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How to clean your suede steering wheel perfectly

Maintaining a Clean Suede Steering Wheel

A dirty steering wheel can ruin the overall look and feel of your car's interior. If your steering wheel is made of suede or alcantara, it's important to clean it properly to avoid damaging the material. Here are two methods for keeping your suede steering wheel looking its best:
Tips and Techniques


  • Clean your steering wheel with a suede brush at least once a week. Purchase a suede brush from a home supply or auto parts store. A suede brush has rubber bristles on it that won't put too much pressure on the suede or alcantara. Perform a standard cleaning at least once a week to ensure that skin cells, dirt, and dust don't build up in the fabric of your steering wheel over time.
  • This is a simple process that can be completed in 5-10 minutes. Keep the brush in your glove box to make this process easier whenever you remember to clean the steering wheel.
  • Some suede brushes come with a rubber eraser designed for suede. This eraser is typically better for flatter surfaces where the entire side of the eraser can stay in contact with the suede as you use it.
  • If your wheel is really dirty, put a clean towel in your lap when you sit in the seat to clean it.
  • Run the rubber bristles back and forth across the top of the wheel. Start at the top of your wheel on the front. Grab the suede brush firmly and press the bristles into the fabric. Move the brush back and forth rapidly to knock up the dust and dirt trapped in the fabric. Cover a 3-6 inch section 5-10 times before moving on to another part of the wheel.
  • Do this when your vehicle isn't running so that the wheel doesn't move as you brush.
  • Keep your door open while doing this to avoid trapping the dust and dirt you knock up inside of your vehicle.
  • Brush the backside of the wheel when you brush the front. Once you've brushed the top of your wheel in the front, put the brush behind the wheel and brush it from behind to clean the backside. Once you cover a portion on the front, gently brush the backside of that same section. Move the rubber bristles back and forth 5-10 times before moving to a new section.
  • Tip: It can be kind of awkward to brush the backside of the steering wheel. You don't need to brush the back as hard as the front though since you tend to only touch it with your fingertips.
  • Work your way around the wheel to cover every side. Continue brushing using back and forth strokes with the suede brush. Work in 3-6 inch sections, working your way down as you go. Cover the front and back sides of each section that you brush. Don't skip any sections where the suede extends into the middle of your wheel, if this applies to your vehicle.
  • Use a steel brush to gently pull the nap back up for a cleaner look. Get a brush with steel bristles from a home supply or construction store. Use the bristles to scrub your fabric the same way you brushed it. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. Use smooth strokes and don't press hard. This will restore the nap to your fabric and make your suede or alcantara look like new! Get a brush with soft bristles; don't get one of those brushes designed for industrial machine cleaning. So long as your brush has soft bristles and you aren't scrubbing the wheel hard, it's fine to do this every week. This is more cosmetic than anything. You can skip this step if you don't want to raise the fabric up.


Performing a Deep Clean of Your Steering Wheel


Perform a deep cleaning 1-2 times a year to keep the wheel pristine. Regular maintenance cleanings should be more than enough to keep your wheel clean, but a periodic deep cleaning will make the wheel look like new again.


  • To deep clean your suede or alcantara steering wheel, you'll need a fabric upholstery cleaner and a soft-bristled brush.
  • Start by spraying the fabric upholstery cleaner onto the wheel. Make sure to cover the entire wheel.
  • Use the soft-bristled brush to scrub the wheel.
  • Start at the top and work your way down, using back and forth strokes to cover the entire surface of the wheel.
  • Don't press too hard with the brush, as this can damage the fibers of the fabric.
  • Once you've scrubbed the entire wheel, use a microfiber cloth to wipe away the excess cleaner.
  • Be sure to get in all of the crevices and corners of the wheel.
  • Vacuum the wheel to remove any remaining dirt and cleaner.
  • Use the crevice tool attachment to get into all of the small spaces on the wheel.

Tips for Maintaining Your Suede Steering Wheel
  1. Avoid getting the wheel wet. If you do get it wet, be sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid water stains.
  2. Avoid using harsh chemicals on your steering wheel. Stick with mild cleaners like fabric upholstery cleaner.
  3. Avoid using hot water on your steering wheel. Warm water is fine, but hot water can damage the fibers of the fabric.
  4. Avoid using any abrasive tools or materials on your steering wheel. Abrasive materials can damage the fibers of the fabric and make it look worn.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your suede or alcantara steering wheel looking its best. With a little bit of regular maintenance and periodic deep cleanings, you can maintain the stylish look and feel of your car's interior.

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