Your Apple Watch—susceptible to sweat, food splatters and dye stains from your favorite denim jacket—is always on the frontlines. And it shows. Fortunately, you needn’t replace the band on your favorite timepiece as soon as it starts looking worse for the wear. Here’s how to clean an Apple Watch band the right way, whether you’re rocking a leather, elastomer, silicone or supposed-to-be white style around your wrist.
How to clean your Apple Watch leather band
If your Apple Watch boasts a fancy leather band, a gentle cleaning process is in order. According to the folks at Apple, the leather used is not water-resistant—so whatever you do, don’t douse the wristband. Instead, follow these quick and easy steps to get the band squeaky clean without doing any damage.
Step 1: Detach the band from the Apple Watch. (Depending on how dirty the band is, it might require a small amount of water, which is a no-no for your Apple Watch.)
Step 2: Gently wipe the leather with a microfiber cloth. A clean, non-abrasive microfiber cloth is key when it comes to buffing the band clean without scratching or otherwise damaging the finish of the leather. Note: For a particularly dirty band, Apple says it’s a-OK to lightly dampen the cloth with water but skip the soap—it’s off-limits.
Step 3: Leave the band to air-dry. It is important to wait until the leather has completely dried before reattaching the band to the watch. (You might be tempted to speed up the drying process by placing the band in a sunny spot or popping it in the dryer…but don’t.)
Step 4: Reattach the band. Once thoroughly dried, reattach the band to the watch and enjoy your squeaky-clean wrist candy.
How to clean your Apple Watch sport band
Per the manufacturer, Solo Loop, Sport and Nike Sport bands—all of which are made with either silicone or elastomer—can withstand a little extra cleaning action. Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Detach the band. Again, water might come into play, and you’ll want to keep it away from the watch.
Step 2: Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Dry? Damp? Damp and slightly soapy? All three options are acceptable here, so assess the filth and pick the one that fits the bill. Be sure the cloth you’re using is non-abrasive and not sopping wet, though, and stick with a super mild, hypoallergenic soap if the job calls for suds.(Clorox wipes and isopropyl alcohol are safe to use for disinfecting purposes, too.)
Step 3: Wipe dry. Good news: Time is on your side—namely ‘cause you don’t need to patiently wait for this type of band to air-dry. Simply grab another microfiber cloth (i.e., a clean, dry one) and wipe away any residual moisture, such that the band feels dry to the touch.
Step 4: Reattach the band. Now that you’ve given the band a quick towel-drying, put it back in place and proceed with your day.
How to clean your white Apple Watch band
That white silicone or elastomer watch band once looked sleek, but now you’re sporting some unsightly stains on your wrist. Alas, the manufacturer’s recommendations (assuming it’s an Apple brand wristband) are to use the same cleaning process described above for the Apple watch sport bands. That said, mild hand soap and water may not be effective against stains or yellow discoloration on a white watch band. The solution (albeit not Apple-approved) is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which can be used with a little water to make stains and discoloration disappear. (Psst: You can check out this YouTube tutorial to see the transformation for yourself.)