How to clean your Apple Watch bands

A clean Apple Watch band not only looks presentable but also increases comfort, significantly reduces the chance of skin irritations, and prevents damage and discoloration to the band. Plus, cleaning your watch band removes the unpleasant smell that might have developed due to sweat, dirt, etc.

In this guide, we will tell you all you need to know about how to clean your Apple Watch band depending on what it is made of.

Eight Apple Watches with different watch faces and watch bands placed in a beautiful circular design

Materials used in Apple Watch bands

Apple uses various materials in its watch bands and buckles, such as silicone, fluoroelastomer (fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber), nylon, polyester yarn, leather, stainless steel, titanium, and even 18-karat gold.

Here’s a list of Apple Watch bands and the material they are made from:

  • Fluoroelastomer: Sport Band, Nike Sport Band, Ocean Band
  • Liquid silicone rubber: Solo Loop
  • Woven nylon: Sport Loop, Nike Sport Loop
  • Nylon: Trail Loop
  • Polyester: Alpine Loop
  • Polyester yarn braided around silicone thread: Braided Solo Loop
  • Besides that, you can also get bands made of leather and stainless steel.

First, what not to do

  • Don’t use an abrasive substance to clean your Apple Watch or its band. Abrasive materials mean anything that cleans by rubbing off a layer. For example, sandpaper, coarse paper, sanding discs, sharpening stones, etc., are some examples of abrasive things.
  • Don’t use (too much) water with your leather band, as these bands aren’t water resistant. Soaking in water can cause the leather band to lose its color and shape. Plus, when the water dries, it may develop cracks and weaken the band. The same applies to third-party wooden Apple Watch bands.
  • Apple advises against using cleaning products that have bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
  • After you have cleaned your watch band, let it air dry.

Cleaning products you can use

You can use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75% ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to clean your Solo Loop, Sport Band, Nike Sport Band, Ocean Band, or metal band. But avoid these on leather and fabric bands.

How to clean your Apple Watch band

Step 1: Remove the band from the watch

First, detach the band from your Apple Watch. To do that, press and hold the release button at the back of your Apple Watch and slide the band sideways.

How to remove Apple Watch band

Once the band is separated from your watch, follow these cleaning tips.

Step 2: Clean the band carefully

Use a soft nonabrasive lint-free cloth to wipe your watch band. It will take some time to get rid of the stains. In case it doesn’t, feel free to wet the cloth with fresh water or use mild hypoallergenic (one that doesn’t cause allergies) hand soap. To disinfect your watch band, you can use the aforementioned recommended alcohol wipes.

Use a washing machine:

If you have an Apple Watch band made of fabric or cloth, the best and easiest way to clean it is by putting it in a washing machine. While you do that, use a mild detergent or cleaning liquid. And if your cloth band has metal buckles, you may place the band inside a sock and tie a knot so it can’t get out of the sock or directly hit the washing machine drum.

Other important tips:

  • For Sport Band, Solo Loop, Nike Sport Band, and Ocean Band, you can wash them under lukewarm water or fresh tap water.
  • For nylon bands and those with woven designs, use a brush with soft bristles. But make sure not to scratch the material. You may also use mild soap and fresh water to clean them properly.
  • For leather bands, don’t soak them in water or use any hard chemical solution. If you must use water, try to use as little as possible.

Step 3: Clean the buckle

Use the same soft microfiber cloth to wipe the buckle of your Apple Watch band.

Step 4: Clean the band slot

You may have tiny dust particles in the watch slot that you want to get rid of. Use a cotton swab or turn a soft cloth into a thin strip and use it to clean the band slot on your Apple Watch.

Clean the Apple Watch band slot
Image: iFixit

Step 5: Dry before reattaching

Once you have cleaned your band, let it dry before attaching it to the watch. Use a fan or hairdryer on cold settings to dry the watch band quickly. To attach it, simply slide it at its designated slot until you feel and hear a click.

Unofficial tips

Apple’s warranty covers Apple Watch bands for manufacturing defects, but if you damage your band while cleaning it, it will not be covered. So make sure you take proper precautions. That being said, here are some tips you may consider checking out:

  • If your leather band or fabric watch band has developed a bad odor, put it inside a plastic bag and spray your favorite cologne or body spray. Next, seal the bag for a while, and it should remove the bad smell from your watch band.
  • You can use normal toothpaste and an old soft toothbrush to clean your stained Apple Watch Sport Band.
  • To remove scratches from your stainless steel watch band, you may use a metal polishing cloth.
  • To shine your Apple Watch leather band, look for a leather conditioner.
  • Some people have used a damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or a rubber eraser) to clean stains from white nylon watch bands:

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All watch images in this post are from Apple.