How to clean your Android Wear watch

You are a dirty, dirty person — we'll help you keep your smartwatch clean

When you put a watch on your wrist, you're exposing it to the outside world in a way that your phone or tablet never sees. Being on your wrist means it's out there, and it's going to get dirty. If you wear your new Android-powered watch in the pool or in the shower (especially the shower) you'll also get an extra-special layer of grunge and gunk where things lay against your skin. Anyone who wears a watch regularly knows what I mean, and if you are like me and only take off your Gear Live or G Watch to charge it, you'll soon need to clean it up.

The good news is that keeping things clean is pretty easy.

Cleaning the fingerprints

Cleaning the screen

Because your Android Wear watch is a touch device, the battle to keep smudges and fingerprints at bay never ends. Wiping them away is easy enough, but be sure to use a soft cloth to both absorb the oil that comes off your fingers and to not scratch the glass that covers everything. Most devices — these new watches included — have "toughened" glass of some sort on the face, but scratches can still happen. We've all used the corner of our shirt to wipe away fingerprints, but the best way is to use a small microfiber cloth. These will absorb the oils that created the prints in the first place, and then shine away the residue left behind. For tough spots, you can hold your watch close to your mouth and breathe on the face to add just a bit of moisture to help things along. If you get things really filthy, you can use products specially formulated for electronic displays or good old-fashioned rubbing alcohol. Be sure to wipe away all the residue, and never use any of those harsh cleaning products you'll find under the kitchen sink.

Cleaning the strap

Cleaning your strap

If you are using the original watch strap that came with your new watch, all you really need to clean it with is a damp cloth. Microfiber will work here, but i recommend something like a washcloth — the same type you use to wash your face — to help scrub away any grime and grease from the surface of the band. Your watch body itself is water resistant, so any collateral splashing isn't going to hurt anything here. If your watch strap is just too dirty for a damp cloth to fix, take it off and use some soap and elbow grease.

If you have changed the strap and are using a third-party band, follow the recommendations (if any) from the manufacturer to clean it. As a rule of thumb, I use soapy water on rubber or silicon straps, a slightly damp cloth and extra elbow grease on a leather strap, and a tiny dab of 3-in-One oil or WD-40 on a soft cloth for a stainless band. Just be sure to take the strap off before you do any aggressively wet cleaning.

Cleaning the back of the watch

This is too ditry

This is where things can get filthy. Resting against your skin while you sweat can get the back of your new watch pretty disgusting. Wearing it in the shower also adds a layer of soap scum to the mix, and the back of your watch ends up looking like the floor of a fast food restaurant or something equally greasy and nasty. Definitely not something you want against your wrist.

You don't want to — nor should you need to — use any cleaning solutions or soaps here. What I recommend is that same damp washcloth to wipe away any dead skin and funk that's back there, then a quick polish with a microfiber cloth to dry and shine things up. If you're sporting a Samsung Gear Live, pay special attention to the heart-rate monitor window, making sure to get all the dirt off of it and wiping away any streaks before they dry. If you need to get down into the crevice where the watch meets the strap, take the strap off and scrub it out with a moist Q-Tip.

Let everything dry for a few minutes before you put it back together, then strap it back on looking good as new!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Ohhh shit. I thought we were about to see NSFW Jerry... :P
  • No offense to jerry but there are very few people tha i want to see NSFW and none of them are on this site..
  • You had to say that around lunch time Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5
  • that moment when your favorite android site becomes your favorite adult entertainment site.
  • White watch just seems to be failure after a month. Posted via Android Central App
  • And yet you always go for white...
  • I hope this wasn't a response to me. Posted via Android Central App
  • Nope. Your post wasn't even up yet.
    Referring to Jerry's propensity for white phones, watches, etc.!
  • Ok. Want sure. App been wonky lately Posted via Android Central App
  • Buncha whiners. Thanks Jerry. As usual, great write-up. Now, what about my Jawbone UP24? JB says use rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Hand santizer took color off my UP24. I'm going to try a small amount of rubbing alcohol and see if that too strips color.
  • I always just take mine off at the very end of a shower and give it the full wipe down :)
  • just throw it in the dishwasher. trust me.
  • Been doing just rine the past dozen years without a watch. Posted via Android Central App
  • Seeing how beat up that Samsung watch is, I figure either: 1. Jerry treats his products like shit
    2. Jerry doesn't know how to properly wear/use a watch
    3. Samsung makes a cheap looking product
    4. All of the above I'm gonna go with #4
  • ^^^You analyze shit way, way too much!^^^ Posted via Android Central App
  • 1. He hasn't had the watch that long at all.
    2. Jery's job is one of the easiest on the planet
    3. He's not known for going outside Care to explain how or why the watch looks like it got run over by a muddy truck?
  • He got reprimanded in the forums, and harasses me ever since. I just don't give a shit.
  • Yet you always take the time to reply in your same butt-hurt manner. Maybe if you got off your high horse and treated the forum members better than trash folks wouldn't hate you so much.
  • You mad, bro?! Funny I would've bet the farm Jerry was one of the favorites on this site. Easy job? Certainly has some perks to tech junkies, but otherwise you're clueless. Traveling isn't all it's cracked up to be when you're doing it for work.
  • Also, what a shitty tattoo. Are you trying to make your arm look like a damn plant? LOL
  • Hey! That is not OK. Jerry always looks after his kit well. Just the occasional alteration, very few actually melt, so be nice. Posted via Android Central App
  • You need a new man crush.
  • If I could find someone more screwed up than Jerry I'd go hate on him. Yet here I
  • You're only wasting your own time, and you just end up looking like the a**hole.
  • I'm a little concerned about plastic straps. Historically they have been very prone to cracking and fracture after a year or so on me. Today I simply reject designs that require a custom fitting and prefer metal straps, such as the strap Phil fitted to his LG watch. I suspect the charging contacts will need regular attention, or they will stop working. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've said it before, I'll say it again: Zeiss lens cleaning wipes.
  • You took the words out of my mouth. Zeiss Wipes. Amazon sells big boxes of them. Bring a box to the office for people to clean their devices. Gets more bonus points than a box of donuts ever can.
  • I know! The first time you use one in front of someone, they think you've gone Howard Hughes. The second time, they ask for one. The third time, they have their own.
  • Nice looking arm and hand. Is that Jerry's? It would be nice to see the rest of this arm and the tattoo. It looks like the end further up might be artistic and most tats aren't wasteful use of skin. If I am wearing something on my arm I don't think I will have it in the shower even if it is water resistant. Don't do it with watches, no need to do it with Wear. when I am in the shower I don't need it to tell me where I am or anything else. So it would know I was in the shower....hmm...Anyway good cleaning maintenance information to know.
  • looking at my watch which is only cleaned by wearing it in the shower, no soap scum, not anywhere near as dirty as the pictured watches. I'll stick to wearing it in the shower.
  • I know the G Watch is IP67 and it seems the shower is perfectly fine but you also mentioned the pool? is it safe to swim with either of the Android Wear watches in the pool? I've heard mixed things about this.. Thanks all.