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How to Clean a Leather Watch Strap

by Randall Shatto
Published May 12, 2010 | Updated August 3, 2015

Watches complete your wardrobe and keep you prompt. The right watch can completely transform an outfit by adding class, elegance, and style. Leather watches go well with practically every outfit selection and can be dressy or casual. Keeping your watchband clean will not only help your timepiece look its best, it can also ensure that the watch and watch straps maintain their value.

You should clean your leather watch strap regularly. Clean watchbands promptly after a hike, a day at the races, or a vacation. Dust, dirt, and sweat can collect on leather watch straps easily and cause stains, odors, and wear and tear. These tips will help you keep your leather watchband clean and looking great.

Cleaning Leather Watch Straps:

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Things You'll Need
Two cotton cloths
Hand soap
Leather conditioner
Saddle soap
Leather oil
  1. Wipe Watchband with a Dry Cloth

    Moisture is easily trapped between a leather watchband and your skin. It is important to wipe moisture and dirt from your strap regularly. Wiping the leather before cleaning it more thoroughly will ensure that dirt will not scratch it when you are scrubbing. A soft cotton cloth or microfiber jewelry cloth is great for wiping a leather watchband.

  2. Scrub Watchband with Soap and Water

    Pat down the watch strap with a damp cloth. Avoid using a wet cloth or immersing the leather in water. Put a small dab of mild, moisturizing hand soap on the cloth and scrub the watchband on both sides. Rinse and dampen the cloth with clean water and wipe the watchband clean. Dry the watchband thoroughly. Make sure to allow the strap to air dry before wearing the watch.

  3. Condition Watchband with Leather Conditioner

    Leather conditioner keeps leather moist, which can prolong the life of a watchband and keep it shiny and soft. You can buy professional leather conditioner quite affordably in a variety of sizes. Follow the instructions on the package when using leather conditioner.

Cleaning Unfinished Leather Watchbands:

Some leather watchbands are made with unfinished leather. Unfinished leather should be cleaned with saddle soap instead of hand soap. Condition unfinished leather watchbands with oil, such as mink oil or a leather preservative.