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How to Clean Leather Watch Strap

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How to Clean Leather Watch Strap

Watches are a good investment because they can last for long periods. Leather strap watch has been a very popular choice because of its sharp aesthetic and timeless appeal. It is a common preference as an everyday watch and the best part about it is that it can last years with proper care and cleaning. Our guide tells you everything you need to know to extend the life of your leather strap.

Why Does Leather Strap Need Special Care?

Known for being durable and resilient, leather is a sophisticated classic when it comes to watch straps. Part of its durability comes from taking constant and special care of this unique material. Since everything experiences wear and tear, and a leather strap is no exception. Leather absorbs dirt and sweat that cause discolouration of the strap and a worn-out appearance. Leather is also sensitive to humidity and sunlight which causes cracking of the leather strap.

How to Clean Leather Watch Bands?

Before your leather watch strap starts becoming brittle and crack, here’re 6 steps on how you can maintain its good-as-new condition. Throughout the cleaning process, remember this, always be gentle when handling anything leather.

Remove the strap

Before the entire cleaning process, you want to remove the strap from the watch to protect the dial and case. Removing the strap also provides maximum access to the strap, making cleaning much easier. Lucky for you, if you own one of August Berg’s watches, you can effortlessly remove the strap thanks to our built-in easy-release watch strap.

Wipe with a dry cloth

Kickstart the cleaning process by wiping off any dust, dirt, and grime with a microfiber cloth. This dry-cleaning process removes any debris that is collected during daily wear which could potentially scratch the surface of the leather during more intensive cleaning. Always be gentle with leather because even though it is pliable when handled without care, it is still prone to wrinkles, creases, and even cracks.

Wash with soap

Onto the wet clean, take a separate microfiber cloth, and dampen it with warm water. Apply only a small amount of gentle soap to the cloth, and in a circular motion, gently clean to remove any deeply embedded dirt and grime from the leather. Be cautious not to use too much water and soap to avoid causing water damage to the leather strap. You can always add more water and soap to your cleaning cloth when necessary. It’s better to be careful than sorry.

Remove soap residue

After you’re cleaning the leather with soap, re-use the cloth from the dry-cleaning process. Now, you want to slightly dampen the cloth with warm water. With this cloth, you can now wipe off the soap residue from the leather strap.

If you think the cloth from the dry-cleaning process may be dirty, you may use the soapy cloth from the wet cleaning process. Wash the soapy cloth thoroughly and make sure that all the soap is gone, and excess water has been squeezed out. Then, use the slightly damp cloth to remove all the soap residue. Do not leave any soapy residue behind as the leather may dry out too much and become brittle.

Air-dry strap

To dry the leather strap, there’s nothing better than letting it dry out naturally. Placing it under the direct heat from the sun or other alternative heat source leaves the leather strap susceptible to cracks and further damage.

Use leather conditioner

After the leather strap is completely air-dried, use a leather conditioner to maintain the quality of the strap. Ensure that the conditioner you purchase is designed for clothing. On the bottle of conditioner, it will state how many drops of conditioner are required for a watch strap. Using a dry cloth, apply the amount stated, and in a circular motion, gently wipe the leather strap evenly. Periodically, the conditioner will improve the appearance of the leather over the course of routine uses and create a protective layer from sunlight, water, and dirt.

Do Leather Watch Bands Smell?

Leather straps are very sensitive to moisture. Besides altering the shape and colour, moisture also causes the leather watch band to smell. As such, it is best for leather straps to avoid any exposure to moisture. Here're 3 tips to prevent your watch from coming into contact with water.

  1. Always remove your watch when showering
  2. Push your watch slightly higher when washing your hands
  3. Always remove your watch when doing intense sports that involve a high amount of sweat

How to Remove the Smell of Your Leather Strap?

Here’s a tip on how to save your smelly leather watch band.

Remove the leather watch strap and place it in a plastic bag with a few teaspoons of baking soda. Baking soda helps to soak up any moisture and odour. Let the bag sit for 12 to 24 hours, or until the odour is completely gone. Otherwise, you can also refer to the 6-step cleaning process to have an odourless strap.

However, prevention of a stinky watch band is always better than searching for ways on how to clean a leather watch band that smells. Leather, being such a porous material, needs to breathe too. If it constantly stays on your wrist, the pores in the leather strap trap odour. What you can do is to give your watch a break and chill on your nightstand overnight. This should do the trick.

How Often Should You Clean Your Leather Strap?

There isn’t a definite interval that you must adhere to when cleaning your strap. A good rule of thumb is biweekly cleaning if you wear your watch daily. However, you don’t have to always apply the leather conditioner when cleaning your strap. Check your conditioner packaging for details.

For those living in warmer countries and cities, or are experiencing summer, do give your leather strap a good wipe frequently and air them so they don't get too smelly.