How to Remove Dye Transfer from a Rubber Watchband


Marisabel asked: How can I clean blue jean dye from my white, rubber watch strap? I just bought a Michael Kors white watch, but my blue jeans, with some contact, have already stained the strap. Is there a way to remove this bluish stain? I’ve tried soap and water, acetone and alcohol. It has removed it a little bit. Is there a way to whiten it completely or at least improve it?

If you’ve tried the usual methods of cleaning a rubber watch strap, most of which include soap and water or alcohol-based liquids, without success, here are a couple of tricks you can try. In most cases, one of these techniques should improve the look of your watch strap if not return it to its former glory.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. The easiest thing to try is a regular pencil eraser. It’s perfect for removing marks and smudges from rubber and works like a charm! Use white erasers as the pink ones may leave pink smudges.
  2. If a regular pencil eraser doesn’t work, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar product. Simply moisten the sponge and rub it over the stained area.
  3. If that doesn’t do it, grab your safety goggles and move on to the next step.
  4. Mix four parts water with one part bleach in a cup or small bowl. You will need less than ¼ cup of the finished solution, so only mix a small amount.
  5. Wearing eye protection, moisten a white cloth with the mixture. Do not use a colored cloth. You will likely transfer color from the cloth to the watch band and make your problem worse.
  6. Carefully dab the bleach against the stain on the watch band.  Don’t over apply the bleach or leave it for more than a few seconds or you may damage the rubber.
  7. If needed, increase the strength of the solution by adding a bit more bleach. Do this in small increments to expose the rubber watchband to as little bleach as necessary.
  8. Blot and repeat as necessary if you see improvement.
  9. Once the stain is removed, rinse the band well with water to remove all the bleach residue.
  10. If the stain remains, mix the Rit Dye Remover with a small amount of water to make a paste.
  11. Spread the paste onto the stained area and allow it to set for a minute.
  12. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.
  13. Repeat if necessary.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Once you have the band clean, treat it with Armor-All wipes made for vinyl car interiors. This easy tactic will help protect the band from stains and smudging. Repeat every few weeks for maximum effect.
  • Be careful with acetone on rubber watch bands. It can start to break down the rubber and make the band feel “sticky.” Once done, this can be difficult to reverse.


  1. Camila says:

    Hi! I have the exact same problem! But my watch is green! If I use bleach, it will make it turn white, right?

  2. KFB says:

    I also purchased the Michael Kors white rubber band watch and it has a green tone to it; not sure what rubbed off onto it, but it isn’t going away. I’ve only had it for one month.

  3. Kathy G. says:

    I just bought a white one from Fossil and same thing happened – it’s only a week old!

  4. Michelle says:

    I just bought the Marc Jacobs white watch with white plastic/ rubber band and it has some stains after wearing ONCE – I think it rubbed on my jeans a little bit. I tried the pencil eraser and alcohol and that didn’t work. I don’t want to try nail polish remover (acetone) because of the warning above but I haven’t tried magic eraser yet. I’m tempted to call Bloomingdales where I bought the watch and see if they’ve had similar complaints. Or maybe try to reach Marc Jacobs customer services if there’s a phone # or e-mail address…

    Let me know if anyone finds a solution that works!!!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Hi Michelle, I tried the white eraser and alcohol and neither worked. Also tried acetone and that was a bad idea as it removed the shininess from the plastic part of the band that surrounds the rubber. Have yet to use the Magic Eraser, but in the meantime, I’ve vowed to NEVER wear my Marc Jacobs watch with jeans again! Let me know if you have any luck… :)

  6. Kathy G says:

    I contacted Fossil directly and they told me they had so many complaints that they were planning to pull them from the shelves. They suggested I return it to Macy’s where I purchased. I did without any problem.

  7. Michelle says:

    Just an update to say that nothing worked to clean my white rubber Marc Jacobs watch. I called Bloomingdale’s and they agreed to take it back. My advice: return your watch – white rubber isn’t meant to be used on watch straps!!!!!

  8. Daniela says:

    I’ve also recently purchased a Michael Kors watch with white straps… oh my, that’s just so not meant to be that way. It’s turned green already. No matter what color of shirt I wear, its color just sticks to the watch. I’m in Brazil and it’s impossible to get it repaired here. I’ve already written to Michael Kors in the States. I’ll try to return it somehow.

  9. Pat says:

    Same problem here with a Michael Kors watch. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING will remove the dye transfer. I contacted Michael Kors customer service via e-mail twice and had NO RESPONSE from them at all.

  10. Calvin says:

    This problem has been bugging me forever with my white G-shock. The white pencil eraser didn’t work, but the Magic Eraser worked pretty well! It removed the blue jean stains on the side (almost all of it), and it took some scrubbing, but it worked, so hey – I recommend it.

  11. Sean says:

    I am having the same problem with my white Gucci watch. I hope the above steps work; I’m on it tonight!

  12. Raymond says:

    Good luck guys. My girlfriend just opened a brand new Invicta Russian diver with a white strap that was gift from me. She wore it about 15 minutes, and when we looked down at it, it had green marks all over it like someone had gone at it with a green marker. Problem is, it rubbed against no clothes and we cant figure out what stained it. Nothing takes it off at all! Acetone lightened it up the most, but it is harsh on the rubber and dulls it where you rub it. I agree that the only solution is not to buy watches with white rubber straps. You will regret it. At least the watch was only $83.00.

  13. Midori says:

    I tried alcohol and eraser – they worked well on my Gucci watch. :)

  14. William says:

    I purchased an Invicta Reserve watch a couple of months back with a gray band and I’m not able to get the stains out either. I’ve tried eraser, bleach, cleaners, and soap and water, but to no avail! Is this my problem or manufacturers problem of the material that the rubber is made of??

  15. Faye says:

    I have a white strap and used 1 part bleach to 4 parts water. Rubbed it with a white cotton soft cloth dipped in the solution…left it for a few minutes and rinsed it thoroughly. It has taken all the marks off! :-)

  16. Clare says:

    Have just tried using a pumice stone and it seems to have removed the dirty top layer. However, I do not expect it to stay clean for long so will probably have to repeat the process…

  17. Sam says:

    For blue jean dye stains, rub butter on the band, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe off with cotton or a soft, dry cloth. Indigo dye is fat-soluble and will be pulled from the rubber since it it naturally attracted to the fats in the butter. Repeat as necessary. When you are done, use Dawn soap and warm water to remove residue.

  18. Ben says:

    The butter worked like a charm on the two-year-old green stains on my white rubber watch band! Thank you so much! Any tips on how to protect the rubber from future stains?

  19. tayiba khatoon says:

    MY Michael Kors watch is golden. It needs some kind of polish. Looks really old. I need some good suggestions.

  20. Jokey says:

    I just got a black rubber band Michael kors wristwatch and it seems to be fading off with less than 2 days use. Kindly advise on the maintenance of black rubber wristwatch band.

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