by Fabian Iber May 25, 2022

Every watch strap you wear will eventually need a bit of a clean, especially if you lead an active lifestyle! A good quality watch strap may be durable and long-lasting, but will still collect sweat, oil and dirt the more you wear it. So getting into the habit of regularly cleaning your watch strap is a great way to increase its life and look new for longer.

You don’t need any special supplies when cleaning your watch strap, in most cases, some warm water mixed with a few drops of mild dish soap and a toothbrush or sponge should do the trick!

How often should I clean my watch strap?

That depends on how often you wear your strap and how active your lifestyle is. If you wear the same strap every day and in an active setting where you’re sweating, we suggest wiping your strap dry regularly and cleaning it every couple of weeks. If you rotate between straps and mostly wear them at a desk job, you don’t have to wash your strap as often, usually just once every couple of months.

However, if you often wear your watch in the sea, for example, it’s good to clean your strap right after, to wash away any saltwater.

How to clean a leather watch strap

Leather usually shouldn’t get wet, as this can stain the strap or dry the leather out over time causing it to crack. The best way to clean a leather watch strap would be to use a clean cloth and gently wipe away any debris or oil build-up.

If your leather strap is looking a little dull and dry, we suggest applying a leather conditioner with a soft cloth, wiping any excess and allowing the strap to air dry. This will get your leather strap looking shiny and feeling soft again.

How to clean a NATO watch strap

Most NATO straps are made from synthetic materials like nylon, which can be easily cleaned with warm soapy water. As these straps are often woven, debris can get caught between the threads, which requires a little extra care to get out.

If your strap is waterproof (most NATO’s should be) soak the strap in warm water with a few drops of dish soap, for around 5 minutes. Then, gently scrub away any remaining dirt with a soft brush, taking care not to damage the fibres. Soak the strap again, this time in clean water (no soap) and pat dry with a soft cloth.

How to clean a rubber or silicone watch strap

These straps are the easiest to clean and maintain, as they’re naturally waterproof and dirt repellent. As with the NATO strap, soak your rubber or silicone strap in warm soapy water and wipe clean with a soft sponge (use a soft brush for more stubborn dirt). Finally, rinse with cold water and pat dry.

How to clean a metal watch bracelet

Metal watch straps require a little more time and care, especially around the links where debris build-up is most common. First, wipe any excess dirt with a soft cloth. Next, Soak the bracelet in warm soapy water for 5 minutes, followed by gently scrubbing with a soft brush (a toothbrush is ideal) making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. Rinse the bracelet with clean water, making sure to rinse off any soap residue, as this can affect the polished look after. Pat the bracelet dry and polish with a soft cloth.

If your watch bracelet has any soft metals, such as gold, we suggest you don’t scrub it as this can damage the material. Instead, you can opt for a good-quality jewellery cleaning spray, which will remove any oil, marks and stains without damaging the strap.

And you’re done! If you make the habit of cleaning your watch straps more regularly you can prevent any build-up, making cleaning your strap that much easier.