Learn the best method for cleaning your watch band, no matter the material.
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An Apple Watch is the ultimate accessory and the productivity hack of the century. It assists with timekeeping, sleep and fitness tracking, internet and phone notifications, heart rate monitoring, and even emergency notifications. Not to mention, it is fashionable and waterproof.

But because they are so ubiquitous, Apple Watches get worn constantly and the band gets dirty over time. Dust, sweat, lotion, food, and dirt can affect the way your watch band looks and dull or discolor the material. Regular cleaning at least once every two weeks will help maintain its fresh-out-of-the-box appearance.

apple watch
Credit: Getty / bombuscreative

How to Clean an Apple Watch Band

Apple Watch bands come in various materials, including leather, wood, silicone, and stainless steel. Cleaning methods differ depending on the material. Here's what you need to get started.

What You'll Need

  • Non-abrasive, lint-free cloth
  • Lukewarm water
  • Liquid soap
  • Cotton swabs
  • Stainless-steel polish
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Alcohol wipes (for the Apple Watch, Solo Loop, Sport Band, or Metal Band)

Step 1: Remove Band

To avoid damaging the watch during cleaning, remove the band from your wrist.

Step 2: Identify Material and Clean Accordingly

How you clean your Apple Watch band will depend on its material. See instructions below for specific watch bands and their cleaning considerations.

Leather Apple Watch Bands

Leather requires general maintenance to keep its soft texture and high quality. Leather is not waterproof. Water deforms leather and causes discoloration. Even when water dries, it can crack a leather watch band. Apple recommends the following method to clean leather watch bands.

Wipe the leather band clean with a non-abrasive or lint-free cloth. Use a damp cloth with fresh water to remove sticky smudges. Do not expose leather bands to sunlight, high temperatures, or high humidity.

Silicone Apple Watch Bands

Silicone bands can be washed with warm water and liquid soap. They are waterproof and easy to clean. Avoid harsh cleaning agents that could degrade the protective coating.

Nylon Apple Watch Bands

Nylon watch bands can be cleaned with a damp cloth. However, nylon tends to absorb water, so avoid cleaning it under running water or popping it in your washer. Be sure to let it dry thoroughly before reattaching the band to the watch. If water remains on the material, it will start to smell.

Stainless-Steel Apple Watch Bands

Stainless-steel watch bands are made of 316L stainless steel. Apple recommends only using a non-abrasive lint-free cloth to wipe the band. If that's not enough to remove stains or smudges, consider other cleaning methods that won't damage the band. Try warm, soapy water with a cloth. Dry the band thoroughly to avoid rusting. Harsh cleaning agents may degrade the band's protective coating and affect the color.

For tough residue, try a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar to clean a stainless-steel watch band. Apply the solution with a cotton swab and gently rub away stains. To improve shine and help remove scratches, use a high-quality metal polish specifically intended for jewelry.

Wood Apple Watch Bands

Wooden watch bands should be wiped down with a damp cloth and placed in open air to dry quickly. Prolonged exposure to water will cause wood to deform or crack.

Braided-Loop Apple Watch Bands

Braided-loop textured designs make it easy for dirt to get lodged in the band weaving. Unlike woven nylon, these bands are water-resistant. Consider using a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub the band gently before rinsing with water and letting dry.

Other Apple Watch Bands

Apple has specific recommendations for Solo Loop, Sport, and Nike Sport Bands. The popular sports bands are made from fluoroelastomer, a flexible yet strong material made of chemical compounds. It is safe to use while swimming or getting sweaty.

Wipe the band clean with a non-abrasive and lint-free cloth. Lightly dampen a cloth with fresh water. Use mild, hypoallergenic hand soap for cleaning these bands. Dry the band before reattaching it to your Apple Watch.

For all other bands, buckles, and closures, wipe clean with a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth. For any bands that are not made by Apple, read the manufacturer's instructions for care and handling.

Cleaning your Apple Watch band will help maintain its original luster. To avoid damaging the band, check the Apple site or the manufacturer's care details to check their official recommendations.

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