If you’re investing in a top of the range watch, chances are the watch strap could be leather. Leather has long been the material of choice when it comes to watch straps, due to its long-lasting nature and it being perfect for both casual as well as more formal occasions.
However, this unique material requires just as much care and cleaning as the clock face, to preserve its good looks and prevent any damage. From how to polish a leather watch band to how to get sweat stains out of leather watch band, read on to find out the best ways to clean your leather watch strap.
Leather watch strap care
How to clean a leather watch strap at home
You don’t necessarily need to take your watch strap to a watchmaker or a fellow horologist every time you want to clean your leather watch strap. In fact, you can clean your watch strap at home by following these 5 simple steps:
- Carefully remove the strap from the watch, then use a dry microfibre cloth to wipe both sides. It’s important to use a microfibre cloth as it won’t scratch the leather but will remove any trapped dirt and dust.
- Dampen a jewellery cloth and add a tiny drop of natural hand soap, about half the size of a 5-pence piece. Using gentle circular motions, dab the leather strap rather than rubbing it back and forth, paying close attention to dirtier areas.
- Using a different damp cloth, gently wipe the leather band clean, making sure to remove any soap residue. It’s important that the cloth is damp and not soaked through, as the excess water can damage the leather strap.
- Place the leather strap in a cool, dry area, out of direct sunlight and not placed on top of a heated surface such as a radiator. Allow the leather strap enough time to naturally dry before reattaching it to the face.
How to polish a leather watch strap
You can also add leather conditioner or oil to further protect your leather watch strap, but make sure to carefully follow the instructions provided. Polish the strap with the conditioner once the strap has dried. Gently rub the conditioner in with a cloth then let it dry. One more thing: ensure that the conditioner/polish you use is safe for watches, clothing or accessories. The likes of industrial polish or polish for furniture will definitely be too harsh!
How to waterproof leather watch strap
As leather is a natural product, it isn’t completely waterproof. A wet leather watch strap can stain, which can cause it to lose its colour or deteriorate sooner than expected. Although it’s difficult to completely protect your leather watch strap from water whilst wearing it, you can apply a waterproof leather watch protector to reduce water damage.
You should do this after cleaning your watch to ensure there is no dust or dirt on the leather strap. Thirty minutes after letting the band absorb the waterproof spray, take a microfibre cloth and gently wipe it down. A waterproof leather spray can protect your watch strap when correctly applied for up to 2 weeks. As an extra precaution, if your watch strap gets wet, you should leave it at home to air dry naturally.
Do’s and don’ts
Before we leave you, here are a few do’s and don’ts regarding the quality of care that leather straps require. Take a look!
What you should do
- Polish your watch at the same time that you polish your leather shoes (providing that your shoes are the same colour as your watch, or you have a neutral colour polish). You can use the same polish on both!
- Go for a looser fit on your strap (as long as it’s comfortable). When a watch strap is too tight, it puts undue stress on the material which causes the leather to age quicker.
- Have an alternative watch strap on hand. Not only can you swap your styles when you fancy, but it will also extend the lifespan of your leather strap as you’d be resting it more.
What you shouldn’t do
- Try not to wear the strap constantly. Like we said before, it’s a good idea to have another strap that you can swap out.
- If you’ve been wearing a leather strap for a prolonged amount of time in high humidity, give it a rest in a cool and dark place (in your drawer is perfect). Leather is reactive to high heat and it can age quicker if it’s stressed by heat.
- Don’t wear the strap while you’re doing housework or chores. You’re far likelier to encounter chemicals and cleaning products which will damage the leather.
For more insights into the watch world, visit our blog section. We regularly update it, and it’s packed full of watch-related content that we love to create, and you love to read.
Maintaining your watch and leather strap
You should look to clean your leather watch strap once every fortnight, following the steps above for the best results – the final conditioning step should only be done occasionally. If, however, you’re visiting or live in a hot or humid climate, you should carefully wipe down your leather watch strap more often, to avoid sweat marks building on the strap.
You can also lengthen your timepiece and leather watch strap’s lifespan by protecting them in waterproof, crushproof watch cases. With a number of protective watch cases available, ranging from a 3x watch box to an 18x watch case, spend time browsing our collection of and find the perfect case to begin properly protecting your timepiece and leather watch strap.