Reconditioning a leather steering wheel: Tips & tricks for leather care

Autoinnenraum mit Fokus auf Lenkrad, schwarze Lederausstattung

Your steering wheel is used every time you drive and is therefore exposed to the stresses of everyday life. But it's not just skin oils and sweat that affect the material. Signs of wear and tear are also commonplace. That's why it's important to clean the sensitive leather regularly and then care for it. This is the only way to maintain its beauty and durability over a long period of time. But what should the care look like and which products are best suited for this? You'll find out exactly this and how to clean and care for it in the following article.

Maintaining your steering wheel: What you should pay attention to

If the steering wheel becomes sticky or dirty, it's time for a cleaning . Otherwise, it's enough to carry out maintenance measures every few weeks or months to avoid putting too much strain on the leather and preventing it from becoming brittle. But caring for a leather steering wheel doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some tips on how to effectively clean and care for your leather steering wheel and what things you should definitely avoid:

  • You should avoid using chemical cleaning products when cleaning your steering wheel . The aggressive ingredients can damage the leather.
  • Sustainable leather care products such as the leather care lotion from Emma Grün are wonderfully absorbed into the pores and nourish sensitive leather down to the deepest layers. This supports breathability, so that your steering wheel looks well-maintained and has a pleasant feel despite a stressful everyday life.
  • Avoid saddle soap! This often has too high an alkaline content and is therefore not recommended for the care of sensitive leather.
  • Clean your steering wheel with a sustainable leather cleaner . Products like these are easy to use and can gently remove stubborn dirt using natural ingredients.

Cleaning leather steering wheels: Cleaning with household remedies and natural cleaners

Leather is an organic material and, despite its robust properties, is susceptible to external influences . To ensure that the material retains its beautiful appearance and pleasant feel, you must not forget to clean and care for it regularly . You should avoid products that contain aggressive ingredients. Silicones and the like clog the pores of the leather and attack the natural leather. Instead, you should use natural products . They are gentle on the material and provide sensitive leather with everything it needs.

Car cockpit, Audi

Image source: Pixabay

For particularly easy cleaning and simultaneous care of your leather steering wheel, we recommend the premium leather cleaner from Emma Grün . Dirt is removed gently and the natural look and durability of the leather is preserved at the same time. The product should be used according to the instructions on the packaging. If necessary, a leather sealant in the form of a care product can also be applied . The leather care lotion from Emma Grün is perfect for this!

Emma Green Tip: If your steering wheel is sticky and you're out and about and don't have anything else to hand, baby wipes can be a great emergency solution. These wipes are a quick and gentle way to clean your leather steering wheel, and you can then do a deep clean at home with a natural cleaner. Water is not a recommended option, by the way, as it dries out the leather and makes it brittle.

Reconditioning a leather steering wheel: step-by-step instructions

Regular care will ensure that your leather steering wheel is not only comfortable to hold, but will also retain its natural look. The following step-by-step instructions will help you do this:

Step 1: cleaning

Start by cleaning the leather steering wheel with a microfiber cloth. Concentrate on the corners and seam areas. This is where dirt often accumulates and needs to be removed. Surface dirt such as skin oils, dirt and dust should also be removed in this step.

To do this, use a natural leather cleaner that you use with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. However, do not apply the cleaner directly to the steering wheel. It is better to spray the spray sparingly onto the cloth and start cleaning the steering wheel . This will prevent it from getting into other parts such as the sensitive electronics in the cockpit.

Leather cleaner Emma Green with suede brush, for all types of leather, Made in Germany

Now carefully massage the cleaning agent into the leather steering wheel with the cloth. If it is very dirty, you can also use a brush with soft bristles . This will help you to distribute the cleaning agent evenly. Make sure you are particularly careful when cleaning the seams. This is because it is precisely these areas of the steering wheel that are most susceptible to damage, which means that the steering wheel will have to be reconditioned.

Important: If your steering wheel has electronic details, as is the case with multifunction steering wheels, you must ensure that no liquid comes into contact with the sensitive electronics .

Step 2: Let the leather dry

Finally, dry the leather steering wheel with a clean microfiber cloth.

Step 3: Care for leather

Now it's time for care. To do this, apply some leather care lotion to a clean cotton cloth and work it gently into the leather. Due to its perfect consistency, it is optimally absorbed by the leather and therefore cares for the natural material perfectly.

Emma Grün Tip: You don't need chemicals to clean a stained and greasy leather steering wheel. Therefore, you should avoid aggressive cleaners or care products. Instead, use sustainable products. These are always the best choice for caring for sophisticated leather. To prevent cracks and a brittle appearance , you should treat your leather steering wheel with a nourishing product at least twice a year and seal it if necessary.

But what if a steering wheel has seen its best days and replacing it is too expensive? One idea would be to dye the leather. You will now find out the reasons for this.

Coloring the steering wheel: 6 reasons why coloring makes sense

There are various reasons why someone would want to dye their leather steering wheel. One possibility would be to give their car a personal touch or to freshen up a worn steering wheel and breathe new life into it. The most common reasons are:

  • Style and individuality: One of the most common reasons is the desire for a customized look. Coloring the steering wheel in a specific color can help make the vehicle more personalized and unique.
  • Upgrading: A worn or faded leather steering wheel can be upgraded by dyeing it. This can help bring the steering wheel into better condition without having to replace it.
  • Protection: Using special steering wheel paint can protect the leather from further wear. This is especially important if the steering wheel is subject to heavy use as it will help it last longer.
  • Changing the color: Sometimes the taste or style of the car owner changes and he wants to change the color of the steering wheel to better match the rest of the interior or paint of the vehicle.

Red piggy bank with white dots on brown wooden table

Image source: Unsplash

  • Cost-effectiveness: Tinting the steering wheel can be more cost-effective than buying a brand new steering wheel or steering wheel cover. It offers a way to improve the appearance without investing a lot of money.

    Emma Grün Tip: It is important to note that coloring a steering wheel requires careful preparation and implementation . This is the only way to achieve a satisfactory result . Choosing the right color, cleaning the steering wheel thoroughly before coloring and following the instructions of the selected color product are therefore crucial for a successful result. If you are wondering how best to implement your DIY project, then we will not leave you in the lurch and tell you how it works.

    DIY steering wheel coloring without dismantling: Instructions for independent implementation

    No matter what reasons you have for wanting to give your leather steering wheel a new color, the implementation is always the same and must be carried out with the utmost care. Here are some tips to help you:

    Materials you need:

    • Steering wheel paint: Choose a high-quality product suitable for leather or synthetic leather. These paints are specially designed to adhere to vehicle steering wheels and ensure good durability.
    • Cleaning products: You should not compromise when choosing a cleaning product. We recommend that you choose a sustainable product that uses natural ingredients to remove all dirt while being gentle on the leather.
    • Covering material: To protect the interior of your vehicle from paint splashes, you need to cover the surrounding areas perfectly. The best way to do this is to use plastic sheeting or newspapers.
    • Masking tape: Get some commercial painter's tape and carefully cover the areas you don't want to paint. This can include areas like rocker switches, buttons or displays.

    Steps to color the steering wheel:

    • Preparation: Remove any dirt, grease and old paint residue. Use your leather cleaner, a microfiber cloth and a soft brush. Before you start applying the paint, make sure your steering wheel is dry.
    • Masking: Use the masking tape to cover the areas you don't want to paint. To avoid paint splatters, make sure the masking tape is tight and straight .
    • Applying the paint: Now apply the steering wheel paint according to the instructions on the product packaging. It is best to use a soft sponge and work carefully.
    • Multiple coats: In most cases, it is advisable to apply several thin coats of paint instead of one thick coat. This will give you a more even end result.
    • Allow to dry: Allow the steering wheel to dry thoroughly after applying the last coat of paint. This can take a few hours to a day , depending on the paint used.
    • Remove tape: Once the paint has completely dried, you can carefully peel off the tape.
    • Final check: Check the steering wheel for any bumps or areas that need touching up. This is the time to touch up those areas if necessary.

    Emma Grün Tip: Please note that painting a steering wheel can be a challenging task. If you are unsure or have no experience with such projects, it may be advisable to seek professional help. This will ensure that the end result meets your expectations and that the steering wheel can be used without any problems afterwards.


    Caring for a leather steering wheel is crucial to maintaining its beauty and longevity. Regular cleaning with a mild leather cleaner and a soft cloth will help remove dirt and grease. Always follow up with a natural leather conditioner to keep the natural material supple and prevent cracking.

    FAQ: Questions & Answers

    How often should I clean and care for my leather steering wheel?

    It is advisable to care for the leather steering wheel regularly, but not too often, when cleaning the car interior. Every six to twelve months is usually sufficient, as cleaning too often can damage the leather.

    Which cleaning products are suitable for cleaning a leather steering wheel?

    To remove dirt and grease from the steering wheel, natural leather cleaners are a good choice. They do not attack the natural material and are still effective.

    How do you clean a sticky leather steering wheel?

    If the leather steering wheel is sticky, cleaning should be done immediately. Use baby wipes to remove the sticky stuff and do a deep clean later.

    Can you use water to clean a leather steering wheel?

    Water is not suitable for cleaning leather steering wheels. Special leather care products that are applied to the steering wheel with a soft microfiber cloth are a better idea.

    Why should you seal your leather steering wheel?

    Sealing the leather steering wheel can provide additional protection. It helps repel dirt and moisture.


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