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10 Easy Steps To Clean Leather Watch Band
Your watch has been through some tough times and it just isn’t the same as the day you got it. It has acquired a gorgeous patina but the leather watch band has seen better days and is starting to get a “funky” smell about it. We are going to help with breath some new life into the leather strap so it can last another lifetime.
There are many different types of leather watch straps available and many different types of leather as well. The leather bands range from stitched, perforated, NATO, ZULU, Aviator / Pilot, BUND, double-ridged and Rally. There is just as much of vast selection of leather types to choose from as well. The most common leathers used in making bands are calfskin, suede, shell cordovan and exotics. Each strap type and leather may require slightly different methods for conditioning and cleaning, but today we are going to cover the most common and basic type, and that we offer, a stitched calfskin leather strap. Let’s Go!
Items You Will Need:
- Clean Cotton Cloth
- Dish Soap
- Saddle Soap or Leather Conditioner (we use this one)
- Spring Bar tool (if needed)
- Old Toothbrush (if needed)
Cleaning the Leather Watch Strap
- Remove the watch strap from the metal or wood case of the watch. If cleaning the leather straps on the Helm, use the Quick-Release pins to easily take the strap off. If the watch has standard spring bar pins, you will need a Spring Bar tool to remove them. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to the clean cotton cloth.
- Damp the cloth with water and work in the dish soap so that it is evenly distributed around the cloth. You don’t want the soap concentrated to one area.
- In a circular motion, use the cloth to clean the outside of the strap. Start at one end of the strap, and work your way to the opposite end. Repeat this step 1-3 times, depending on how dirty the strap is. Repeat steps for both pieces of the strap and the underside.
- Using a new dry cloth or an unused area of the cloth, gently dab the leather strap to remove any additional moisture.
- After cleaning is complete, leave the strap off the wood watch for a couple of hours to completely dry before attaching back to the case.
The strap will be fine with a simple cleaning but you can prevent from constant cleaning if you spend some extra time to condition and protect the leather a saddle soap or leather conditioner. But since the strap is clean and smelling fresh now, let’s add an extra level of protection to make sure that it stays that way.
Protecting and Conditioning the Leather Watch Strap
- With the leather band still detached from the wood or metal case of the watch, take a clean cloth and rub it into the saddle soap until you can see the waxy residue being transferred to the cloth.
- Rub the saddle soap into the leather on the inside and outside of the strap. Work the residue it into all the cracks and along the stitching. (This is where the old toothbrush may come in handy) The more you work the residue into the leather the healthier and softer it becomes.
- After the leather areas have been fully treated, using a new dry cloth or an unused area of the cloth, gently wipe down the leather strap to remove any excess saddle soap residue.
- Allow the strap to fully dry before putting the strap back on the watch and wearing it.
Leather needs moisture to maintain its strength and functionality by preventing the breakdown in the fibers. The saddle soap or leather conditioner helps to restore the luster and shine to the leather and is better for the leather than typical hand soap. It also helps to restore the softness to the leather, and helps it last for many years to come. This entire process can be repeated based upon the watch wearer’s specific needs.
Keep those wooden watches leather bands looking fresh and clean!