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.