Cleaning an Apple Watch Band: Do’s and Don’ts

An Apple Watch is a man’s best friend with its amazing abilities to assist in emergency notifications, heart rate monitoring, phone and internet notifications, fitness and sleep tracking, and timekeeping. 

Most Apple Watches are waterproof but their bands may or may not be, depending on their material. To keep your watch bands clean, you need to follow the care instructions for each material type. Before we get into the cleaning do’s and don’ts, did you know how to switch out an Apple Watch band? We have got you covered!

First things first: before we tell you how to switch out an Apple Watch band, switch off your Apple Watch and keep it on a smooth surface such as a soft mat or a microfiber cloth with its screen upside down. Now, to remove the watch from the band, press the button at the rear of the watch and slide it across while holding it. Let it go when the band has slid out. Repeat this with the other button and you have separated the band from the watch.

You are halfway into knowing how to switch out an Apple Watch band. To attach a new band to your Apple Watch, align the new band with the Apple Watch’s band slot and slightly tilt it to fit. You will feel a quiet click when the band attaches itself to the watch. If you don’t hear a click, try repeating the process.

Now that we have this covered, let’s get to the juice, how to clean an Apple watch? Let’s find out!

Things You Need to Clean an Apple Watch Band

Apple Watch bands come in several types of materials including stainless steel, silicone, wood, and leather. Cleaning an Apple Watch band depends on the material of the band but in general, here’s what you need to have before you start the cleaning process:

  • Alcohol wipes for a metal band, Sports band, Solo Loop, or Apple Watch
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Stainless steel polish
  • Cotton swabs
  • Liquid soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • Lint-free, non-abrasive cloth

How to Clean an Apple Watch Band in Two Simple Steps

If you have assembled all those cleaning materials listed above, let’s get into the steps of how to clean an Apple Watch band:

Step 1: Remove the Apple Watch Band

To thoroughly clean an Apple Watch band you need to remove it from your wrist. Wearing it when you clean the band might damage or dirty your wrists. The steps to remove the band from your Apple Watch, you need to follow some of the instructions on how to switch out an Apple Watch.

Step 2: Identify The Material & Clean Accordingly

Once you have followed the instructions on how to switch out an Apple Watch to detach the band from the watch, identify the material of your Apple Watch band. Adopt a cleaning process that does not degrade the material. Check out the cleaning instructions given below to clean your Apple Watch band according to its make:

  • Leather Apple Watch Bands

Leather requires some general maintenance to maintain its high-quality soft texture. It is not a waterproof material since when exposed to water, the leather may deform and discolor. Even if the water dries, it will crack the leather.

Recommendations from Apple suggest that you wipe the leather band clean with a lint-free non-abrasive cloth. You can also damp cloth with fresh water (not dripping wet, though) and remove sticky smudges. Never expose leather bands to high humidity, high temperature, or sunlight.

  • Silicone Apple Watch Bands

Silicone can be washed with liquid soap and warm water. They are easy to clean because they are waterproof, unlike leather. However, do not use harsh cleaning agents on silicone as it could impair its protective coating.

  • Nylon Apple Watch Bands

Nylon can be cleaned with a damp cloth but remember that it can absorb water. So, do not use a dripping wet cloth to wipe, pop it in a washer, or put it under running water. Dry it thoroughly before you reattach the nylon band to your Apple Watch. If the water remains on the nylon band, it will start to stink over time.

  • Stainless Steel Apple Watch Bands

The type of stainless steel used in watch bands is 316L stainless steel. Apple suggests using a lint-free, non-abrasive cloth to wipe stainless steel watch bands. If a cloth wipe is not enough to remove smudges or stains, you may use other cleaning methods that are not too aggressive on stainless steel.

Try wiping the band with a cloth damped in soapy, warm water. After wiping, dry it thoroughly so that the band does not catch rust. Using powerful cleaning agents on stainless steel will affect its color and spoil its protective coating.

In case the smudges are a tough crowd, you can use a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water to clean. Just sip a cotton swab in the solution and gently rub away the stains. If you use a high-quality metal polish that is intended for jewelry, you will be able to remove the stains and retain the shine at the same time.

  • Wood Apple Watch Bands

Wooden Apple Watch bands can be cleaned with a damp cloth and dried quickly by keeping them in the open air. Make sure you do not expose the wood to too much water as it will cause the wood to crack or deform.

  • Braided Loop Apple Watch Bands

Apple Watch bands with braided loops have a lot of dirt stuck in their groves but these are water-resistant so you can gently scrub the band with a soft bristle brush and rinse it under water. Drying is equally important so that water does not retain in its weaves and makes it stink later.

  • Other Apple Watch Bands

Apple has specific recommendations for cleaning a Nike Sport Band, Sport Band, or Solo Loop. These bands are made of a strong, flexible material called fluoroelastomer which is safe to use when you sweat or swim. These can be cleaned with a damp lint-free, non-abrasive cloth and a mild, hypoallergenic hand soap. After cleaning do not forget to dry it before wearing it.

The Bottom Line

Typically, all watch bands need to clean with a lint-free, non-abrasive cloth. If a simple dry wipe is not enough you can damp it with fresh water after making sure that its material will not be damaged by water. For further detailed instructions on how to clean a watch band, check out the manufacturer’s label.


  • How to clean an Apple Watch band with alcohol wipes?

You may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your Apple Watch with 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, or 75% ethyl alcohol wipes. You may also use these wipes on metal bands, Nike Sport Band, Sport Band, and Solo Loop bands.

  • Why does your Apple Watch band stink?

If you fail to keep your watch band clean it will start to have a build-up of bacteria in its seams and around the buckle. Get in the habit of cleaning your watch band every few weeks so that it doesn’t develop a bad smell.

  • How to clean an Apple Watch band with acetone?

Yes, acetone can be used to clean stains off your Apple Watch band. Acetone is the main chemical in all nail polish removers so you can be sure that it is quite gentle and won’t damage your watch band.

  • Can you use baking soda to clean an Apple Watch band?

You may mix one tablespoon of baking soda with water till the mixture becomes a thick paste and apply it to the band for 10 to 15 minutes. After the designated time of wait, rinse the band with lukewarm water and you will have a cleaner band. This will also eliminate all kinds of odor from the watch band.



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