How to clean your suede steering wheel perfectly
A suede steering wheel is an excellent addition to any vehicle, providing a luxurious and tactile driving experience. However, maintaining the pristine appearance and soft texture of suede requires special care and attention. In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the professional techniques and tips for cleaning and caring for your suede steering wheel to ensure it retains its elegant appeal for years to come.
Before you begin the cleaning process, park your vehicle in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight, which can cause the suede to fade. Ensure that the vehicle is turned off, and the keys are removed from the ignition.
What You'll Need
- A soft-bristle brush, preferably designed for suede
- A suede eraser or a clean, white pencil eraser
- A dedicated suede cleaner or a mild soap solution (mix one part mild soap with ten parts water)
- A clean, lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth
- A clean, dry towel
- A spray bottle (optional)
Step 1: Assess the Condition of Your Steering Wheel
First, inspect your suede steering wheel for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. If the suede appears excessively worn or damaged, you may want to consider consulting a professional upholstery expert or replacing the steering wheel altogether.
Step 2: Gently Brush the Surface
Using a soft-bristle brush specifically designed for suede, gently brush the steering wheel's surface to remove any loose dirt and debris. Always brush in the direction of the suede's nap, which is the direction in which the fibers naturally lie. Avoid applying excessive pressure or brushing against the nap, as this can damage the delicate fibers.
Step 3: Address Stains and Discoloration
For stains or discoloration, use a suede eraser or a clean, white pencil eraser to gently rub the affected area. Apply light pressure and work in small, circular motions to lift the stain without causing damage to the suede. For stubborn stains or embedded dirt, consider using a dedicated suede cleaner or a mild soap solution, but always perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't harm the suede.
Step 4: Apply Suede Cleaner or Mild Soap Solution
If using a suede cleaner, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. For a mild soap solution, fill a spray bottle with the mixture and lightly mist the steering wheel, avoiding oversaturation. Using a clean, lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth, gently dab the dampened areas, working in small sections and following the direction of the nap. Avoid vigorous rubbing or scrubbing, as this can damage the suede's softness and texture.
Step 5: Rinse and Remove Excess Moisture
After cleaning the steering wheel, use a separate clean, damp cloth to remove any soap or cleaner residue gently. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the surface. Once the residue has been removed, use a dry towel to gently blot away any excess moisture, being careful not to press too hard or twist the fabric, as this can harm the suede.
Step 6: Dry and Final Brushing
Allow the suede steering wheel to air dry completely, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, which can cause fading or brittleness. This may take several hours or even overnight. Once the steering wheel is entirely dry, use the soft-bristle brush to gently brush the surface one more time, following the direction of the nap. This final brushing helps restore the suede's natural softness and texture.
Extra Tips for Suede Steering Wheel Maintenance
Avoid eating or drinking in the car: To reduce the risk of spills and stains, avoid eating or drinking while driving. Even a small spill can cause a stubborn stain on your suede steering wheel.
Keep your hands clean: Before driving, make sure your hands are clean and free of any oils or lotions, as these can transfer to the suede and cause discoloration or damage.
Use gloves: For those who want to protect their suede steering wheel even more, consider using driving gloves to prevent dirt, oils, and sweat from coming into contact with the suede.
Regularly brush the steering wheel: To maintain the softness and texture of the suede, brush your steering wheel at least once a week using a soft-bristle brush designed for suede. This will help keep the fibers in their best condition and prevent matting.
Seek professional help for severe issues: If your suede steering wheel is heavily stained or damaged, it may be best to consult a professional upholstery expert to assess the situation and recommend a course of action.
With careful attention and the proper techniques, maintaining your suede steering wheel's luxurious appearance and feel is achievable. By following this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your suede steering wheel remains a stunning and comfortable part of your driving experience for years to come. Additionally, adopting a regular cleaning routine will help prevent the buildup of dirt, oils, and sweat, thus extending the life of your suede steering wheel.