Clean That Filthy Apple Watch With This Five-Minute Routine

The Apple Watch can be an invaluable purchase. Apple’s aesthetically pleasing smartwatch seamlessly connects with iOS devices so you can receive texts, take calls and monitor your health. If you’re using your watch even half as often as your iPhone, you’re probably reaching for it multiple times a day. That means multiple opportunities to cover it with illness-causing germs. Guess what? That means it’s one of the grossest things you’re touching each day. 

When was the last time you cleaned — and I mean really cleaned — your Apple Watch? 

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You likely already know that it’s important to clean your iPhone regularly. Keeping your screen free of smudges is as natural as breathing air. And when you take the time to disinfect it (if you ever do) you’re killing harmful bacteria and keeping your phone looking as pristine as possible. 

Just like your iPhone, your Apple Watch can be prone to smudges and some pretty gross debris, but your watch comes with a few extra features that are prone to trapping dirt and other gunk, like its band and the Digital Crown. Cleaning your Apple Watch regularly can breathe new life into it, and get your watch looking like you just took it out of the box again. 

Fear not Apple Watch fans, I’ve got a few tips that can help you keep your Apple Watch squeaky clean and free from bacteria. For more, here’s how to watch (and what to expect from) WWDC 2024 and everything we know so far about iOS 18. 

How to clean your Apple Watch 

Cleaning your Apple Watch follows the same basic procedures that you would use to clean your iPhones or iPads. According to Apple, avoid using “soaps, cleaning products, abrasive materials, compressed air, ultrasonic cleaning, and external heat sources” on your Apple Watch. Instead, follow these steps to keep your watch in mint condition.

First, turn your Apple Watch off, and remove it from any chargers. If you’re using a leather watch band, Apple recommends removing it before getting started.  

To clean your Apple Watch, wipe it down with a lint-free, nonabrasive cloth. If your watch is super dirty, Apple recommends lightly dampening the cloth, and then wiping down your watch. If there is visible debris on your watch, you can run it under a light stream of warm water until it is clean. 

Before using your watch, you will need to let it dry completely. You can dry it with the same lint-free, nonabrasive cloth, as long as it’s not wet, of course.

How to clean your Digital Crown 

The Digital Crown is the small dial on the side of your Apple Watch that allows you to control some of its features, and like anything else, it is prone to debris and dirt. To clean your Digital Crown, you’ll follow the same basic steps that you did to clean your watch. Shut your watch off, remove it from the charger and remove any leather watch bands. 

Next, run the Digital Crown under a light stream of warm water, pressing the crown in and rotating it as you go. Again, do not use any soaps or cleaning products. 

After you rinse, dry the Digital Crown with that same nonabrasive, lint-free cloth. As you dry the Digital Crown, you’ll want to press it in and rotate it like you did when you were rinsing it. 

How to clean your Apple Watch band

Regardless of which band you use for your Apple Watch, you’ll want to remove it from your watch before cleaning. Note that Apple only provides guidance for Apple-branded bands, so if you use a third-party Apple Watch band, you’ll want to consult the company’s specific cleaning instructions before proceeding.

Leather Bands 

  • Use a lint-free cloth to wipe down your leather band. If necessary, slightly dampen the cloth with warm water. 
  • Under no circumstances should a leather band be submerged in water. 
  • Let your leather band dry completely before reattaching it to your Apple Watch.

Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, Sport band, Sport Loop, Ocean Band, Alpine Loop and Trail Loop

  • Wipe the band with a lint-free, nonabrasive cloth. If need be, you can either dampen the cloth with warm water or use a mild soap to clean the band. 
  • Dry completely with a lint-free, nonabrasive cloth before reattaching to your Apple Watch.

FineWoven bands

  • First, Apple recommends mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with 1 cup of water. 
  • Next, dip a lint-free cloth into the detergent solution and rub it on the watch band for about a minute.
  • Wipe the band again with a lint-free cloth that has only been dampened with water.
  • Dry the band with a dry lint-free cloth, and let it sit out to dry for at least a day before reattaching to your Apple Watch and wearing it.

Hermès bands

There are three different types of Hermès Apple Watch bands that you could own: rubber, knit or woven. 

You can clean rubber bands with a nonabrasive cloth and water, using soap only if there are tough to remove debris or stains. The knit and woven bands can be cleaned with a nonabrasive cloth as well, but if there are hard to remove stains, wet the cloth with warm water and gently rub the spot.

At the end of the day, cleaning your Apple Watch, Digital Crown and watch bands really just come down to a good old nonabrasive, lint-free cloth and a little bit of elbow grease. For more, here’s what to know about the minimum amount of time Apple will support older iPhones with new updates and everything we know about Apple’s rumored partnership with OpenAI.