How To Care For Your Leather Watch Strap
Caring for your watch strap is a little different than caring for other leather goods. Since watch straps are generally worn daily and sit right against the skin, they are subject to absorption of sweat, splashes from washing hands, perfume stains and accumulation of dead skin cells. All of which will cause your strap to deteriorate, smell and wear out faster.
Watch straps have basic needs that need to be met to ensure they last as long as possible. Below are tips for general wear, handling of your watch strap and maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Putting On And Removing Your Watch
When putting on or removing your watch strap, never bend the long strap back. Doing this will create unsightly creasing and wrinkling on the surface of the leather at the fold which can cause it to eventually crack or damage the strap. Don’t pull the long strap with force when putting it on as this will not only damage the edge finish, but will also stretch your strap.
The best way to take off your watch is by sliding the long strap gently out of the keepers and raising it just enough to slide your index finger under the strap near the buckle to assist the metal tang out of the buckle hole.
When putting on your watch, slide the long strap gently through the buckle, taking care not to bend the strap backward. While gripping the strap, use your index finger to assist the buckle tang into the hole and gently assist the strap into the keepers. This will go a long way in keeping your strap looking as good as new for as long as possible.
Humidity, Moisture and Leather
Leather straps can be worn on hot and humid days with care. A good trick is to wear your watch strap looser than you normally would. This allows air to circulate between the leather and your skin and helps keep your wrist cooler. Failure to do this will cause your strap to absorb excessive sweat resulting in bad smells and the development of bacteria.
Never sleep with your strap on or work out in it. Never, ever wear your strap in the shower or for a swim. Be careful when washing hands to prevent splashes and keep it protected from the rain. If your strap becomes saturated from rain or hand washing, take off your watch and use a paper towel to pat dry and absorb as much of the water as possible, then sit it aside to dry naturally. Never use the sun or a blower to dry leather as this will dry it out and lead to cracking.
When Should You Clean Your Leather Watch Strap
Get into a routine of maintaining your daily wear watch strap at least once a week. If you live in hot or humid climates, we recommend wiping down your strap more often because of perspiration. Simply wipe the back side (avoid rubbing on the thread) lightly with a a soft dry cloth or t-shirt to remove any dirt or any other nasties. Do this more frequently during the summer months.
If you find your strap is starting to look or feel a bit dry, looking dirty or starting to smell, it may be time for a good cleaning and conditioning treatment. Deep and thorough cleanings that require soap, water and conditioning should be done at least four times a year.
Watch Strap Rejuvenation Spa
Your strap can be cleaned and conditioned while still attached to your watch, but for a thorough clean, it's best to remove the strap from your watch and remove the buckle as well.
Use a clean, soft-haired shoe brush and lightly brush off any loose surface dust or dirt thoroughly from both sides of your strap. Get a soft t-shirt or use our premium microfiber cloth and lightly dampen it with warm water and a small amount of mild antibacterial hand soap. Wipe your strap gently in light circular motions on both sides being careful not to wipe over the thread which can fray. Dead skin cells will collect on the back side of your strap as well as the absorption of sweat and smells, so be sure to clean the underside well.
Next rinse your cloth under running water until all the soap is gone. Squeeze out excess water from your cloth then wipe off the soap residue from your strap. When you are finished, let your strap completely air dry before moving on to applying conditioner.
After the leather has dried, rub a small amount of conditioner between your fingers and gently massage it into your strap including the sides. Take care not to get any conditioner into the stitching as it can be hard to remove and may dry leaving a white and flaky look. When you're done, let it sit for a few minutes then gently wipe off any remaining conditioner from your strap with our premium microfiber cloth.
Be careful cleaning very light colored straps as they will probably darken in color.
Choosing A Leather Conditioner
There are many conditioning products on the market, but not all look or work the same. Some do deeper conditioning and others are meant for lighter applications. One thing to look out for when choosing a conditioner is how much it will darken your leather, as some can darken certain leathers substantially. We recommend you always test conditioners on a hidden part of your watch strap such as the underside to see how it will affect your leather. Keep in mind that your strap will look a little darker when you first apply conditioner, but will most likely lighten a little as it dries. Our conditioner has very little darkening impact on leather, so it's perfect for keeping it looking the same as when you received it. Try our premium leather conditioner.
Suede is treated altogether different. It can be lightly sprayed with suede protectant which is available at any quality shoe repair shop. This helps protect the suede from exposure to light splashes of water, very light rain and some mild dirt. Suede is very delicate and needs extra care when using to prevent premature damage. We recommend applying a light application with suede spray protectant every few months or so. If you do get a little dirt on it, it's best to use a soft, clean shoe brush or toothbrush and lightly brush the nap to loosen up and remove dirty spots. Next, re-spray it with protectant.
Our leathers are chosen for their comfort as well as their good looks. It’s not unusual for a strap to feel mildly stiff at first, but with a little bit of wear your strap will quickly mold to your wrist and fit it better the longer you wear it. To help with break in, strap your watch on and using your free hand, very gently assist the curve of the strap around your wrist to help it conform faster.
Give Your Straps Time To Breathe - Swap Them Out Often
Ideally, you'll want to own a clever selection of a few different straps to wear daily and have in a rotation to give them time to breathe after each use. This practice helps prevent bad smells and bacteria from growing, which keeps your strap from wearing out quickly and ultimately helps prolong your strap's lifespan.
Watch straps should be looked at as an extension of your wardrobe as it takes just seconds to change a strap. This will transform your watch and make it better suited to wear in a variety of different situations such as at the office, weekend casual, a night on the town or formal events.
If you only have one watch strap, that's ok. At the very least, allow it to breathe every night by taking it off before bed. Wipe it down every few days with a dry cloth and more frequently in summer months and remember to clean and condition it a few times a year so your strap will keep looking its best.