it.

Pros

  • Very affordable product
  • It also protects
  • Very versatile
  • It also works on glass
  • It comes in multiple sizes

Cons

  • Not the most effective for steering wheels
  • It doesn’t condition

Steering Wheel Cleaner Buyer’s Guide

With so many great steering wheel cleaners out there it can be a challenge trying to narrow it down to just one. The truth is that the right steering wheel cleaner for your vehicle all comes down to what kind of steering wheel you have.

That’s why I wrote this buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know about identifying the type of steering wheel you have and give you some specific cleaning tips for each type.

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Why Identifying the Type of Steering Wheel You Have Is Important

While you might think that you should just go with a multi-purpose cleaner and it’ll work for whatever type of steering wheel you have, that’s not always the best choice.

Sure, it’ll work, but a lot of the time it won’t be the most effective option out there. This is especially true if you have a leather, faux leather, or an Alcantara steering wheel. These materials require special care to keep them in the best possible condition.

How To Identify What Type of Steering Wheel You Have

Sometimes all you need to do to figure out what type of steering wheel you have is look at it. If it looks like leather, you either have a leather or faux leather steering wheel, and caring for each one is incredibly similar.

But sometimes you’ll look at the steering wheel and you won’t know exactly what it is. This could be the case if you have a polyurethane, Alcantara, or synthetic resin steering wheel. Knowing a little more about each material will go a long way in helping you figure out what’s there.

Alcantara has a suede-like appearance and feels more like upholstery than any of the other options. Resin will feel harder, and polyurethane is more like plastic.

But if you still can’t figure it out, you might need to look up exactly what kind of steering wheel you have. If you still have the stock steering wheel on your vehicle one of the best things you can do to figure out what kind of steering wheel you have is to look at the owner’s manual.

The owner’s manual will break down all kinds of useful information about your vehicle, and often they tell you what kind of steering wheel you have.

If not you can always try a quick Google search. Just keep in mind that many manufacturers offer different types of steering wheels for different trim levels and packages with each vehicle.

If the Google search is telling you that your vehicle has a polyurethane steering wheel, but it looks like leather, you probably have a leather upgrade.

If you have a steering wheel cover you should be able to take it off and look at the tag to figure out exactly what it is.

Tips for Cleaning Leather Steering Wheels

While there’s no doubt that leather makes for a great-looking steering wheel and automotive interior, it’s also a bit trickier to clean and maintain than many other surfaces.

But while it can be a little more challenging to maintain, when you get the right products, it’s a breeze. Invest in both a cleaner and a conditioner for leather surfaces and you can keep it looking like new for an incredibly long time.

Also, clean up stains and spills on leather right away. While it might seem like the spills will stay on the surface, they’ll soak into pores and stain the leather in no time.

Finally, keep in mind that a few small stains aren’t necessarily the end of the world. Sometimes a good cleaning and a conditioner can get them out, but even if they can’t, sometimes a little time works wonders on pulling the stain from the leather – especially with consistent cleaning.

Synthetic Leather vs Real Leather

While there’s a lot of debate out there about whether you should go with real leather or synthetic leather for your vehicle’s interior, when it comes to cleaning you can use the exact same products for each one.

The same cleaners and conditioners I highlighted on my list that work on real leather do a great job of cleaning and conditioning faux leather, too.

In fact, they probably do a little better with faux leather, simply because faux leather doesn’t have all the open pores that genuine leather has. This makes it less likely for faux leather to stain, and the cleaner doesn’t need to soak further into pores to clean them.

Tips for Cleaning Rubberized Steering Wheels

While it’s unlikely that the actual material on your steering wheel is rubber, there are plenty of steering wheel covers that use a rubberized texture. You want to keep these steering wheel covers clean, too, and the cleaning process is a little bit different for them.

Most multi-purpose cleaners work great for rubberized steering wheels, but you should ensure you avoid using anything that might dry out the steering wheel. When rubber dries out it starts to crack, and it won’t take long for the cracking to lead to a deteriorating steering wheel cover.

This is also why it’s important to clean the steering wheel semi-consistently if you have a rubberized steering wheel. The steering wheel sits right in front of the windshield, which means there are plenty of opportunities for the sun to beat down on it and dry it out.

Not only will the right cleaning solution keep all the dirt and grime off the steering wheel, but it will also help protect the rubber from UV rays which will help keep it from drying out.

Tips for Cleaning Polyurethane Steering Wheels

Polyurethane is one of the most common types of steering wheels in modern vehicles. In more common terms, polyurethane is a type of plastic. The good news if your vehicle has a polyurethane steering wheel is that they’re pretty easy to clean.

You can go with just about any steering wheel cleaner on my list and it will do a great job cleaning it. But while you can use leather cleaners on a polyurethane steering wheel, I do recommend going with a lower-priced option, since you don’t need all the extra leather-specific benefits that come with these cleaners.

Still, even though polyurethane is an easier material to clean and care for, I recommend cleaning it regularly. Not only will this help keep any dirt and gunk off the steering wheel, but it’ll help protect it from UV rays.

Tips for Cleaning Alcantara Steering Wheels

Alcantara is a material you might not be all that familiar with, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on your steering wheel already. It’s a suede-like material that many manufacturers use for their steering wheels. Not only that, but you can also find quite a few Alcantara steering wheel covers out there.

But since it’s a suede-like material, it can be a little more challenging to clean than polyurethane or leather. If you have an Alcantara steering wheel in your car, I highly recommend going with Sonax 206141, since it’s an Alcantara-specific cleaner.

Not only does this cleaner clean the surface of Alcantara, it also pulls out any gunk or grime that has soaked into the Alcantara that other cleaners can’t reach. Moreover, while some other cleaners work great on a multitude of surfaces, often they’ll soak right into Alcantara.

It’s certainly a tricky surface to clean, but with an Alcantara-specific cleaner, it’s not nearly as challenging as it could be.

Tips for Cleaning Synthetic Resin Steering Wheels

While this isn’t the most common type of steering wheel material out there, if you do have a synthetic resin steering wheel, it’s one of the easiest options to clean. That’s because synthetic resins keep everything on the surface, so all you need is a surface cleaner for them.

You can go with any multi-purpose cleaner to clean a synthetic resin steering wheel, and there’s not much of a reason to upgrade to anything else. However, when looking for a cleaner for synthetic resin steering wheels, I still recommend going with an option that provides UV protection, since this will help with potential discoloration.

Tips for Cleaning Upholstery

While you won’t find too many modern steering wheels with an upholstery finish, when you’re detailing your car and steering wheel, it’s one part that you won’t want to miss. Just like cleaning Alcantara and other porous materials, it can be a little tricky cleaning upholstery.

I recommend going with a cleaner that foams up a bit to complete a thorough cleaning of the upholstery. While many of the multi-purpose cleaners on our list will do a great job of cleaning the surface, they don’t actually clean all of the upholstery.

However, if you want to go with a cleaner from my list for the upholstery in your car, the Sonax 206141 will do a great job with that, too. This cleaner will foam up and bring out the dirt and grime deep in the upholstery.

From there, all you need to do is soak it up with a rag or something similar and let the upholstery dry!

FAQs

What is the best steering wheel cleaner?

There is no single best steering wheel cleaner for all types of steering wheels. To find the best steering wheel cleaner, you need to find out what type of material your steering wheel is made of. Chemical Guys, CAR GUYS and Armor All are some of the best steering wheel cleaner brands in the industry.

Can you use baby wipes on a leather steering wheel?

No. It’s not recommended to use baby wipes to clean a leather steering wheel. The reason being is that the alcohol and other chemicals in the wipes can dry out the leather over time, which will cause it to crack and peel. Use a steering wheel cleaner that is made for leather to prevent damage to the leather.

Can I clean a steering wheel with alcohol?

Whether you can use alcohol to clean the steering wheel depends on the material your steering wheel is made of. If it is made of leather, it can dry out the material and cause it to crack, so it is always recommended to use an appropriate steering wheel cleaner for your car’s type of steering wheel to prevent damage.

Why does my steering wheel feel sticky?

Your steering wheel most likely feels sticky because you haven’t cleaned it in a while. If you don’t clean your steering wheel, it will attract dirt, sweat and other unpleasant things that make the steering wheel feel sticky. Buy a proper steering wheel cleaner for your car’s type of steering wheel.

Final Thoughts

With so many great steering wheel cleaners out there, there’s really no reason you can’t have your steering wheel in tip-top shape day after day. Stop settling for a dirty or stained steering wheel by getting one of the great steering wheel cleaners on our list.

That way, the next time you drive your vehicle, you can do it with confidence, knowing you’re putting your hands on a clean and sanitary surface.

Learn more:

Magnus Sellén
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of Mechanicbase. He has been working as a car mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.

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