How to Clean a Rubber Watch Band

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Rubber is a very durable, inexpensive material and therefore it is commonly used for watch bands. 

Rubber watch bands can last for a very long time if you learn how to clean a rubber watch band clean properly and regularly. They are also the easiest to clean and maintain. 

How to Clean a Rubber Watch Band

Rubber watch bands are extremely popular, especially for sport watches. 

Therefore, after being used in athletic or outdoorsy activities where there is a lot of sweat, salt, dust, and debris involved, they need a bit of special care. 

Before you decide to spend money and replace your rubber watch band, you may want to know how to properly clean it. This could possibly make it look brand new and therefore you will not be needing a new one. 

Rubber watch on top of a cellphone

First Step to Cleaning a Rubber Watch Band

In order to start cleaning your rubber watch band, you will need to get all the necessary cleaning products and tools close by. Here is a list of things you might need, depending on which cleaning method you choose:

  • Water
  • Cotton balls
  • Baking soda
  • Toothpaste
  • A soft brush (toothbrush)
  • Dish soap
  • Soft cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Denture cleaners
  • Acetone
  • Clorox
  • Eraser 
  • WD-40
  • Magic eraser 
  • Vinegar

How to Remove the Rubber Watch Band

Before you can start cleaning your rubber watch band, you will need to remove it from your watch for the process to be easier for you. 

So, place your watch face down onto a soft cloth. Press the quick release button and slide your rubber bands out. This should generally work for all rubber watch bands. 

Methods for Cleaning a Rubber Watch Band

The list above offers you various tools and cleaning products that you can use to clean your rubber watch band and extend its life span. 

Here are the cleaning methods to accompany them and to help you get rid of dirt and grime from your rubber watch band:

1. Use Toothpaste

Firstly, you can start cleaning your rubber watch band by applying some white toothpaste to the dirty surface. 

Rub it in with a soft toothbrush or your fingers. After that, you can rinse it off with clean water and dry it with a towel.  

2. Use Rubbing Alcohol

You can also try to clean your rubber watch band by soaking a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and wiping the grime away.

Once you’ve done that, you can rinse it off with water and dry it with a soft towel. 

Baking soda

3. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has endless uses when it comes to cleaning. Therefore, you can use a mix of baking soda and water to make a paste. 

Take that paste and rub it gently on the rubber watch band with either a soft brush or your fingers. Rinse off with water and dry with a soft towel. 

This method will also help remove any odors from your rubber watch band. 

4. Use an Eraser

If your rubber watch band is only mildly dirty, you can simply use an eraser. Just rub it until the dirt gets removed.  

5. Use Dish Soap 

Add a few drops of dish soap into a container. Add one cup of warm water on top of it so that it mixes and creates bubbles. 

Dip a soft cloth/rag into the soapy water and clean the rubber watch band with it afterwards. 

You can also dip a cotton swab into the soapy water to reach the smaller areas of your rubber watch band. 

Rinse the rag with clean water and go over the rubber watch band to rinse off the soap. Dry it off with a soft towel or you can also let it air-dry in your decking.

6. Use WD-40

This method should be your last choice, only if nothing else worked. If caution is not exercised with using WD-40, you could end up breaking the rubber watch band apart. 

Use the WD-40 method just like the rubbing alcohol method by soaking a cotton ball or a rag in it and gently rub it on the rubber watch band. 

Rinse it off with water and dry it with a soft towel at the end. 

7. Use Denture Cleaners

Fill a glass with water and add some denture cleaner (Polident) to it. This method works if you can remove your rubber watch band from your watch. 

You have to then submerge it into the glass with the mixture overnight. In the morning simply rinse off the rubber watch band and dry it off with a towel. 

8. Use Acetone

When it comes to acetone, you must use the same caution as you would with the WD-40. 

It is quite a strong cleaning method and it can peel off a layer from your rubber watch band if you use too much of it or if used too often. 

For this method, you can dip a cotton ball in acetone and rub it on the rubber watchband. Rinse it off with water and let it air-dry on your clean countertop.

Clorox

9. Use Clorox

Mix some water and Clorox in a container. Take a soft toothbrush, dip it in the mixture, and rub it gently on the stained rubber watch band. 

Continue taking this step until the stain is cleaned off. Thoroughly rinse off the rubber watch band and dry it with a soft towel before you use it.

10. Use Magic Eraser

If you have dirt and grime on your rubber watch band, Magic Eraser can help you get it off too. Just rub it on your rubber watch band and wait for the magic to happen. 

11. Run It Through the Dishwasher  

If your rubber watch band can be removed from the watch itself, you can run it through the dishwasher. The warm water will not affect the rubber in any way. 

12. Use Vinegar

Fill a glass with hot water and add detergent and some vinegar in it. Remove your rubber watch band from your watch and soak it in the mixture for at least 30 minutes. 

Rinse with clean water afterwards and let it air-dry. This method can also remove odors from your rubber watch band. 

Why Clean the Rubber Watch Band

Rubber watch bands are extremely durable and they are made for harsher conditions. 

However, they are not invincible and can easily have a shorter lifespan if not properly cleaned and taken care of. 

Prolonged sun exposure can make the rubber dry out and crack over time. At the same time, other products that we use on a daily basis can damage the rubber watch band. 

Some of these may include: 

  • Cologne
  • Body sprays
  • Bug sprays
  • Sunscreen

These products can have the same effect as the sun on your rubber watch band. 

Lastly, if you don’t take proper care of your rubber watch band, it can accumulate a lot of build-up from these products mixed with sweat, salt and other debris that will start leaving dark marks on your skin. 

Not only that, but it can also build up bacteria that can cause skin rashes or bad smell. Therefore, it is important that you learn how to clean and care for your rubber watch band. 

Clean rubber watch band tied to a shoe

How Often to Clean a Rubber Watch Band

When it comes to how often to clean your rubber watch band, it strongly depends on how often you wear it and where you wear it. 

If you wear it every single day and while you work out, you should clean it at least every two days. 

However, if you have multiple watches, which you rotate depending on the occasion, and you don’t really use them while working out, you can extend the period and clean your rubber watch band every 3 months or so. 

How to Prevent Damage 

The most important part of this learning process is to also learn how to prevent your rubber watch band from getting dirty or smelly again. 

Make sure to rinse your rubber watch band after every exposure to salt, sweat or chlorine. Therefore, do this every time after working out or going swimming. 

Additionally, try to never apply cologne, perfume, aftershave, sunscreen, or bug spray directly on your rubber watch band. 

Immediately clean it with warm soapy water if you do it accidentally.

Final Thoughts

All the above-mentioned tools, cleaning products, and methods will make your life easier and will help you clean your rubber watch band. After you apply any of these methods it will look brand new. 

We recommend that you try the softer methods first like using toothpaste, warm soapy water, baking soda or the eraser before you choose to use any of the harsher methods. 

However, if your rubber watch band needs more special attention, you can try multiple methods before you find the perfect one for you.