If your idea of fun involves getting out and "doing," you probably already know the benefits of having a rubber or silicone strap on your watch. Whether your activity of choice is surfing, swimming, exercising, or exploring, a rubber strap can stand up to the rigors of whatever you're doing.

But besides being durable, rubber watch straps are also extremely comfortable and stylish. They make your watch look sporty and sleek, with a utilitarian edge, and who doesn't like that?

Like any other watch strap, however, rubber and silicone require regular care and cleaning. Think about it — the more you're on the move with your watch, the more sweat, oil, and dirt make their way onto your strap. Keeping your strap clean will extend its life and keep it performing at its highest level.

This article will explain the steps to clean your rubber watch strap, as well as how to remove any stubborn odors that you find making your strap funky. Not pleasant to think about, but if you're going to be active with your watch, you need to actively keep it clean. Now, let's start scrubbing that rubber (or silicone) watch band.

Steps to Clean a Rubber or Silicone Strap

Cleaning your rubber or silicone strap every couple of weeks should keep most of the dirt and grime away. If there are stubborn stains, you might have to break out some additional materials to get your strap looking new again, and if you've got major dirt buildup, you might have to break out the big guns. Let's go through the supplies you need and then walk through the steps of cleaning your strap.

What You'll Need to Clean a Rubber or Silicone Watch Strap:

  • Bowl Filled with Warm Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Soft Bristle Toothbrush (NOT ONE YOU'RE CURRENTLY USING)
  • Baking Soda
  • Microfiber or Cotton Cloth

How to Clean Rubber or Silicone Watch Strap:

  1. Put a few drops of the dish soap into the bowl of warm water. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and use it to wipe down your watch strap. If that doesn't totally clean it, remove the strap from your watch, put it in the water and submerge it for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Remove the watch band from the soapy water and lay it on the cloth. Use the toothbrush to scrub the strap, using a soft, circular scrubbing motion. Your watch strap has been good to you, so no need to punish it with overly-aggressive scrubbing.
  3. Address any stubborn spots or stains with a little bit of baking soda. Sprinkle it on your strap or toothbrush and give the affected areas another once over with the brush. Note: Don't use harsh abrasives or scouring pads on your strap. It's overkill and can damage the material.
  4. Rinse off any remaining soap and/or baking soda and dry your strap with a cotton or microfiber cloth. Make sure your strap is completely dry before wearing it again, or you might invite odors onto your strap. We'll cover how to address a smelly watch strap in a minute, keep reading.

Man with a Nixon Mullet rubber strap watch putting his hand into water

How to Clean a White Rubber Watch Strap

White rubber watch straps look amazing. They also require more regular cleaning. In addition to the steps above, here are a few additional methods to try if you have a white (or light-colored) rubber watch strap.

  • Toothpaste: Put a dab of toothpaste on your watch strap and rub it in a circular motion with your thumb and forefinger to remove stains.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: Using a little vinegar with the baking soda kicks up the cleaning power while remaining free of harsh chemicals.
  • Magic Eraser: Make sure you remove your watch before cleaning the strap with a magic eraser, as they can irritate your skin. Once finished, make sure to rinse or wipe down your strap thoroughly.

Woman wearing a Nixon Time Teller with white rubber strap

How to Remove Smell from a Rubber Watch Strap

Let's be real — sweat, oil, and dirt can really stink up your watch strap. If you find yourself with a ripe-smelling strap, please consider the following steps to keep your strap odor-free:

  • More frequent cleanings
  • Less time submerged underwater
  • Taking your watch off periodically to let your skin "breathe."
  • Using the baking soda and vinegar solution to clean the strap.

Squeaky Clean!

That's it! You're ready to clean and maintain your rubber or silicone watch strap. Now when you're out charging hard at whatever you're doing, you won't have to worry about whether or not your strap is in tip-top shape. Remember, a clean watch strap is a happy watch strap.

Other straps in need of cleaning? Check out our guide to clean a leather strap, or to clean a one piece strap.

If you need a new strap, check out our replacement rubber watch straps. If you are feeling called to try something new, we also have leather and sustainable watch straps at a variety of lug widths.