How to Clean a Leather Watch Strap that Smells | Easy Solutions

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The watch strap is a key component of the wristwatch that wraps all around the wrist and can be clasped tightly to keep it secure. But it smells bad after a few times of usage. Do you know how to clean a leather watch strap that smells?

When it comes to wristwatch straps, leather is a refined classic that is sturdy, tough, and long-lasting. Although there are different types of strap watches available, leather strap watches are one of the best aesthetic looks among them.

It’s significantly softer and more comfortable than metal and available in a wider range of styles. Leather straps have pores, and that’s why it soaks sweat and cause bad smells. Nevertheless, it is critical to keep them in good working order.

But if you don’t take care of it, your leather strap will become filthy, greasy, and smelly. This article will show you how to clean the leather strap watch properly and get rid of bad smells.

Why do leather watch straps smell?

A leather strap of the watch can be smelled for a variety of reasons. Watch has been used for a long time, and many do not get the watch out of their hands, even during sleep.

Some people use a watch every day and even while taking a bath. Leather, regrettably, is quite sensitive to moisture. Due to the long time using the watch, sweat and sweaty substances accumulate on the surface of the belt from our skin.

Not only that, but the dust from the outside is also mixing at the same time. And all of these accumulate the watch’s leather. The strap’s inner surface soaks it, which creates odors. In this case, the leather watch band smells.

How to stop a leather watch strap from smelling?

Leather is porous, and this is the reason it absorbs sweat and air-borne bacteria that leads to bad odors. Certain steps can prevent your watch strap from bad smelling.

The first step in keeping a leather watch strap from smelling bad is to rest it. Leather watch straps need to breathe. If you don’t let it breathe, its pores can trap the odor. So, it would be best if you left it on your nightstand overnight.

Your wristband will be able to breathe and air out overnight. The strap will be able to dry completely before being worn again in this manner. It’s also another best idea to take off your wristwatch while showering. To get rid of dirt and stench that has accumulated on your strap, clean it.

Moreover, when you are wearing the leather strap, make sure you keep enough space for air circulation. In turn, the strap doesn’t soak with sweat. It is the best trick to stop the leather from smelling.

Using mink oil or other leather oil products can give some protection to the leather strap.

How to remove bad smell from leather watch straps?

Considering the leather wristwatch strap’s lifespan? To keep your leather watch strap looking nice and last a long time, follow these simple cleaning instructions_

Step-01: Removing the strap

Before starting the cleaning process, you should remove or detach the smelly leather watch band from the watch case. This will ensure casing protection and will give you more access to clean easily.

Although various watch straps are attached to the case in various ways, it is not difficult to detach them. According to the attachment type, here is a guide to removing them:

  • For spring bar pins Attachment: Take a spring bar tool and place it in the groove of the belt and case. After correctly placement, pull the bar tool inwards towards the leather; this will allow the spring pin to compress inside the bar. Now the strap will come out easily.
  • For quick-release pins Attachment: Higher-end and premium watch like sports watch comes with quick-release pin attached strap. Simply slide the tiny button inwards to release the pin. Pull out the watch strap while holding the button. Now the strap will come out easily.

Step-02: Wipe the strap with a Dry Cloth

Using a dry cloth, wipe the surface of the stinky leather watch band. A smooth cloth, such as a soft microfiber or a jewellery cloth, is ideal. The objective is to get rid of any dust and particulate dirt from the band, especially anything that could scratch the surface of the wristband.

Step-03: Wash with soap

After eliminating all the dust and dirt from the surface of the straps, it is time to deodorize the leather watch band with soap. When using soap, we should read the manual guide because the type of soap you will use will depend on the type of leather. However, in most cases, it is recommended to use a gentle formula like handwash.

  1. Take a soft and clean cloth and dampen it with clean water. First, soak the cloth in water and then remove the water from this cloth by press it.
  2. Now, Apply a little amount of soap to the dampened cloth. Distribute the soap thoroughly across the cloth. This will ensure that there are no blobs of soap on the cloth that could stain the strap.
  3. Now gently rub the strap with this cloth. Cleanse the leather strap with this cloth, applying light pressure and circular movements over the surface of the strap. This procedure can be continued until the wristband is completely clean.
  4. After rubbing the band thoroughly, take a new piece of cloth and wipe the straps on both sides to remove the soap residue.
  5. The strap will need to completely dry after completing the main cleaning process. So, let the strap to be dry naturally. Don’t place the strap in sunlight directly, and don’t use a hairdryer to dry it.

You can reattach them when these leather straps are completely dry. However, if you want, you can do the conditioning by applying a leather conditioner before reattaching it.

Step-04: Using Leather Conditioner

A leather conditioner is a kind of material that keeps the quality of leather and keeps it resistant to longer wear. Leather can shed its natural oils throughout time, allowing it to dry out.

Applying conditioner on leather surfaces maintains suppleness and avoids leather splitting. So, conditioning your watch straps with a leather conditioner keeps it in a good state. The conditioner also aids in the preservation of the leather from moisture, keeping it less fragile.

If you want to condition your watch’s straps, you should clean the strap before conditioning. So, before using the conditioner on leather straps, make sure the straps are totally dry. How the amount of conditioner to use for a wristwatch strap will be specified on the bottle.

To condition your leather watch straps, follow this step-by-step instruction below:

  1. First of all, make sure that the strap of your watch is clean as well as dry.
  2. Apply a small amount of conditioner on a dry and clean cloth and rub the leather strap thoroughly with it.
  3. Now take another piece of soft and clean cloth and with it remove excess conditioner from the straps surface.
  4. Before reattaching the leather strap to the wristwatch case, let it dry naturally.

Step-05: Reattach the strap

After the cleaning and conditioning process is complete, it is time to reattach the strap to the watch casing. When attaching the strap to the watch casing, you need to be extra careful not to scratch the casing.

Squeeze the edges of the spring bar pins to reconnect your wristband to your watch casing. Now replace the spring pins in their assigned position in your wristwatch case with the strap attached.

Slide the toggle to the inner lining and place the leather strap in the watch case for rapid pins. Ensure that the pin edges are securely placed in their sockets after reattaching the strap.

Tips for how to care for your leather watch strap?

Besides limiting the leather wristwatch strap’s contact with moisture and water, there are a few additional things you can do to protect it:

  • Don’t tighten the straps

A wristwatch with leather straps should be worn loosely to avoid perspiration. It also does not obstruct the flow of blood. Furthermore, every time the wrist moves, a tightly worn band is pressured. This may cause the strap to deteriorate more quickly.

  • Keep away from cosmetics

Women who wear timepieces with leather straps should take additional care while applying perfume, sunscreen, skin lotions, or other cosmetics. When these cosmetics come into touch with the leather, they might discolor and stain it. Leather can be damaged by perfume, causing it to split and shatter.

  • Avoid excess hot and cold

You must try to avoid exposing your wristwatch to extremes of heat or cold for an extended period. Leather will darken if exposed to sunshine; it will dry up and break if exposed to heat. It not only affects the straps, but it can also affect the life of its power source, and relatively low temperatures create a time delay.

  • Dry naturally

If the leather strap gets wet, dab it with a clean towel and let it dry naturally. Never use anything hot such as an iron or hairdryer, to dry it. This is because they adversely affect the color and durability of the leather straps.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How often should you clean your smelly leather watch band?

You need to clean your smelly leather watch band in every two weeks. It is necessary if you need to maintain the leather strap for its durability and appearance. For extra protection, must use leather conditioning. 

Is it possible to clean the leather watch band smells at home?

Yep, you can clean the leather of the watch band at home. It is super simple. I have explained all the tricks and tips to clean the leather at home. Just maintain the steps properly, and you can accomplish the task properly.


Since a leather strap wristwatch is the most popular piece of fashion accessories, you should take care of it. Here we are discussing How to clean a leather watch strap that smells. As you see, cleaning the leather band at home is not difficult.

Your watch belt should be cleaned at least every 2 weeks to maintain quality and durability. You can even give extra protection and care by conditioning the band with a leather conditioner. And overall, following the caring tips, you can maintain your watch leather band.

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