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Leather Watch Straps 3Cs | How to Clean, Care and Condition Your Leather Watch Strap ?

Once you have bought a pair of leather watch straps and started using them, the next milestone is how to take care of them. Taking care of a leather watch strap is relatively easy , it needs regular cleaning . If someone asks you how to maintain leather shoes, you won’t take a second to answer because you know when you were ten years old and used to wear school shoes every day. The answer is that it needs good shoe polish, keeping shoes away from water and dust. Almost the same is the answer for ”  how to clean leather watch straps” .
Though a quality leather watch strap’s life depends on its usage, good care also plays a significant role in defining its life span. Better quality leather watch straps can last up to 5 years, with proper care. Whereas average quality leather straps can survive up to two years if looked after properly. You can give your strap a healthy life by following a proper care procedure .

07 Cool Ways to Take Care of Leather Watch Straps:

Don’t Expose the Strap to Sunlight for an Extended Time:

Leather and the Sun don’t get along. Suppose a leather accessory is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, in that case, the leather’s natural moisture will dry out, and it will start cracking and fading. First and foremost, invest in a good quality strap/band, then keep it away from direct heat/sunlight. For instance, don’t put your watch on the car’s dashboard or in front of the window for longer periods of time.

Keep Straps Away from Heat:

Heat is another enemy of leather; it causes cracks and deformation. Don’t wear leather watch straps while cooking or in a working environment where you have regular exposure to heat. Another example is if you are hosting a BBQ party and making delicious sausages , it’s recommended not to wear a leather watch.

Keep Straps Away from Cosmetics:

If you have applied lotion or perfume on your wrist, it’s recommended not to wear a watch straightaway. If cosmetics are used while wearing a watch, it could cause slight damage to the strap and the watch itself.

Avoid Water Interaction and Heavy Sweating:

As a newbie, this question comes to mind, whether I can swim or shower with a leather watch strap. The answer is; “A Big No”; even if your watch is waterproof. The water will severely damage the strap and cause irreversible effects like stains, discoloration, and cracking. If your watch strap/band gets exposed to water accidentally, you should first wipe off water gently, pat dry the strap with a soft microfiber cloth, and let it dry naturally. But, for this purpose, please don’t put it under direct sunlight or use a hair dryer. Moreover, heavy sweating is also not good for leather watch straps; it will do the same damage as water. That’s why leather straps are not a good option for tropical climates and rainy weather.

Don’t Wear the Straps Too Tight:

A watch should not be too loose or tight on the wrist. If a watch is worn too tight, it will put unnecessary stress on the buckle’s tongue to stretch the holes of the strap . On the other hand, if the watch is worn too loose, it will not get stable with the dial to stay at the top of the wrist and keep rotating around the wrist to irritate you. As a rule of thumb, a watch should be loose enough that the index finger can slide in easily under the buckle, but the gap shouldn’t allow moving the finger around.

Keep The Watch Straps Rotating:

Rather than keeping one pair of straps in use at all times, it’s recommended to keep straps rotating by having multiple watch straps in your selection, it will make sure each pair of straps is getting rest, and ultimately it will increase the life of each pair.

Regular Cleaning of The Straps:

For the sake of the Leather strap’s beauty, regular cleaning is recommended. Cleaning frequency depends upon the usage; if the same watch strap is being used on an everyday basis, then it should be cleaned after every two weeks. The following is the simple cleaning procedure for watch straps.

How to Clean Leather Watch Straps? 

08 Effective Steps to Clean Leather Watch Straps:

Set Up a Workstation:

Choose any undistracted workplace with a clean, leveled surface with proper light coverage; it could be next to your window or under a cool daylight bulb.

Detach The Straps from The Watch:

Remove the straps from the watch and keep the dial away from the leather cleaning material. In the case of a quick-release spring bar, it would be easy to remove the strap; however, for traditional spring bars, you need a tool to detach straps from the watch. If you cannot remove the straps for some reason, don’t panic; follow the rest of the cleaning steps and be careful not to put soap and conditioner on the watch.

Remove Dust and Debris from The Straps:

Before applying any bam or soap on the straps, ensure grainy dirt has been wiped off gently from the back and front of the watch straps with a dry microfiber or Jewellery cloth so that it doesn’t cause scratches while cleaning. In the case of an expensive watch, the watch manufacturer’s website can be consulted for any special instructions regarding cleaning.

Clean Pin Holes of The Strap:

Get a toothpick and microfiber cloth to clean the holes one by one. Dirty holes can bother the buckle’s tongue while going into the holes.

Dampen The Watch Straps:

Use a clean corner of the microfiber cloth, put a small amount of mild hand or saddle soap (not more than the size of a pea, don’t use excessive hand soap since it’s harsh most of the time), put some water on the soapy microfiber corner, wring it out and give a few circular motions on both sides of the straps (in case of heavy stains repeat the process two to times)

Wipe Off Soap Residue: 

Pick up a new cloth or use a clean corner of the same microfiber cloth, wet it, wring it out, and then gently wipe off the back and the front side of straps to ensure no soap residue is left for long-term damage.

Let The Straps Get Dry:

Let the straps dry naturally; it’s not recommended to dry it under sunlight or with the hair dryer, as they will kill the straps. Depending on the weather, dry time can be 24 hours, so be patient.

Apply Leather Conditioner: 

Conditioner gives leather straps protection against minor scratches, stains & cracks and enhances its life by keeping them soft and supple.

How To Apply Leather Conditioners on Leather Watch Straps:

If the leather conditioner is being applied after cleaning the straps/bands, make sure it’s completely dried before putting the conditioner on. Conditioning a pair of watch leather straps is the same as cleaning. Choose the right conditioner by looking at the manual. It can darken the leather apple watch strap if an excessive amount of the conditioner is applied or the wrong conditioner is bought. For conditioning of straps, choose the same workspace where you cleaned them. Pick up a new or washed microfiber cloth, put a small amount of conditioner (not more than a pea size) on the fabric, and start buffing the straps gently in circular motions on both sides.


Why Does the Leather Strap Start Smelling?

It doesn’t smell bad when it’s brand new, but it can start smelling bad with time because of its overuse and less care. Due to breathing properties of leather, it catches dust and moisture from human skin and converts into a bad smell.

How Do I Fix a Smelly Leather Watch Strap?

The first and farthest thing is to avoid wearing the same pair of straps every day and give a break to let it recover naturally. When not used, preserve it in a case or a plastic bag.

04 Steps to Eliminate the Smell from the Leather Watch Strap:  

(a) Get a plastic bag or a plastic container and put a couple of teaspoons of baking soda.
(b) Place the leather watch band into it (don’t shake it).
(c) Leave it airtight minimum of 12 hours
(d) After 12 hours, if you feel the smell is still there, you can place the strap back into the container or bag and leave it in for some more time until the smell is no longer there.

Are Leather Watch Straps Waterproof?

The answer is no; however, these can be made waterproof by applying some chemicals on the strap, but it’s not suitable for the strap in the long run since it stops leather from breathing which is an instinct of leather.

Does Leather Watch Strap Stretch?

Yes, it stretches a little bit as time passes; however, you can’t stretch it with your hand or any tool.

How To Prevent Leather Watch Straps from Cracking?

First, we need to know why leather cracks; the simple answer is dryness. Dryness can come from any source, like heat or direct/indirect sunlight. It’s recommended to apply leather conditioner on the leather strap/band regularly.


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