How to Clean Dirt and Grime from Rubber Watch Straps


Welsey asked: “How do I clean a ‘DIESEL’ blue rubber watch strap that has grime on it that will not come out with white spirit, WD-40, tar and glue remover or stain remover?”

Dirt and grime can build up on wood furniture over time masking its true beauty. While frequent cleanings will help to avoid this situation, when the build-up is no longer removable with normal cleaning, it will require more powerful solutions to break it loose. Three simple ingredients can break through the dirt and help your pieces return to their original shine.

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • White toothpaste
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Water
  • Toothbrush or other soft brush

The Cleaning Process:

This process involves a series of steps to tackle the removal of dirt and grime. Once you successful remove the dirt, any additional steps can be disregarded.

  1. Begin by applying some regular white toothpaste to the area.
  2. Rub gently with your fingers or a soft brush (only use brushes in cases with heavy build-up as the abrasion from the bristles may damage the surface.
  3. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.
  4. If the dirt and grime still persists, moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe the dirt away.
  5. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.
  6. If the dirt still remains, mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste. It should be the consistency of toothpaste.
  7. Use your fingers or soft brush to gently rub the paste onto the rubber strap. Avoid using too much pressure as the abrasives from the baking soda and the soft brush could damage the surface of the strap.
  8. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Some mild dirt and grime can be erased away using a regular eraser. Simply rub the stained area until removed.
  • Damp cleansing cloths designed for computer monitors also work well to remove dirt from rubber straps.
  • To keep dirt at a minimum, clean the straps daily with a mild soap and water to remove any oils, lotions, etc. Avoid using any brushes on a daily basis as it can shorten the lifespan of the straps.
  • Even with the best care, rubber watch straps typically last a maximum of 18-24 months. After this time, it is usually necessary to replace them.



  1. Eidetical says:

    I have no idea why I never thought of wet wipes to clean my watch strap, but this article gave me the hint, and I’m sure the other tips are useful too!

  2. John says:

    I’ve been looking for a watch exactly like the one on the top of that pile. Please, does anyone know where I can find it?

  3. Lauren says:

    Another suggestion on cleaning rubber watch bands, especially white bands, is to use the Mr. Clean Eraser. I am not sure on color watch bands, but the white ones are safe. :)

  4. Julius Cesar says:

    How can I make my rubber strap become white again from being yellowish?

  5. Liz says:

    I hate to say this, but people are talking off the top of their head. Nothing cleans my white-strapped watch, and I have tried everything. :(

  6. Joseph says:

    These instructions are horrible. Alcohol will dry out rubber, causing it to break.

  7. Scot says:

    I have a new Pulsar PQ2013 orange band. In only one week, it is totally discolored. None of these things worked (toothpaste, toothbrush, alcohol, eraser; nada). Any ideas?

  8. Vic says:

    I agree; nothing in these tips worked… My sister also used a regular eraser, but it’s not working! =S

  9. Yasr says:

    Try leaving the straps in a glass of Coke or Pepsi and then wash it off.

  10. Annabell says:

    Nothing works! I have a blue strap that is black and dirty, and toothpaste doesn’t work

  11. Sophia says:

    I do know that Ajax cleaning spray works on white straps, but I only used it a week ago so I’m not sure what effect it might have on the white band, but it did get it completely clean and it’s still white, not yellow.

  12. Joyce says:

    I would not use anything that has alcohol. Alcohol will eventually eat away at the rubber. Also, in the instructions for Fitbit bands, it states to use a “soapless” cleaner, otherwise it will become gummy. From the instructions on this site, I would use the toothpaste (paste, not gel) method and/or an eraser.

  13. Michelle says:

    Also, are there any ideas on how to clean the rubberized part of your phone?
    My HTC desire 826 has been getting really dirty along the sides and I would really want to know how to clean it. Thanks in advance.

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

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