Leather has been a material choice for clothing, shoes, and accessories for thousands of years, revered for its classic style that is well-suited for formal occasions, as well as casual wear.
Part of caring for your watch includes cleaning the leather band. However, it’s important to go about cleaning leather in the right way to keep it looking good and preventing any damage.
Why does leather require special care?
Leather is a unique material that requires special care for cleaning it. Leather absorbs the sweat and dirt that come with regular wear and can be sensitive to liquids. The material is also sensitive to other elements, such as direct sunlight or heat, which can cause cracking.
Here’s how to clean your leather watch band:
1. Remove the strap
Remove the strap from the watch before cleaning it. This helps protect the watch case and dial.
2. Wipe the leather with a dry cloth
Before getting any liquids involved, wipe down the strap with a dry cloth. This gently removes any grainy dirt or debris that has collected on the strap that could potentially scratch the surface of the leather during more intensive cleaning. Choose a soft cloth – microfiber or jewelry polishing cloth are your best bets.
3. Wash the leather with soap
The next step is to clean the strap more thoroughly with soap. A gentle soap is best, as stripping formulas found in harsher soaps can dry out the leather. Dampen a separate microfiber or jewelry cloth and apply a small amount of the soap to it. The cloth should be damp, but not sopping wet, to avoid causing water damage to the leather.
Gently rub the inside and outside of the leather band with the damp cloth, using small circular motions across the material.
4. Remove soap residue.
After cleaning the strap, rinse the cloth under running water until all of the soap is gone. Squeeze out any excess water from the cloth. Then lightly wipe the leather strap with the clean damp cloth to remove all soap residue from the band.
5. Let band dry
Once the soap is removed, let the strap air-dry. Do not put the strap in direct sunlight or use a hair dryer to dry the strap.
6. Use leather conditioner
Once your strap has dried, apply the number of drops of leather conditioner specified on the package to a clean cloth. Gently rub the leather strap with the cloth and let it dry. Be sure the conditioner you use is for jewelry, watches, clothing or accessories: leather conditioner for furniture and industrial items will likely be too harsh for contact with your skin.