Why Does My Apple Watch Band Smell?

If you’ve been the proud owner of an Apple Watch for a long time, chances are that you’ve gone through many bands and straps. However, some seem to love their original band, or just one band, a bit too much and have kept it going for years. This begs the question, why does your Apple Watch band start smelling?

An Apple Watch band starts smelling due to excessive sweat, and the buildup of bacteria around the corners of the band. Once that happens, due to uncleanliness, the band can start developing an odor.

In this article, we’re going to talk about all the different ways you can clean your Apple Watch band depending on its material. And, how you can prevent your Apple Watch band from smelling in the first place. So, buckle up!

Preventing Your Apple Watch Band From Smelling

Before we get into how you can clean your Apple Watch band if it does end up smelling, prevention is often better than the cure. Therefore, here are a few quick tips that’ll help ensure you don’t have to go through the hassle of a smelly band in the first place.

  • Wash Your Hands And Wrist: It goes without saying, most of the buildup that leads to smell in the first place is from bacteria and gunk present on the seams of your band. So, if you wash your hands often, you’ll be able to avoid the smell.
  • Use Breathable Straps: Materials like nylon and rubber are meant for the summer. They are light and help reduce the chances of irritation that can rise up due to allergens or sweat. This leads them to be an excellent choice for sensitive skin.
  • Switch Your Bands Up: Wearing the same band for an extended period of time can cause all the bacteria and sweat to build up. So, you should switch up your bands every week or so and clean the other while you wear the new one.
  • Have A Night Strap: Pick out an extremely comfortable band for the night and change your bands. Generally, we recommend picking out a breathable strap as we’ve personally found them the most comfortable. 

With that said, if you haven’t followed these tips and have been wearing your Apple Watch for a long time, chances are that you’ve succumbed to a smelly band. No worries though, there’s a way to clean every material of Apple Watch band out there.

How To Clean A Smelly Leather Apple Watch Band?

Use a lightly dampened microfiber cloth to clean your leather Apple Watch band. Since genuine leather is not weather-resistant and is extremely sensitive to any sort of chemicals, you should stay far away from detergent and bleach.

Instead, lightly dampen the aforementioned cloth, make sure you wipe off any dust or residue on the entire watch brand and let it soak. However, do not place the band in direct sunlight

If your leather band is still smelly, no worries. All you need to do is place the leather band in an airlock bag filled with moisture-absorbing baking soda. With it, all water, and other excess materials will be removed from your leather band leaving it odor-free!

How To Clean A Smelly Resin Apple Watch Band?

Resin is produced out of an organic material plant-based material and is therefore extremely sensitive. You cannot use chemicals like detergents or bleach to quickly get rid of the odor.

For resin, you’ll have to use an extremely mild soap, soak it in with a toothbrush or damp cloth and gently clean the band for a few minutes. After doing so, dry the band off with a cloth and see if the odor has subsided. If it hasn’t, repeat the process with more soap until the odor finally goes away.

How To Clean A Smelly Metal Apple Watch Band?

Metal Apple Watch bands generally do not get smelly unless they go into direct contact with sweat. No worries though, cleaning a metal band is relatively easy. You can use stronger soap or detergent (at the risk of decolorization). Or, you can opt for a jewelry cleaner to get rid of the odor instead. 

How To Clean Apple Watch Sport Loop / Nylon Band

To clean your Apple Watch Sport Loop or a Nylon Band, prepare a solution of cleaning detergent and fabric softener at a ratio of 2:1. After doing so, run your band in cold water and gently scrub the solution on your band using either a toothbrush or a cloth.

Repeat the process a few times and dry your band with either a hair dryer or by placing it directly under the sun. After 2-3 repetitions, depending on the amount of odor that was being exhumed in the first place, your band should smell as good as new!

How To Clean A Silicone Apple Watch Band?

To clean a silicone Apple Watch band, simply run it through the dishwasher with a mild detergent present. Silicone bands are quite tough but can also require some serious scrubbing to get all the odor out. Therefore, a dishwasher can help ease you through the entire process.


Now that we’ve gone through all the different ways you can clean an Apple Watch band, we’ve prepared a handy table so you can take a look at all the solutions at a quick glance:

Band TypeHow To Clean
Leather BandLightly damp microfiber cloth / baking soda
Resin BandToothbrush and mild soap
Metal BandJewelry cleaner
Sports LoopBaking soda + Fabric softener solution (2:1)
Nylon BandBaking soda + Fabric softener solution (2:1)
Silicone BandDishwasher with mild detergent 

Related Posts:

How long do Apple Watches last?
Why the Apple Watch is square?

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I bought my first smartwatch in 2018 and have been wearing one ever since. It might get frustrating at times to receive 100 notifications a day. That's why we need to know how to make the best of them and how to use them to improve our daily lives, not the other way around. I write about the newest smartwatches, I create top picks, and I write helpful guides and simply explain complicated things.