5 Ways Leather Watch Bands Stink (Plus How To Clean)

A leather watchband can bring years of pleasure to anyone who wears it, but there are a few things to beware of first.

If you’ve owned one of these beautiful accessories for some time, you may have come to realize that they do stink. That’s right, folks, your nice leather watchband is stinking up your wrist, and you don’t even know it.

Here Are Five Ways Leather Watch Bands Stink

Leather watch bands can stink and how this happens in usually bacteria, sweat, different types of leather used and water contact. The last way smells affect a watch band is wearing your watch band too tight.

Through out this article we will discuss these factors so you can work of if any of these ways affect your watch band, and some super tips to get rid of the nasty smell.

Reasons Why Leather Watch Bands Stink


When you think about the potential health hazards that can come from your watch, bacteria is probably not the first thing that springs to mind. But it’s a genuine concern with leather bands since they’re in close contact with your skin for an extended period every day.

Bacteria can live and even thrive on the porous surface of leather, causing odours as well as allergies and skin infections. If you have an expensive leather watchband, taking care of it properly can help it last longer, but if you have a less expensive band, the cost of cleaning and maintenance may eventually outweigh its value.

The fact that leather watch bands are made from animal skins means that they are porous and often absorb water and sweat from your skin.

If there is dirt or dust on your wrist when you put on your watch, those particles can become trapped in the pores of the leather and attract moisture because they are in contact with your warm skin. Damp leather provides an ideal environment for bacteria to breed, making it smell harmful and possibly causing health problems for you.

Washing your hands before putting on your watch is important because it keeps dirt and bacteria from attaching themselves to the leather band while you’re wearing it. However, if you don’t clean the bar regularly, those contaminants will create habitation for bacteria.


If you are a person who likes to sweat a lot, your leather watchband will stink. Leather is a porous material, and when it becomes wet, it can take on the smell of whatever it comes into contact with. When it comes to sweating, leather soaks that moisture up and traps the smell in the pores.

Leather is also known for being difficult to clean. You cannot use any cleaning product on leather because it will cause damage. The only way to clean a leather watchband is with a damp cloth. This will not remove all the sweat from the pores and will not remove the smell caused by the work either.

If you want your leather watch band to last, you should be able to care for it properly. It should be cleaned at least once every two weeks, especially if you wear it often.

The best way to keep your leather band from smelling is to keep it clean and dry. Each time you shower, remove your watch and wash off the sweat with detergent. Then dry it off with a towel before putting on your favourite cologne or aftershave lotion.

This will help keep your band from absorbing body odours as well as sweat from your wrist and hand. You may also want to remove your watch before working out or playing sports as these activities can increase sweating, increasing odour problems for your watch band.

Type Of Leather Used

Leather watch bands smell, especially if they have been exposed to sweat. The type of leather used, the material used to line the band, and how often and thoroughly you clean the band can all impact the smell of your leather watchband.

The type of leather used to make your watch band can impact how it smells. Natural cowhide is more breathable than other types of leather and absorbs moisture better, which helps reduce odour. Leather that has been treated with wax, on the other hand, does not allow water to evaporate and may smell more as a result.

The lining of some leather watch bands is made from materials like canvas or nylon that do not absorb moisture and leather. Watchbands lined with these materials may smell more than unlined or leather-lined bands because they retain water and bacteria.

Even if you wear gloves when working out and you avoid getting your watch wet in the shower, a leather band will absorb sweat from your skin. The longer you go without cleaning your band, the more bacteria will build up inside it, causing it to smell worse over time.

Watch Band Worn Too Tight

The most common reason a watch band smells is that it’s been worn too tight. This is particularly true of the leather watch bands and applies to metal and nylon bands.

Nylon bands are especially prone to this problem because they are so soft and flexible, making them easily stretch into a too-tight configuration. If you wear your watch band too tight, sweat can be trapped under the leather or other material, which leads to bacteria growth.

If you wear your band fast, it’s possible that the work can’t even get out and will sit there as long as you are wearing the watch. If this happens all day long, every day, you’ll notice a stinky smell coming from your watch band in just a few days.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to wear your watch with a comfortable amount of space between the watch band and your wrist. It should not be so loose that it slides up and down on your wrist, but it should not be so tight that it leaves an imprint on your skin when you take it off.

Watch Band Has Had Contact With Water

Leather watch bands that are not properly cared for can quickly become the source of many problems with your watch. The most common problem is water damage. When a leather watch band gets wet, it can become cracked and brittle, which will lead to the band breaking off of your wristwatch in no time at all.

A second common problem is molding and mildew growth on the leather, caused by water getting trapped between the band and the watch’s body. This will cause many health issues with you and anyone who touches the band. If you have a mold allergy or asthma, you should avoid using a leather watch band exposed to moisture.

If you have ever had water get inside of your leather band, then you know how difficult it is to clean it up. It would help if you had a good cleaning solution that contains bleach and then use it regularly to remove all traces of mold and mildew from the leather strap.

Best Ways to Naturally Clean Your Leather Watch Band

Leather is a natural product that wears and ages over time. If you want to maintain it in good condition, it’s essential to clean your leather watch band from time to time.

Otherwise, all kinds of dirt particles and bacteria will accumulate on the leather strap, which can’t only make it look untidy but also reduce its lifespan. To prevent this from happening, you can use some household items to clean your watchband yourself.

Vinegar Method

If you want to clean your leather watchband, there are a few ways you can do it. One way is using vinegar. It’s important to remember that the vinegar method of cleaning a leather watchband is only meant for cleaning the band itself and not the inside or outside of the watch face. Here are some steps you can take to clean a leather watch band using white vinegar naturally.

Vinegar: Mix equal white vinegar and water parts in a small dish. The ratio should be about � cups of vinegar for every ¼ cup of water.
Dip your soft cloth into the solution: Be sure not to get too much on it at once. You don’t want it dripping wet because that could cause damage to your watch face, so squeeze out any excess liquid before starting to wipe down your leather strap.
Wiping: Once your cloth is damp, start wiping down the watch band in small sections or strokes at a time, starting at one end of the strap and working toward the other end until you reach the buckle or fastener. Continue this process until the whole watch is cleaned.
Rinsing: Rinse the band thoroughly with fresh water to remove all vinegar/water solution traces. Allow it to air dry on a soft cloth.

Baking Soda Method

The baking soda method is an easy way to clean your leather watchband. The natural abrasiveness of the baking soda will help remove any dirt, dust, or stains that are on the surface of the leather band. The first step is to gather all of the ingredients you will need. You will need one tablespoon of baking soda, a small bowl, and some warm water.

Step 1: Mix the Baking Soda and Water

In the small bowl, mix the baking soda with one cup of warm water until it has completely dissolved.

Step 2: Soak the Band in the Mixture

Immerse your watch band in your bowl of baking soda and water solution for at least 15 minutes. This will give it time to absorb the cleaning agents. Then remove your band from the solution and rinse it off under some running water. The dirt should come off quickly.

Water and Soap Method

Another method you can use to clean your leather watchband is the water and soap method. This one is a bit more intensive, but it’s pretty simple. Here are the steps:

Supplies needed:

  • A bowl of warm water
  • Mild liquid soap (dish soap works fine)
  • Soft cloth
  • Soft toothbrush


Fill a little bowl with luke warm water: Add a tiny amount of mild liquid soap and mix until the water becomes sudsy.
Wiping: Use your soft cloth to wipe the entire surface of your watch band to remove any loose dirt or grime. Take extra care when cleaning the area around the stitching, as dirt can quickly get stuck in between the leather and stitching. If necessary, you can use a soft toothbrush to gently brush away any dirt that may have accumulated in between the hem.
Submerge: Only the leather parts of your watch band into the soapy water for several seconds. Do not submerge the metal parts of your watch band, as that could cause damage to those parts. For watches with metal clasps, only submerge those parts for a couple of seconds, at most. Make sure no soap gets into the clasp mechanism as that could also cause damage or corrosion within the clasp.
Rubbing: Using your soft cloth, gently rub all areas of the watch till clean, then you should condition the leather pat to maintain its quality.

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