Clean dirty stitching; colored steering wheel threads.

BMW tri stitch m color steering wheel clean
Problem: Dirty threads on steering wheel (or seats, armrest, boots etc.).
Application: All model BMWs
Solution: Use dish soap with water and a clean toothbrush.
Cost: FREE / $1

Tri-color stitching, M stripe thread cleaning:

Human hands naturally produce oil which will work its way onto the threads of your stitched steering wheel over time. If you have black threads, this is not a major deal as you will most likely never notice. However, if you have custom colored stitching or the M stripe tri-color as found on the M cars you will notice the vibrancy of the thread color fades over time. Many miles pass and hot summers lead to sweaty hands which will ultimately require the need for cleaning to restore the original look.

Luckily the process and supplies are cheap and simple. The key ingredient here is standard dish soap.

What supplies are needed?

➊ Dish soap
➋ Empty bowl
➌ Water
➍ Clean tooth brush
➎ Clean drying rag

Why is dish soap the key ingredient?

Dish soap is a natural degreaser. Dawn dish soap is actually used to clean the oil off wildlife animals in the ocean after crude oil spills, in addition to cleaning greasy dishes. Because of its incredible power to remove grease and oil, dish soap is a perfect solution to remove the natural oils human hands produce which transfer to the steering wheel through normal use.

How much time is needed?

About 10 minutes total for one steering wheel.

What is the process to clean dirty stitching?

✔ Refer to the pictures below for reference on the process described:

Simply apply a few drops of dish soap to an empty bowl, then add tap water. Room temperature to cold water temperature is preferred. The toothbrush should be brand new or completely clean from any grease or debris. Do not use a used toothbrush from cleaning wheels. You can get a three-pack of brand new toothbrushes from Walmart for 99 cents, get a few packs. The toothbrushes will eventually go to use, they come in handy when cleaning your car; or your teeth.

Dip the clean toothbrush in the soapy water and start to gently apply it to the stitching. Go in different directions using swirling motion. Swirl left, then right, then straight back and forth. Moving the brush in different directions will ensure all surface areas of the threads come in contact with the bristles of the brush. It is very similar to brushing your teeth. After a few passes rinse the brush in the water and continue. The more times you dip the toothbrush in the solution the more clean soap you will have to clean the soiled threads.


Do not over scrub the threads! It does not take much pressure at all to clean the threads. Applying too much pressure will result in threads pulling out of the weave and result in small "hairs" to lift.

You should begin to see color coming back to the colored threads as the grease is removed after only a few seconds. Take a clean rag and lightly dab the dirty water from the steering wheel. Continue to brush the remainder of the threads in the same fashion until the whole steering wheel is complete. Other stitching found on the seats, shift boot, arm rest etc. all can be cleaned using this same procedure.

Where can I learn more BMW tips?

Learn more BMW pro tips by clicking HERE

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