The Problem

I'm buying a used approved vehicle. When I test drove it today, it has been "professionally" valeted and they have used some kind of synthetic spray all over the interior plastics and leather, including the steering wheel and gear lever.

The feeling of it on the steering wheel is positively horrible. It feels somewhat sticky, and yet slippery at the same time; it's almost like they wiped vegetable oil all over the interior! It does shine though, although why you would want a shiny interior baffles me.

My Question

What can I do or what product/substance can I use to remove this stuff from the interior plastics and leather safely?

I had in mind to use WD40 on paper towel. Is that safe for leather, plastics, etc, and will it not just add "greasiness"? Thanks.

Update - The Results

After trying these, and other suggestions, I found the best thing was alcohol-based LCD screen wipes. Everything else left it's own residue of sorts, although a leading brand baby wipe, the "pure" variety (no fragrance, no moisturiser, etc), proved to be second-best.

I used the screen wipes, buffing afterwards with a cotton towel, and it worked perfectly. It does need a bit of elbow-grease so be prepared. The best quote I got to remove this professionally was £75 so I guess a £3 pack of wipes and an hour's work was worth it! Thanks for the suggestions.

  • 2
    You don't want to use WD-40, as that would make matters worse. You could possibly try baby wipes, as it should clean the oil off without destroying anything. Then use some type of leather conditioner for the seating surfaces. This is a SWAG on my part ... hopefully someone else has some better advice for you. Dec 3, 2014 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


Your local tyre shop will have a supply of 'buffing' fluid which they use to clean a tyre prior to puncture repairs. It will remove the treatment on your steering wheel, and as it is aromatic will dry completely.

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