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An unfortunate encounter with a sticky shopping cart over the weekend somehow transferred something sticky to my steering wheel (leather wrapped). Dish soap and water failed to get it off. I'm a little nervous to use anything too harsh on the leather... any suggestions? I'm also quite sensitive to chemicals, so I don't want to use anything that will leave a strong smell for a long time.
 

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It's probably tree sap. GooGone or whatever, is not that effective IMHO, if it is sap. I would just open all car doors, put a dab of paint thinner on a paper towel, and get the junk off and then immediately wipe off any residue with soap/water and dry it immediately. I had done similar to my MX-5 leather seats when sap was transferred to them and that procedure worked really well.

Keep the car doors open for a bit longer in case there are still any fumes around.
 

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I would use goo-gone as the first line of defense, and not go to anything harsher unless you have no choice. You don't want to ruin the leather. Goo-gone usually has a nice orange smell that is not too offensive. You can follow it up with some mild cleaner, and then some Lexol to put some protective oil back in the leather. Whatever you do, you'll have to air out the car afterwards.
 

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I would first try Murphy oil soap. That will definitely be gentle on the leather. If that doesn't work, you may be dealing with some kind of glue, like the residue left behind when a label or tape is removed. Rubbing alcohol can often be effective at cleaning that without being too damaging on many surfaces. Not sure what effect that will have on the leather, so spot test it first. If the leather takes a beating during the cleaning, condition it with mink oil.
 

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If it's not water-based, then you would want to start off with lighter solvents first.

Rubbing alcohol can often be effective at cleaning that without being too damaging on many surfaces. Not sure what effect that will have on the leather, so spot test it first.
I would also start here, with a dilute rubbing alcohol. It's a lighter solvent and the other benefit is that it evaporates quickly, so generally doesn't hang around and continue to dissolve stuff.

As you do this, you may also remove some of the oils in the leather, which keep it from drying out. Once you get the goo off, you can replace these by using a Leather Conditioner.
 

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Don't use any harsh solvents like alcohol.

I've used a gentle multi-purpose cleaner (the natural stuff with a little vinegar in it has been a go-to before) to clean leather steering wheels. Then you can follow up with leather cleaner/conditioner.


Speaking of cleaning steering wheels - I've noticed my '18 leather wrapped wheel still has a strong dye smell that transfers to my hands. Cleaning it every month or two keeps it at bay for a while, but it comes back. Kinda figured it'd be gone by now at ~7 months old. I've never had that before with another car. I've cleaned mine with leather cleaner a few times, and gentle multi-purpose cleaner - the multi-purpose cleaner seems to keep the dye smell away longer.
 

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Don't use any harsh solvents like alcohol.

I've used a gentle multi-purpose cleaner (the natural stuff with a little vinegar in it has been a go-to before) to clean leather steering wheels. Then you can follow up with leather cleaner/conditioner.
Vinegar is pretty harsh.

What makes rubbing alcohol more harsh than vinegar in your book? Vinegar doesn't evaporate. Using it would just add a strong acid to the equation.
 

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Try leather treatment first, Maguiar's etc or saddle soap from tack store. Also depends if sticky is water soluble or not. If it is, soap and water then leather treatment/cleaner like Maguiar's etc. to put some oils back in. If it's not, Goo Gone, might have to let it soak a bit. Then Maguiar's leather cleaner/treatment after. Don't use any solvents some like toluene or xylene are really harsh while propanol is much less so but you shouldn't have to use any of these.
 
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