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

Bands made of rubber are extremely popular, especially for sports watches and Apple watch models. 

Therefore, after being used in athletic or outdoorsy activities where there is a lot of sweat, salt, dust, and debris involved, every rubber watch band needs a bit of special care. 

Before you decide to spend money on a new rubber watch band and replace your rubber watch band, you may want to know how to properly clean your straps daily. This could possibly make rubber straps 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 Watch Band

In order to start cleaning your 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:

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

How to Remove the Band

Before you can start cleaning your 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 types and models of bands. 

Methods for Cleaning a Watch Band

The list above offers you various tools and cleaning products that you can use to clean your rubber 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 watch band:

1. Use Toothpaste

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

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

2. Use Alcohol

You can also try to clean your band by soaking a cotton ball in alcohol and wiping the grime away. This also works great for cleaning yellowed phone cases.

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 soapy water to make a paste. 

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

Similar to cleaning clear phone cases and shin guards, this method using baking soda will also help remove any odors from your smelly watch band. 

4. Use an Eraser

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

5. Use Dish Soap 

Dish soaps is a multi-purpose cleaning agent that is readily used for different surfaces and materials like a 3D printer bed and bands. 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 warm water and clean the band with the soft cloth afterward. 

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

Rinse the rag with clean warm water and go over the 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

WD-40 can be used for various cleaning processes such as cleaning plastic lawn chairs and old mirrors. 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 band apart. 

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

Rinse it off with warm 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 band from your watch. 

You have to then submerge it into the glass with the mixture overnight. In the morning simply rinse off the 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 upper oxidized layer from your 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 silicone watch band. Rinse it off with water and let it air-dry on your clean countertop.


9. Use Clorox

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

Continue taking this step until all the stubborn stains are cleaned off. Thoroughly rinse off the band and dry it with a soft towel before you use it.

10. Use Magic Eraser

If you have dirt and grime on your band, Magic Eraser can help you get it off too. Just rub magic eraser on your band and wait for the magic to happen. Magic erasers are convenient for other cleaning tasks such as cleaning Crocs shoes and keeping shoe laces clean.

11. Run It Through the Dishwasher  

If your band can be removed from the watch itself, you can run it through the dishwasher, similar to the way you clean straws, copper grill mats, and pancake griddles. 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 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 band.

How to Clean a White Rubber Watch Band

Some white watch bands turn yellow from white after cleaning them; White bands get dirt easily. There is a product for a rubber white band you can purchase in addition to following the methods we have outlined.

Magic erasers are made of melamine foam, which is used as a soundproofing material. A magic eraser works like super-fine sandpaper because of its melamine foam construction.

Yellow straps can be turned back into white with magic eraser. Using a magic eraser sponge, splash water on it and squeeze. Apply light pressure to the stain and scrub it with a magic eraser.

The solution can be used for cleaning a variety of items, including jewelry, leather purses, and many more. White rubber straps can also be cleaned with vinegar. However, you need to be careful while cleaning since it can damage the silicone band.

Why Should You Clean a Rubber Watch Band?

Several models of 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 band. 

Some of these may include: 

  • Cologne
  • Body sprays
  • Bug sprays
  • Sunscreen

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

Lastly, if you don’t take proper care of your 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 band. 

Clean rubber watch band tied to a shoe

How Often to Clean a Watch Band

When it comes to how often to clean your 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 straps 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 band from getting dirty or smelly again. 

Make sure to rinse your rubber watchband or watch strap 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 silicone band. 

Immediately clean it with dish soap and 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 watchband or silicone 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, dish soap with warm water, baking soda or the eraser before you choose to use any of the harsher methods. 

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