Watch Band Wash up

My main watch band was in need of some attention. I say main, because I have worn this band 99% of the time for the last 2 or 3 years. I say it needed attention, because not only was it starting to look dingy but it was also developing its own smell.

 Before Washing

Luckily for me I remembered reading something somewhere on cleaning watch bands. The somewhere was a menswear forum and the advice was from Ask Andy Trad veteran’s Patrick and Ensiferous. These two suggested soaking watch bands overnight in water with a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent.

 After Washing

Last night I gave it a try. I purchased a small bottle of dishwasher detergent at the grocery for $3. I filled a small plastic container with hot water added a teaspoon of the detergent dissolving it before adding in my watchband. This morning I pulled it out of the container, rinsed under tap water, and let it try off.

My watch band is not good as new, but it looks and smells so much better! I thought that I may have to throw it away, but it has a lot of life left in it. This is good news to me and this band, but bad news for all of my other watch bands that were hoping to get some playing time.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

13 Comments on "Watch Band Wash up"

  1. JoelVau says:

    I find that an old tooth brush and soap will apply a nice scrubbing also. I use a similar band made by Brooks, but their grommets constantly fall out, making the name far more valuable than the quality in this product. Have had several of such BB bands over the years purchased on deep discount.

  2. RWK says:

    I’ve worn grosgrain watchstraps everyday going on eight years now, but I haven’t had to wash any yet. I have a fairly sizable collection, and I rotate often, so I don’t have any one strap that has experienced a great deal of wear-and-tear.

  3. Fred Johnson says:

    I do this all the time. I prefer the bands from Press to BB, I don’t care for the grommets.
    I usually wash a bunch of bands together the rotate the clean ones until they all need washing.

  4. Roger Russell says:

    Where did you find a band with no grommets?
    Brooks Brothers does have great colors to offer in their watch straps but the grommets will come out in a week or two of wear. I have an old Orvis strap that is about 30 years old and still looks pretty good.
    I recently was doing a little surfing for watch straps and just discovered James Bond is fond of the nylon straps (NATO) for his various Omega watches. However, the latest Bond character is seen wearing the new thicker version with the metal things on the side that hold the extra length. I really dislike those thicker straps. They tend to get fuzzy with wear.

  5. oxford cloth button down says:

    I have found watch bands without grommets at O’Connell’s (I scored the one in the post here.), J.Press, J.Crew, but the best source for me has been Central Watch (

  6. John says:

    I have a small collection of straps that I have been wearing daily for over 2 years. Some of the straps have white stripes that are beginning to get a little dingy, so this is a well timed article. I did some research and it seems like the detergent soak with some toothbrush scrubbing is the best place to start. Some manufacturers recommend machine washing, but I’d rather avoid that if possible.

    Roger, in addition to the sources OCBD suggested, I would add Crown & Buckle as well as Clockwork Synergy. All of mine are from Crown & Buckle and have held up quite well, they are definitely higher quality than the two straps I got from Timex. All three of which have experienced some pilling and stretching of the hole I use the most.

    (I’m not affiliated with either website but wasn’t sure about the rules/etiquette of posting links so I didn’t. A quick search will turn up either vendor)

  7. John says:

    Got my numbers mixed up in my prior post. I have 3 Timex straps and probably 6 or 7 straps from C&B.

  8. Steve L. says:

    Am I the only one surprised to see that one of the thin stripes changed from beige to light blue?

  9. oxford cloth button down says:

    Steve L. – It is actually just a lighter tan. The picture is a little deceiving.

  10. Georgethen says:

    Dishwashing liquid or powder is very caustic stuff! Just toss it in the washer with your dark colors — jeans, for example, but let it lay on a paper towel to dry (i.e., don’t put in dryer). The constant movement within a solution of mild surfactant, which is what laundry detergent is, works just fine. Do it your way, of course; I’m just tossing out another option. If you really, really like your band, then use your *method* but with Woolite or baby shampoo, then shake the bottle or jar for a minute or two after soaking overnight. There’s my $0.02 worth, anyway. Nice band. I love the color combo, and it’s getting tougher to find a classic band these days, since everyone seems to be going for the NATO look, which I don’t care for at all. Thanks.

  11. Andrew says:

    I think it is truly prep to choose a watchband every day just as one chooses a belt and a tie. With the prices at Central Watch, it is possible to have as many of these grosgrain striped ones as you want. The only limitation is the number of different ones in stock, and your own taste. Just as with ties (including bow ties) and belts, watchbands are little hints of membership in the tribe.

  12. Anonymous says:

    When I swap one out after a month or so, I just throw it in with the wash and let dry by itself. No need to complicate the process.

  13. andrew says:

    i tend to favor zulu straps – same colors but much more durable than fabric, and better able to withstand a run through the dishwasher or an overnight soaking in oxyclean. definitely worth cleaning the straps periodically.

I would like to hear from you