The global pandemic that began in 2020 has put hygiene at the forefront of public consciousness. Even phone makers who previously told us not to clean our phones relented and gave guidance on how to wipe our handsets clean from germs during the pandemic. Anything shared needs to be cleaned properly anyway. A car’s steering wheel is a hive of bacteria. Back in 2011, newspapers were reporting that car steering wheels carry more germs than toilets. Fast forward to 2021, and a study by Ashton University concluded that 700 different types of bacteria are found on a steering wheel. What’s the best steering wheel cleaner right now and where should you get it from?
You want a steering wheel cleaner that disinfects and cleans but it also needs to make the wheel shine like its new. The problem most drivers find is that steering wheels are made from different materials. Each different material requires specific care. Plastic is often used, but as it’s a hard material, manufacturers use plastic resin instead. This chemical compound doesn’t look cheap like plastic does and it’s easy to clean. The only problem with it is that it chips and wears away with age.
Faux leather is a synthetic material that resembles leather. Steering wheels covered with faux leather last well and don’t chip. The only real downside is that you need a specific steering wheel cleaner for them. We’ll make a few suggestions on which one to buy a little later.
Leather on a steering wheel is normally reserved for the most expensive cars. As anyone with leather seats in their home or car can tell you, leather’s not easy to maintain. You need to use a cleaner designed specifically for the material. You can’t use abrasive materials when you clean so the type of cloth is also important. A microfiber cloth is the right type of highly absorbent lint-free cloth to use for leather.
At the moment, Alcantara steering wheels are the most popular on the market. This cloth material provides a lot of grip, so you can grab the wheel tightly during fast cornering. A tight grip on the wheel will lead to grease entering the material. That deteriorates Alcantara pretty quickly, but we’ll recommend cleaning products that can limit that impact.
Best Steering Wheel Cleaner Products
Car Guys Super Steering Wheel Cleaner
Best for – all types of steering wheels
We love just about everything about this project. From its name to the fact that it can be used by all drivers. This multipurpose cleaner is equally good on leather, carpets, vinyl, plastic, and rubber. It won’t damage the surface of your steering wheel when you apply by spraying it directly on the steering wheel.
Chemical Guys SPI 109
Best for – leather steering wheels
If you own a car with a leather wheel, you’ll want to maintain the interior in top condition. The Chemical Guys SPI 109 is the right product for you. With this kit, you get a leather cleaner and a leather conditioner. You can use it on any leather surface in your car or home. When you apply it, the leather’s hydrated and rejuvenated. This product provides protection from UV light so your leather won’t be affected when you leave the car in direct sunlight.
Sonax Upholstery Cleaner
Sonax’s upholstery and Alcantara cleaner will keep your steering wheel fresh and grease-free. You spray this product onto the wheel and then use a brush to work it in. Then you just clean it off with a towel and you’ll end up with a smooth finish.
3D LVP Interior Cleaner
Whether you have faux leather or plastic resin, the 3D LVP Interior Cleaner is the ideal product. It’ll remove dirt, grime, and grease from all materials, but it’s still better to get a specialized leather cleaner if your steering wheel’s covered in real leather. If you have leather, you also need a conditioner which this doesn’t come with. This is the ideal product for anyone with vinyl or plastic interiors as it will bring the whole cabin back to a showroom finish.
As with any consumable on your car, the more expensive the car, the more expensive the steering wheel cleaner is. That’s natural when you have an asset to protect you’ll be willing to pay a little more. When your car is just a mode of transport, you just want something that cleans and protects.
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