How to clean your rubber watch strap

How to clean your rubber watch strap

Naturally enough, our watches can get dirty from time to time. Whether its sweat, water, dirt, mud, sand or whatever else, every once in a while we should clean our watches so as to maintain their condition and optimum performance. With straps making up the majority of the surface area of a watch, they are the pieces of our watches that can take on the most dirt and require the best clean, and rubber straps are no exception. While they might be waterproof, rubber straps aren’t dirt proof, so just how do you clean them? Let’s go through it step by step.

1. Remove strap

First thing we have to do to clean any watch strap whether it is made of rubber, nylon, leather, or a metal bracelet, we need to take it off. This is perhaps the most technically challenging part of the process if you haven’t done it before or don’t have the right tools. We have our own selection of watch strap tools here, if you need to get yourself some. Remove the strap by either unscrewing the lug bar, engaging with the spring bar or removing the strap through whatever system your watch uses.

2. Run Strap under water

So, your watch strap is free from your watch head, now you should run it under warm water as you fill your sink up with the warm water. This allows you to remove the largest pieces of dirt that might act as abrasives and damage the strap as we scrub it later on. After a few seconds, your rubber watch strap should be relatively clean and free from large debris.

3. Soak in warm soapy water

Next, add some soap to the water in your sink and leave your rubber watch strap to sit in the warm soapy water for a few minutes. This loosen any remaining dirt and grime, and prepares the watch strap for the next step.

4. Clean with a soft brush

Finally, using a very soft toothbrush (we recommend a soft child’s toothbrush), put soap on the toothbrush, wet it and gently scrub the rubber watch strap with the toothbrush so as to remove any remaining pieces of dirt and clean the surface  in its entirety. Don’t forget to get the bristles inside of the pin holes and as deep into the spring bar holes as your can. After your strap has been scrubbed, rinse it off with water and remove any soap, dirt and whatever else might be on it. 

You can also use a cloth for this stage instead of a brush if you want, but they are usually unable to get into the small corners like a toothbrush can. However, general speaking, they are easier on the strap’s surface and better for the strap if it is old and beginning to show signs of wear or fading. 

5. Dry with a towel

Finally, after your strap has been cleaned all you have to do now is dry it so that you can wear it again! This is best done by laying it on a towel, folding the rest of the towel over it and patting it dry. The, just re-attach your strap ad you’re good to go!

6. Tips for Stubborn Stains

So, if your rubber watch strap has a spot of discoloration thanks to some stubborn stains, the best way to remove them (if the method ooutlined above hasnt worked) is to use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to remove the stain. A brush can be used too if its a very stubborn stain and the cotton swab doesnt work.

People can also recommend using acetone, or baking soda and water, to remove stubborn stains, but acetone can remove the color from some straps and baking soda with water can be too abrasive if too much pressure is applied. While these agre great ways to remove stains that rubbing alcohol might not be able to clean, they can damage your strap so be very careful.