How to Clean a Leather Watch Band

Everyone loves the luxurious look and feel of a genuine leather watch band. Unfortunately, they are also one of the harder bands to clean and care for.  Genuine leather will react differently based on factors like how long you wear it, what kind of activity you do while wearing one, as well as exposure to different environments.  Our team compiled a few suggestions for you to try when you feel like the look of your band is wearing down or has built up grime or odor.

This may seem obvious, but make sure you remove your strap from your watch before trying any of these recommendations.

AIR IT OUT

Sometimes your band just needs a little time to breath. Often times just letting the band sit out by an open window or a fan (away from sunlight) for a few hours is all you need! We recommend not sleeping or working out in leather straps and bands either, so a good daily habit would be to allow your band to air out on a nightstand or dresser overnight. 

GOOD OLD WATER

Another option is to try the ultimate cleaning weapon: water! Never allow direct water contact to your leather band, rather wipe with a lightly damp cloth.  We have seen many people say they wipe their band with a cloth wet with Lyson, but this is something we definitely do not recommend! If you find a damp cloth is just not doing the trick, add a small amount of mild hand soap or baking soda with water and wipe the underside of the band only. You can also wipe your band with an equal solution of distilled white vinegar and water in a damp rag but always do a test patch before applying everywhere. We recommend this method once a week.

SOAK IT UP

If you have time to spare, place your watch band in a plastic bag with a few teaspoons of baking soda to soak up any moisture and odors. Let sit in the bag for 12-24 hours, and repeat until odor is gone. 

CONDITIONING

While our leather straps come with a light protective seal, like most leather bands ours are not waxed to be completely waterproof/sweatproof. Water itself will not wipe away the protective coating, but it is good to touch-up the band over the years, especially if you live in unusually warm temperatures (exposes the leather to sweat) or very cold temperatures (dry air can cause any leather to crackle). However, it is always wise to do your research before applying anything to your strap or bands. Remove any oil or lotion with a lint-free cloth.

We don’t recommend leather lotions or conditioners that are typically used for furniture, as keeping it in contact with your skin may cause irritation shortly after exposing your skin to it.

 

There are so many options for leather lotions and conditioners, so ultimately it may come down to what you personally prefer. Some are meant for a light application, and some for heavy cleaning. Some may darken the color of the leather, and it comes in many forms ranging from solids to liquids. We recommend checking out Reddit or other watch forums such as WatchuSeek for some suggestions depending on the specific strap you have, as well as checking out ratings on Amazon. Once you find a conditioning product you love, treat your band as much as you see fit, but no more than once a week. Since our bands are lightly pre-conditioned, not many customers say they go through this process with our bands. Our exception is with our suede bands or leather NATO straps that have more raw texture. For these bands, avoid using any cleaning lotions or oils, and simple scrub lightly with a toothbrush and water for a deeper clean.

Some recommendations from past customers: Fiebings Mink Oil or Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP.

Note: If you suffer from allergies to products like these, many customers have told us they apply a very high-quality lip balm to the underside and sides of the band if the leather becomes too dry.

 

Clockwork Synergy is not responsible for any damages that may occur due to customers cleaning their own bands themselves. These are examples we have seen work for other customers, but cannot claim each example will work for all customers on all types of leather bands and straps. Always run a test patch before exposing your band and skin to any water, oils, or cleaning supplies.

This post was not sponsored.  Clockwork Synergy and its employees are not affiliated with or compensated for any purchases using links leading to Amazon listings.

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