4 Tips for Caring and Maintaining Leather Watch Straps

Leather watch straps are a beautiful and luxurious accessory for any timepiece. But they can also be quite expensive. You want to keep them looking new as long as possible!

This article will show you some tips for caring and maintaining leather watch straps. These tips will make your investment lasts longer!

Why does leather need special care?

Leather is a natural material that will change with use. Over time, the oils in your skin will break down some of these materials. This breakdown causes a darkening effect on the strap as well as other changes to its texture.

Direct sunlight will also cause the oils on the strap to break down the material even faster. For this reason, it’s essential to keep your leather watch strap out of direct sunlight or away from other UV light sources.

Are Leather Watch Straps Waterproof?

Leather watch straps are not waterproof. We advise you to take off your leather watch before swimming.

Wet leather watch strap can be very tricky to clean because water will cause further damage to the material. Water breaks down some of its components even faster than regular oils found on your skin would do alone.

Do Leather Watch Straps Smell?

Some leather watch straps may have a more pungent smell than others, depending on the type of leather. Older straps, or those made with chrome-tanned leather, have more oils present and have a more pungent odor.

The best way to prevent this smell is by taking care of your strap now and then.

How do I stop my leather watch strap from smelling?

The best way to prevent your leather watch band from smelling is by swapping between watch bands. Using many leather straps allows you to maintain your straps for a long time.

You can also change your watch strap by switching it with a silicone, rubber, or metal band. If you plan an activity that involves sweating like crossfitting, it’s advisable to swap your leather watch strap to silicone.

Changing straps will ensure that there is less sweat build-up on your old leather strap. So it will last longer naturally.

But if you intend to clean your leather strap, you can follow the outline steps below.

Tools You Can Use To Clean A Leather Watch Strap

Leather Waterproof Spray for Conditioning

All Weather Protector - Solemates Water Repellent Spray for Shoes – Protects Leather, Suede, Sheepskin, Nubuck, Fabric

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A leather waterproof spray is ideal for conditioning and protecting your leather strap from water. A conditioner is the best way to keep your watch band in good shape.

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,Pack of 12,Size:12.6" x 12.6"

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A microfiber is perfect for wiping away dirt and grime from the leather strap.

Watch Strap Link Remover Tool

Watch Band Strap Link Pins Remover Repair Tool,24 in 1 Kit with 6 extra tips Replacement,20PCS Cotter Pin,Spring Bar Tool Set,1PCS Head Hammer

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A link remover tool is necessary for undoing a watch strap that is too tight.

Caring For Your Leather Watch Band

A) How to clean leather watch bands

Cleaning your leather watch band may seem like a daunting task. But, it is pretty easy, and there are many methods you can use to clean your leather watch strap.

1. Remove the strap

The first step to clean your watch strap is to remove the band entirely from the watch.

Removing it will allow you to get a better view of the buckle and the watch face. Next, you will remove the buckle from your strap.

2. Wipe the leather with a dry cloth

Once you separate the strap from the watch head, you will want to wipe down the leather with a dry cloth. You can do this by moving from one end of your strap to the other and applying pressure as you clean.

This process takes care of dirt and dust that may have accumulated on the watch band. This is an excellent way to start cleaning your leather watch strap at home.

3. Wash the leather with soap

Using a dampened microfiber cloth, you will want to wash your leather watch band with soap.

Be sure that the cloth is damp but not wet before applying it to the strap. Also, the choice of soap is up to you. We recommend using a saddle soap or mild detergent that won’t over-dry the leather.

You will start at one end of your strap and work your way to the other. Starting from the inside, gently rub the soap onto your leather strap in circular motion.

Once you are through with the interior, repeat the same process on the outside of the strap. It will help get rid of any dirt or grime that may be on the surface.

4. Remove soap residue

Rinse the microfiber with running water and use it to squeeze out the excess water.

Many people will use a towel or a soft cloth to pat dry the strap, but we recommend using another microfiber cloth. Repeat the process of washing your leather watch straps with gentle soap until it is thoroughly rinsed clean.

Are you worried about removing some minor spots on your strap by rubbing at them too much? You can use other methods to clean them. Some people use a mixture of warm water and white vinegar. You may also use some baking soda on the strap to help dissolve any dirt that is stuck onto it.

5. Let the band dry

Let the band dry for a period of time before you put it back on your watch and wear it again.

Thoroughly drying it will help prevent any stains from forming in the band or buckle. It will also avoid any unnecessary rubbing of wet leather against dry skin when putting it back on.

6. Use leather conditioner

After the leather dries, use a leather conditioner to condition your strap. A leather conditioner will help keep the leather from cracking and drying out too much.

Apply some drops of the leather conditioner on a soft cloth and go over the entire strap with it. Keep applying until you notice a glossy finish on your leather strap.

***Is your watch water-resistant? If so, you should use a sealant of some kind on the strap before wearing it in wet environments. This is to protect the strap from water that can cause damage to both inside and outside surfaces.

How often should you clean your leather strap?

Once a week should be enough. Follow the steps above so you can clean your strap. But, avoid using a leather conditioner often. Regular use of conditioners has the potential to create a sheen on the strap. This is not what you want for your watch.

B) How do you clean a leather watch strap with baking soda

After removing the leather band from the watch head as described above, you can use baking soda to clean it.

To do this, add a small quantity of baking soda to a small bowl and mix with water. Using a damp towel, take some amount of the baking soda mixture and rub it into the leather watch strap. Apply it gently both on the outside and inside of the leather. After a few minutes, use another damp cloth to remove any residue on the band. Let it dry and then put the leather strap back on the watch head.

C) How do you get the smell out of a leather watch band

1) Proceed with cleaning your watch band as described above.

2) If after cleaning you leather watch band and the smell persists, follow the additional steps in 3) to totally get rid of the smell.

3) Place the leather watch band in a plastic bag containing some baking soda. Allow the leather watch band to sit in the baking soda for 24 hours, then remove it. Wipe down the leather watch strap with a clean damp microfiber cloth and let it dry. Baking soda has a high pH level which helps remove smells and it also has absorbing properties.

D) How to prevent a leather watch band from cracking

Leather bands are prone to crack if they’re exposed to extreme temperatures. So, make sure you store your leather watch straps properly. Store them away from direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators. Also, don’t leave them lying around in hot cars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Would it hurt to sleep with a leather strap on?

Sleeping with your watch on is not recommended. It can be uncomfortable and increases the band’s risk of wear and tear from any night movement. Also, sweating during sleep can cause your band to get wet.

Do Leather Watch Straps Stretch?

Yes, leather straps can stretch a little on their own. It is vital to replace your leather watch strap after a while. An old band loses its elasticity over time and cannot hold the weight of the watch on your wrist.

The general rule of thumb for replacing a leather strap would be every five years. Once you start noticing that it starts feeling tight while wearing your watch, it’s a good time to replace it.

Which Apple leather band is best?

Apple watch features  a variety of different leather bands in their official collection. Some bands we recommend are the Apple Leather Loop and the Apple Modern Buckle band. You can learn more about Apple leather bands from this post.

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