Watch bands and straps get dirty, and that’s even more true when it’s a watch like the Apple Watch Ultra, made for sports and other heavy and sweaty activities in nature. Sometimes it’s necessary to give your watch and its strap a good cleaning, and with expensive wristwatches, it’s best to let a jeweler do that. But it begs the question, are the Apple Watch Ultra’s bands washable?
Apple does not recommend washing any of the Apple Watch Ultra’s bands in a machine with detergent, and the company gives strict guidelines about the soaps, chemicals, and methods you should use to keep them clean. The bands are generally safe to wash, though, and many users do so successfully.
Apple released three official Apple-branded bands for the Apple Watch Ultra, and they are all made of different materials. With this in mind, the company provided specific instructions for how to keep the bands clean. Though some other methods may work, following the manufacturer’s instructions is always best. Let’s look at them in more detail.
The Dangers Of Washing Your Apple Watch Ultra’s Band
Let’s start by examining the risks of washing your Apple Watch Ultra’s band.
The Apple Watch Ultra has a very high water resistance rating (up to 100 meters). Apple designed it to be used in various types of sports, many of which involve plenty of water, including diving, as it’s rated as a fully approved dive computer.
If that applies to the watch itself, the same rule should apply to its bands, but it’s crucial to remember that only one of the three bands was made with the purpose of diving: the Ocean Band. Based on this, it’s safe to conclude that all three bands (especially the Ocean Band) can handle water well enough that you can wash them without any problems.
However, water is not the primary concern, as clean water shouldn’t harm the materials. However, some chemicals could, and many soaps and detergents contain such chemicals.
This leads to two primary concerns:
- Some chemicals could be abrasive or have adverse reactions with the materials of the bands, causing them to become brittle or break easily.
- It’s possible that some laundry detergents or soaps could make the color fade, ruining the style and aesthetics of the band you chose. Apple specifically warns against using bleach or hydrogen peroxide, as these could have precisely that effect.
- It’s possible that some detergents or chemicals can be hard to rinse off, which could cause skin irritations.
- This part should be obvious, but you should always remove the bands from your Apple Watch Ultra before washing them. Even though it’s water resistant, detergents can get into tiny holes and cause damage, and Apple states that you should never submerge your Apple Watch in cleaning agents.
How To Wash The Apple Watch Ultra’s Bands
Apple gives some general tips and a few specific guidelines for washing or cleaning each of the bands available for the Apple Watch Ultra.
- You can use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75% ethyl alcohol wipe, or some Clorox Disinfecting wipes to gently wipe your Apple Watch Ultra and the Ocean Band, but you should not use this on the Alpine Loop or Trail Loop.
- You should not use products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
- As already mentioned, you must remove the band from your Apple Watch Ultra before you attempt to wash it.
Cleaning The Alpine Loop
The Alpine Loop is made of two layers of polyester textile that have been woven together (not stitched) to ensure strength and sturdiness.
To clean the Alpine Loop, Apple recommends the following:
- Wipe the Alpine Loop with a clean, lint-free, nonabrasive cloth.
- You may moisten the cloth a bit if necessary.
- You can use hypoallergenic hand soap to clean it more thoroughly if required.
- Do not use alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or other chemicals to clean it.
- You should preferably not submerge it in water or hold it under a running tap since the polyester band will absorb moisture and take longer to dry.
- Dry it off thoroughly with a lint-free, nonabrasive cloth before reattaching it to your Apple Watch Ultra.
- If it’s too wet to dry with a cloth, leave it in a well-ventilated area for a few hours (preferably overnight) before reattaching it.
Cleaning The Trail Loop
The Trail Loop is made from a simple but sturdy nylon weave, which means that the Alpine Loop’s cleaning guidelines also apply to the Trail Loop.
Cleaning The Ocean Band
The Ocean Band is the most purpose-specific of the three Apple Watch Ultra bands since it’s made specifically with divers in mind. It’s made from high-performance elastomer that was molded with a tubular geometry.
For the most part, Apple recommends cleaning it the same way as the Alpine Loop and Trail Loop, using only a slightly damp cloth and some hypoallergenic hand soap if needed. However, because the material is so different, you can also clean it a bit differently:
- It’s safe to use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or 75% ethyl alcohol wipe to gently wipe down the Ocean Band.
- Since the Ocean Band’s elastomer is non-absorbent, it is safe to submerge it in water or hold it under a running tap, and you generally won’t have to leave it overnight to dry out; a lint-free cloth should dry it off properly.
Real-Life Examples Of Washing Apple Watch Ultra Bands
A few users on the MacRumors forum discussed how they wash their Apple Watch Ultra bands, notably the Alpine Band. The Alpine Band and Trail Band are very similar, and they are the two that are more sensitive to certain chemicals, so these experiences should apply to all Apple Watch Ultra bands.
Keep in mind that Apple did not approve of these suggestions, but they are based on real-life experiences. The users clean their bands in a few different ways:
- One user washes their band in the sink with antibacterial hand soap.
- The same user states that Apple Store employees told them the bands are washer safe, but there are some concerns about a washing machine scratching the titanium clasps, so this is not generally recommended.
- Another user washes their band with hand soap and degreaser.
- Someone else simply showers with the Apple Watch Ultra daily, which they claim keeps the band clean.
- Dishwashing soap under running water also appears to be an effective way to clean the bands.
Overall, these suggestions all make sense since dishwashing soap, hand soap, and the chemicals you use in the shower all tend to be mild enough not to damage the Apple Watch Ultra’s bands. However, there’s no discussion on the forum about the long-term effects of these methods on the bands, so you may choose to try or ignore them.
Apple Watch Ultra bands are washable, but you should take care not to use any materials, detergents, or chemicals that could damage them. Apple recommends only using a slightly damp cloth and maybe a little bit of hand soap to clean them, but the bands are robust enough to handle some more intensive cleaning methods without being damaged.