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

But besides being durable, rubber watch bands 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 band. Keeping your band clean will extend its life and keep it performing at its highest level.

This article will explain the steps to clean your rubber watch band, as well as how to remove any stubborn odors that you find making your band 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).

An orange Nixon Base Tide Pro next to a can of paint

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 band.

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

  • 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 Band:

  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 band. If that doesn't totally clean it, remove the band from your watch, put it in the water and submerge it for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Remove the band from the soapy water and lay it on the cloth. Use the toothbrush to scrub the band, using a soft, circular scrubbing motion. Your watch band 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 band or toothbrush and give the affected areas another once over with the brush. Note: Don't use harsh abrasives or scouring pads on your band. It's overkill and can damage the material.
  4. Rinse off any remaining soap and/or baking soda and dry your band with a cotton or microfiber cloth. Make sure your band 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.

Rubber watch band on a person's wrist

How to Clean a White Rubber Watch Band

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 band.

  • 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 band with a magic eraser, as they can irritate your skin. Once finished, make sure to rinse or wipe down your band thoroughly.

 

 

How to Remove Smell from a Rubber Watch Strap

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

Squeaky Clean!

That's it! You're ready to clean and maintain your rubber or silicone watch band. 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 band is a happy watch band.

Other bands in need of cleaning? Check out our guide to clean a leather band, or to clean a NATO band.

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