Apple watch

How to clean your Apple Watch in 5 steps

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Do you remember the grime you would get stuck under your Casio calculator watch back in the day if you never took it off?

You’d think we’d be safe from this with a apple watchsince we constantly have to remove it to charge itbut you are wrong.

All that dirt, dust, dead skin, and sweat are still hiding in the crevices of your watch, and it can even interfere with your Apple Watch performance.

A apple watch can collect too much debris around the Digital Crown, for example, causing it to get stuck. Just like those on your iPhone, your Apple Watch’s speaker ports are another common victim of dirt, and removing them can help if your the speaker volume is suddenly too low.

Also: I put the Apple Watch Ultra through a Tough Mudder

How to clean your Apple Watch in 5 steps


Start by removing the band from your Apple Watch; we will clean them separately.

To remove the strap, place the watch face down on a flat, clean surface. Press the tape release buttons. These are the two buttons in the middle of where the band meets the watch.

While pressing the release buttons, slide the band out of its slot and remove it completely.

Below are the buttons you need to press while sliding the watch band.

Hands removing the band on the Apple Watch

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Buttons highlighted on the back of an Apple Watch

While pressing these buttons, slide the band outward.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Also: The best Apple Watch Series 8 bands

Do a thorough inspection of your Apple Watch and look for any dirt that may have accumulated in any hard-to-reach areas. Look carefully in the speaker ports, around the button and digital crown, and in the wristband slot.

Try to loosen stuck-on dirt from the crevices of your watch with the cotton swab. If the grime doesn’t budge, try holding your watch under a gentle stream of water to soften it (see Apple’s support page for more information on the water resistance of your Apple Watch model and never use soapy water). Then, give another injection with the cotton swab.

If you feel you can be very gentle, you can try this method around the digital crown and on the speaker port (shown in the photo below). With the aid of interdental brush cleaning small spaces on your electronics is a great idea, provided you are extremely careful with it. Use only the sides of the brush, not the tip. And no matter how tempted you are, don’t use compressed air to clean your Apple Watch.

Use a cotton swab to clean an Apple Watch

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Cleaning the speaker port with a brush

Only use the sides of the interdental brush, never the sharp tip.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Also: Apple Watch Ultra teardown: Much bigger battery, but repairs are tough

Dampen one of the two cleaning cloths with clean water and wipe down your Apple Watch, front and back. Make sure your cloth is damp but not wet by wringing out any excess water before using it on your watch. Pay attention to any dirt you may have loosened with the brush and wipe it away.

Again, it’s important not to use soaps or cleaning products when cleaning your Apple Watch, and not to immerse your watch in water to clean it, especially older models.

Clean Apple Watch with a damp microfiber cloth

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

As long as you don’t have a leather band, you can wipe down your Apple Watch band with the same damp cloth or even wash the band with a mild hand soap. Apple advises against cleaning its watch straps with abrasive soaps or cleaning products.

Whether you clean your band or not, its color will fade or vary over time and with repeated use. Using cleaning products other than mild hand soap will make discoloration and discoloration worse, so again, avoid those.

Wipe Apple Watch bands with a damp cloth

I chose to just wipe down my band, as it wasn’t too dirty.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Use the dry, lint-free cloth to wipe down the clean parts of your watch. Before you put your band back on your Apple Watch, make sure every area of ​​your watch and band is completely dry.

To reassemble your Apple Watch, place it face down on a clean surface again, then hold the band with the letters and numbers facing you, and slide each into the slot until you hear a faint click.

Dry the Apple Watch and band pieces on a microfiber cloth

My watch after drying the individual parts with a microfiber cloth.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET


Can I disinfect my Apple Watch?

If you’ve owned an Apple Watch for the past few years, you’ve probably wondered if it was safe to disinfect your Apple Watch without damaging it. Apple has approved the use of certain disinfectants to safely clean your Watch:

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • 75% isopropyl alcohol
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

This obviously doesn’t mean you can wipe your Apple Watch with a Clorox wipe, but you can gently wipe the outside of the Apple Watch and band with any of these wipes, except for leather bands and Fabric.

How do I clean my smelly Apple Watch band?

The Apple Watch sport band is unfortunately often plagued with a foul odor, especially when worn during exercise. A good way to get rid of odors like this is to remove it from the watch and wash it well with hand soap, then dry it with a microfiber towel and make sure it is completely dry before wearing it again.

If the smell persists, wipe it down with an isopropyl alcohol wipe, especially the underside, and let it air dry completely.

Also: New Apple Watch Ultra bands also work with other Apple models

Can I wash my Apple Watch in the sink?

Apple doesn’t recommend washing its smartwatches with soap because soap residue can get stuck in small areas of the watch and cause problems down the line. Depending on the model, this does not mean that you cannot shower with your watch or do the dishes with it. Again, check the degree of water resistance of the model you own.

You can, however, wash the strap in the sink with a mild hand soap, as long as it’s not leather.

I don’t wash my Apple Watch in the sink, but every night before bed I take it off and wipe it down with a Clorox wipe, then let it air dry completely before charging or wear it again.

Can I clean an Apple Watch leather strap?

Leather straps are not waterproof and may discolor if improperly cleaned. If you have a leather band for your Apple Watch and you need to clean it, you can use a slightly damp cloth to clean it, taking care not to soak the leather. Allow it to air dry completely before wearing it again, but do not expose it to the sun to do so or it will deteriorate. Air-drying your leather strap indoors is sufficient.

What should be avoided when cleaning the Apple Watch?

  • Avoid harsh cleaners of any kind, as well as products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Don’t immerse your Apple Watch in cleaning solutions or soapy water. Do not immerse older models in water at all.
  • Do not use compressed air or ultrasonic cleaners.
  • Don’t dry your Apple Watch with a hair dryer or let it dry in the sun.
  • Never buff or polish your Apple Watch.