Are You the Proud Owner of a Rubber Watch Strap?
Watch straps are arguably the most visual parts of a watch. They display style, personality, and color, all within the strap! Although rubber straps are waterproof, they can still get dirty and require cleaning to keep them in top shape. Whether it is a generic brand or one of our own Solitaire straps, taking care of your rubber strap is crucial for maintaining its durability and appearance. But with all the dirt, grime, and sweat that your watch strap is exposed to, how do you keep it clean? Don't worry, we've got you covered!
With just a few easy steps, you can bring your rubber strap back to its former glory and keep it looking great for years to come. Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning your rubber strap like a pro:
Removing the Strap
The first step in cleaning a rubber watch strap is removing it from the watch head. This may seem daunting as removing the straps from the watch requires specific tools and care to avoid damaging it. Most rubber straps are removed by either unscrewing the lug bar, engaging with the spring bar, or removing the strap through a specific system used by the watch. Once removed, you will also need to remove the buckle from the strap.
Our own Solitaire rubber straps come equipped with a quick release functionality that allows the straps to be removed and installed with ease. Additionally, the strap can be easily opened using a Philip head screwdriver to remove the buckle.
Rinsing with Water
Once you've removed the strap, it's time to give it a good rinse. Run the strap under warm water, and you'll see the dirt and grime start to disappear. This step is important for getting rid of the big chunks of dirt. It's best to use lukewarm to warm water, rather than hot water, for this step.
Soaking in Warm Soapy Water
Next, fill a suitable-sized bowl with warm water mixed with soft soap, like dishwashing soap, and let the strap soak for a few minutes. This will help loosen any remaining dirt and debris. One thing to keep in mind is not to use hot water because intense heat can affect the nylon of the strap, which may result in the strap losing its flexibility.
Cleaning With a Soft Brush
Using a soft toothbrush (a child's toothbrush) or soft microfiber cloth, apply mild soap and gently scrub the rubber watch strap to remove any remaining dirt, oils, sweat, or lotions. Make sure to get the bristles inside the pin holes and as deep into the spring bar holes as possible. After scrubbing, rinse the strap with water to remove any soap and debris. A cloth is gentler on the strap's surface, especially if the strap is old and showing signs of wear or fading, but a toothbrush is better for getting into small corners and crevices.
Drying With a Towel
After cleaning and rinsing the strap, it's important to dry it before reattaching it to the watch. The best way to dry the strap is by laying it on a towel, folding the rest of the towel over it, and patting it dry. Then, roll the strap in a hand towel and compress it to remove as much water as possible. Avoid drying it in direct sunlight, as UV can be hard on rubber materials. Once the strap is completely dry, simply reattach your strap and you're ready to go!
Tips for Stubborn Stains
If you've got some persistent stains that just won't budge, don't worry! You can try some other options too.
1) Rubbing alcohol with a microfiber cloth is perfect for disinfection and removing surface dirt and grime.
2) Acetone can be used for deep cleaning but should be done infrequently.
3) A soft toothbrush and baking soda can be used to make a paste to clean the strap. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
4) WD-40 (if nothing else works) is the last ditch and least recommended method. Although it is probably the most effective way of cleaning, it can potentially be the most damaging as well as it may corrode the rubber.
Do note that substances like acetone or baking soda and water can be too abrasive and could leave damages on rubber strap of generic brand or even our Solitaire straps.