It’s time to keep your watchbands in tick-tock shape

It’s time to keep your watchbands in tick-tock shape

old and new watches

Whether you’ve got a Rolex or Apple Watch, proper care will help their bands last longer and protect your investment. Think about it—you wear your watch almost every day, whether you’re working, exercising, traveling, or playing. But when was the last time you cleaned the band from the dirt, oils, sweat, and soap that have accumulated?

Men’s Journal has a great primer on how to clean watchbands. So does NOTE: If you’re dealing with an expensive and/or vintage watch, always check with your jeweler or an expert first!

How often should you clean your watch strap?

  • Every day wear: If you wear your watch every day for everything you do, experts suggest cleaning the strap every 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Special occasions: Every 3 to 4 months should be enough.

Vintage watchbands


  • Steel, titanium: Use a soft brush with a gentle soap to make sure you get into the nooks and crannies. Don’t forget to clean out the clasp, too!
  • Gold, platinum: Fill a bowl with warm water and very gentle soap and use your fingers to clean between the links. A microfiber cloth is best for drying.


  • Don’t get these straps wet; water can stain and dry them out. Sweat is the same as getting your band wet, so try to wear another watch for your gym workout and basketball games.  If a strap does get wet, wipe it dry a.s.a.p. with a soft cloth.
  • To clean leather bands, wipe off the dirt and use a soft cloth with a leather cleaner and conditioner. (Some conditioners may darken the leather, so be careful). Let it dry overnight and you’re good to go.
  •  Like shoes, let your leather watch straps rest for a day or so after they’re worn.

Modern watch bands


  • These are durable, but sweat and sunscreen/bug spray can work their way into the weave.
  • Remove the straps from the watch and brush off the visible dirt. Then submerge them in a bowl of warm water with gentle soap for a couple of minutes. A soft brush or soft toothbrush work well to gently rub away any dirt that may have settled in the woven band. Then rinse it one more time and roll it in a hand towel to dry.
  • Another source says that if you can remove the band from the watch, you can just put them in a net bag (or sock) and throw them in the washing machine with your next cold-water laundry.

Rubber/silicone watchbands

  • Lots of fitness watches fit this category. Remove the straps from the watch and rinse them under warm water with mild dishwashing soap.
  • Rinse well and let them air out overnight—they’ll smell all nice and fresh for your next workout.

If you do have heirloom or expensive wristwatches, don’t forget to insure them against loss or theft—time’s flying by. Watches, clocks…whatever the piece, I’ll make the time to give you a professional appraisal. It just takes seconds to set up an appointment at (617) 304-0174 or (Sorry for the puns!)

Timelessly yours, Aimee

About Aimee Berrent

Aimee M. Berrent is the owner of A Matter of Brilliance and a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She offers appraisal services such as jewelry appraisals, diamond appraisals, and estate appraisals within Massachusetts and all over the East Coast.
Aimee has over 25 years experience in the jewelry trade, and received her Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) in Residence diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, California, and is a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA).
Aimee has advanced training in jewelry appraisal theory. She frequently attends jewelry conferences and takes courses to stay on top of current gemological advances and appraisal training.

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