How To Clean A Stained Rubber Watch Strap Easily At Home

Dirt and grime can accumulate on your watch over time. While regular cleanings will help avoid this issue, more powerful cleaning solutions will be needed when the build-up is no longer removable on your watch strap.

Smart watch on the wrist.

Cleaning your steel watch band might be a walk in the park.  But what about your rubber watch strap? Learning how to clean and care for your rubber strap is essential. The methods listed below will help you clean your strap to remove debris and restore the original lustre of your watch. Let’s find out more!

Why you should clean your rubber strap

Sure, watch straps are incredibly resilient and designed for use in severe environments and are often water-resistant. They are not invincible, though, and if not correctly cleaned and cared for, they will have a reduced lifespan.

Long-term sun exposure can also cause the strap to dry up and break. Other items that you use on a daily basis, on the other hand, can also harm your watch. Here are a few examples:

  • Cologne
  • Bodysprays
  • Bug sprays
  • Sunscreen

These items might have the same effect on the strap as the sun. If you don’t clean your rubber strap properly, it can collect a lot of build-up from these products and sweat, salt, and other debris, which can leave dark markings on your skin.

Not only that, but it can also lead to the growth of bacteria, which can result in skin rashes or a foul odour. 

How often should you clean?

Cleaning frequency is mostly determined by how often you wear your watch and where you wear it. If you wear it every day and while working out, you should clean it every two days or so at the very least.

If you have various watches that you switch depending on the occasion and don’t wear while exercising, you can extend the term and clean your strap every three months.

How to clean a rubber watch strap

There are many cleaning methods with a variety of household products. We’ll go over six of the best ways to clean a rubber strap. Furthermore, any method listed below should be used with caution if you have skin allergies or sensitivities.

1. WD-40

The best way to clean a rubber strap is to use WD-40 spray. It’s a multi-purpose product with anti-corrosion agents and other additives. The WD-40 is usually used to remove soil and displace water.

Many people mistakenly believe that WD-40 is a lubricant, but it isn’t. Acetone and isopropyl alcohol are weaker than WD-40. Keep in mind that the use of WD-40 on a very regular basis might potentially harm your straps.

Rub a small amount of WD-40 on the stained area using a soft cloth or your finger. If you still can’t get it out, apply additional WD-40 to the stains. 

2. Isopropyl alcohol

Use rubbing alcohol to clean the strap by applying it to the stained area with a soft cloth. Alcohol will remove all the stains and the upper oxidised layer of the strap. 

3. Toothpaste 

It is a very effective stain remover. Rub the toothpaste onto the strap with a gentle brush. After some time has passed, wash the straps in clean water

Do not use whitening or mouth refreshing toothpaste when using this method. Choose a toothpaste that you think will work best for the strap.


4. Baking soda

The upper oxide coating of the strap will be peeled away when you use baking soda. To make a paste, combine baking soda and fresh water in a small bowl. 

The mixture should look like toothpaste. Apply the paste to the strap with a soft brush or a clean cloth with minimal pressure. 

5. Acetone

 It is a strong solvent that can be used to clean a rubber watchband. Acetone is more effective than isopropyl alcohol at removing the upper oxide level. If you use this method very repeatedly, however, it can be harmful.

If you haven’t cleaned your rubber strap in a year or two, this is the finest way to get rid of stains and debris.

6. Denture cleaners

Fill a glass halfway with water and denture cleaning (Polident). Remove your rubber strap from the watch, if possible.

After that, immerse it in the mixture for at least 24 hours and then simply rinse the strap and air dry it in the morning.

How to clean a white rubber strap

White straps attract dirt very simply, and they turn yellow over time. One of the best ways to clean a white strap is to use a magic eraserMelamine foam, which is a soundproofing substance, is used to make the eraser. It acts like super-fine sandpaper on stains and grime.

apple watch with a white strap on her hand

The magic colour can change the colour of the strap from yellow to white in no time. To clean white straps, dampen the magic eraser‘s sponge and squeeze it. Then, scrub the stains with minimal pressure using the magic eraser

Once you are done, you can clean the strap with vinegar to ensure it is all clean. The magic eraser can also be used to clean leather bands, leather purses, and leather straps.

Vinegar can also be used to treat white straps. However, use it with caution because it can damage the strap. Therefore, don’t use too much of it and stick with small amounts.

What is the best way to clean a smelly rubber watch strap?

These types of straps can sometimes emit foul odours. Toothpaste and mouth freshener can help with this problem. To avoid or remove unwanted odours from your straps, follow these instructions:

  1. Scrub the smelly spots with mild soap and water.
  2. Then, rub it using a soft toothbrush.
  3. Wipe it away using a lint-free damp cloth.

Ultrasonic cleaners can also be used to deodorise a stinky rubber strap or if your strap emits a chemical odour. These kinds of odours are dangerous to your respiratory system.

Hands of young woman getting detergent on a sponge

How to clean silicone straps

Cleaning stained silicone is very easy. Follow these steps and clean your silicone strap:

  1. Fill a small basin halfway with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of dish soap to the basin.
  3. Submerge both sides of the strap in the basin for about an hour or two.
  4. Check for any discolouration by rubbing the strap with your fingertips.
  5. Use a gentle toothbrush to remove the stains.
  6. Wipe the silicone strap clean using a small cotton cloth.
  7. Wait until the strap is fully dry before you wear it again.

Prevention tips

  1. Straps should be cleaned with warm water regularly and dried with soft cotton.
  2. Keep it away from chlorine and saltwater.
  3. Avoid using abrasive cleaners as they can potentially damage your rubber strap in the long run. If you have to, don’t use them very often. 
  4. Full-sleeve shirts should be avoided since the buttons on the sleeves can harm the rubber straps.
  5. When using aftershave, perfume, etc., don’t let your rubber strap come into contact with any of these. 
  6. Put the strap in warm water after removing it from your hand. Its colour will not fade, and it won’t melt in warm water
  7. Clean it regularly with old toothpaste or dish soap. Keep the strap in a bowl of water with a bit of dish soap and soak it overnight.
  8. Choose the right strap for your skin tone.
  9. If you have a small amount of dirt, it can be removed with an eraser. You can also clean with an eraser regularly. However, don’t rub the eraser too hard, or the strap will be damaged.
  10. When cleaning your watch band, avoid using brushes with harsh bristles. They will diminish the strap’s lifespan.
  11. After 18 to 24 months, replace the old straps with new ones. With regular cleaning and care, these sorts of straps can last up to two years.

Smart silver watch on the mirror with reflection

All of the tools, cleaning supplies, and methods listed above will make your life easier and assist you in cleaning your rubber strap. Before using any harsher treatments, it is best to try the softer ones first, such as warm soapy water, baking soda, or an eraser. Experiment with several methods until you find one that fits you the most!

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