How to Safely Clean Your Apple Watch

There's a specific way to clean your Apple Watch.

Whether you’ve been wearing your Apple Watch as a daily driver, or during sweaty gym sessions – you’ve probably noticed it can get grubby over time. Dust and grime can get into the tightest of spots, leaving you with a dirty Apple Watch and band. Yuck!

While keeping the Apple Watch itself clean isn’t too difficult, the band is a whole different story. There are far too many materials that require a specific cleaning process, which makes things difficult. 

So, if you’re dealing with a dirty Apple Watch, I will show you not only how to clean the watch itself, but also how to clean Apple Watch bands for that shiny, new watch look.

How to Clean Your Apple Watch

Starting with the watch itself – it’s actually rather easy to clean. An Apple Watch can be made of several materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium – and you can use this cleaning process for all of them.

You should know that although the watch is sturdy and waterproof, you don’t need soap or other special cleaning products. Water and a bit of elbow grease is all you need here. However, if you want to disinfect your Apple Watch with something a bit stronger, I have a section on that a bit further down.

The first thing to do before you start to clean your Apple Watch is to remove it from it’s charger and turn it off. If you have a band (especially if it’s a leather band) remove that from the watch as well.

If the Apple Watch isn’t particularly dirty, you can just wipe it down with a lint-free cloth – just make sure the cloth is soft and non abrasive.

If there’s any dirt or grime that doesn’t come off easily, you can lightly dampen the cloth with fresh water and be a bit more persistent with cleaning in order to remove it. Alternatively, you can use Q-tips to clean some areas of the watch. 

If you notice a lot of stuck on dirt around areas like the speaker ports, you can hold the Apple Watch under lightly running warm fresh water.

Yes, lightly running warm fresh water. You don’t want a high-pressure stream hitting the watch. All Apple Watch models are water resistant, but only up to a point. And all it takes is a particularly powerful stream of water to hit the watch at the wrong angle to cause damage.

Once you’re done with cleaning, gently wipe the Apple Watch to dry it completely – make sure you’re using a clean, lint-free cloth for this, and you should be good to go. You can even leave it to air dry for an hour or two if you want it to be completely dry before you turn it on. 

Cleaning the Digital Crown

The Digital Crown is how you navigate the Apple Watch if you don’t want to use the touch screen. Cleaning it is rather easy, and you should start by turning your Apple Watch off, removing it from the charging base and removing the watch band (if you haven’t already done these things).

Hold the watch under warm running water, again – lightly running, and while doing so, keep turning and pressing the digital crown continuously. Make sure you aim the water right between the crown itself and the watch body, to make sure you’re getting the most of the dust out. 

Once as much dirt as possible has been flushed out, wipe the Apple Watch with a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth, making sure to turn and press the Digital Crown as you dry it.

Is It Safe to Use a Disinfectant? 

Yes and no – let me explain. You can wipe down the Apple Watch with a 70% isopropyl wipe, 75% ethyl alcohol wipe, or with Clorox disinfecting wipes, and you can use the same wipes for a solo loop, sport band, Nike sport band, ocean band, or a metal band.

It is very important that you do not use any of these cleaning wipes on leather bands or fabric bands, as you will very likely end up damaging them. It’s also important to not use products that might contain hydrogen peroxide or bleach, and not to submerge the entire Apple Watch in cleaning agents. 

Cleaning Your Apple Watch with Compressed Air

Compressed air is a great way to clean small electronic devices that have crevices that are hard to access – but it’s not a good solution if you want to clean your Apple Watch. You can use compressed air to clean leather and fabric bands, but don’t use it on the Apple Watch itself, as it may cause damage. Speaking of bands, now that you know how to clean your Apple Watch, let’s talk about bands. 

How to Clean Your Apple Watch Band

Cleaning your band is slightly different to cleaning the Apple Watch itself. There are a lot of band materials available, each one requiring a different cleaning process if you don’t want to damage the band. While it’s impossible for me to cover all of the bands and how to clean them, I’ll go over the leather band, nylon Apple-branded bands, sport band, as well as the ocean band, as these are the most common bands out there. 

Leather Bands and Nylon Bands

The key thing to remember if your Apple Watch band is made of leather, is that you shouldn’t soak leather bands. They’re not water resistant, and you will end up damaging them. While the bands made of nylon are more resistant, the same cleaning process should apply for them, too — don’t soak them under water.

Instead, use a cloth to clean the watch band. It’s best if you keep the cloth dry, but if you’re struggling to wipe the dust off leather watch bands, you can lightly dampen the cloth with fresh water. 

Then, let the band air dry before you reattach it and start using it again. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and don’t use external heat sources to dry it. 

Sport Bands, Ocean Bands, Solo Loop and Trail Loop

These watch bands are known to be a bit more resistant than fabric or leather bands. With a sport band, (including the Nike sport band), as well as an ocean watch band and the solo loop, trail loop and sport loop, you can use a mild hypoallergenic soap for cleaning.

The cleaning process is simple — use a lint-free cloth to clean the band. You can lightly dampen the cloth, and as I mentioned, you can use a mild soap if there’s plenty of dirt you can’t get out. Then, use a cloth to wipe the band dry before re-attaching it. 

Wrapping Things Up

As you can see, there is really not much to it – keeping an Apple Watch clean isn’t particularly difficult. Just make sure you don’t damage your Apple Watch bands by using chemicals, and you should be good to go! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to safely clean an Apple watch band?

The way to clean an Apple Watch band depends on the band. Sturdier bands like the Sport Band, Ocean Band, Solo Loop and Trail Loop can typically be wiped with a cloth, some water, and even a mild hypoallergenic soap if the band is particularly dirty.

More sensitive bands like leather and nylon should only be wiped with a cloth. However, you can also dampen the cloth with a small amount of fresh water. Just make sure you let the band dry fully before using it again.

How to clean Alpine Loop watch band?

The way to clean Alpine Loop Apple Watch band is fairly straightforward. It can be wiped with a cloth, or a cloth dampened with fresh water, or even a mild hypoallergenic soap if the band is particularly dirty.

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