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How to Clean White Leather Watches

by Chance Henson, studioD

Leather is among the most common materials used to make bands for the modern wristwatch. Although leather is a strong, durable material, its organic properties make it vulnerable to staining. White leather tends to make dirt, oils and oxidation all the more obvious, giving your watch an unpleasant brown or yellow patina. All leather watches are not created equally and some brands may require specialized care and maintenance. You should always review the manufacturer's care instructions before you attempt to clean the watch yourself.

Wipe the leather portions of the watch wristband with a clean, dry cloth to remove surface dirt and grime.

Mix a solution of one-part distilled white vinegar with three-parts warm water, then stir until it is well-mixed.

Dip a clean, soft cloth into the vinegar water and wring it out so it is only slightly damp.

Gently rub the entire surface of the watch strap with the cloth to clean the material. Use a cotton swab dipped in the solution to clean areas that cannot be reached with the cloth.

Add a few drops of mild liquid soap to a cup of warm water and stir until suds are formed.

Dip a fresh cloth into the solution and squeeze out the excess water. Wipe the watch strap with the cloth to remove residual soil.

Air dry the watch in a well-ventilated area. Ensure that the leather is thoroughly dried before storing.

Store the leather in a dry, well-ventilated area.

Items you will need
  •  Clean, soft cloths
  •  Distilled white vinegar
  •  Cotton swabs
  •  Mild liquid soap
  •  Denatured alcohol


  • Clean mildewed leather with a cloth dampened in a solution of one-cup denatured alcohol and one-cup water, then cleanse with soapy water.
  • Use a specialized leather cleaner or consult a leather care expert to repair damaged or heavily stained leather goods.


  • Do not clean leather with bleach.

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

Photo Credits

  • Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images