Fitbit trackers spend more time on our person than pretty much any other wearable item - so cleaning them every now and then is an absolute must.
With sleep tracking now integral to the company's entire crop of devices, and waterproofing now resulting in us taking them in the pool and shower, the only time many of us take one off is when it's running low on battery.
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If you don't keep your Fitbit band clean, you not only run the risk of it smelling badly over time, but you may even encounter skincare problems. To avoid both of these issues with your Versa, Charge, Ionic or Inspire, follow the advice below on the different ways to clean your Fitbit - whether you have a silicon, leather or metal band.
How to clean a Fitbit band
In order to keep your Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker in working shape, you'll need to regularly clean your band and wrist. This is particularly true when the band has sweat on it after a workout, otherwise it'll begin to smell. Fitbit advises against using soap, cleaning wipes and the like, as they may get underneath the strap and begin to irritate the skin.
The ways for cleaning your Fitbit band also varies depending on the type of material used. The company offers elastomer, leather, knit, metal and knit bands - much like many third-party Fitbit accessories - and there are slightly different means for maintaining each.
Mix it up: How to change your Fitbit band
Here are some general tips for the elastomer bands - the type that comes with the device out the box - but Fitbit also offers some tips for the other types, which we'll detail further down:
These bands are the most common, as they're generally shipped as the standard option, like with the Fitbit Charge 3 or the Versa Lite Edition smartwatch. These, as well as the Fitbit Ace 2, Flex 2, Ionic and Inspire trackers, are all waterproof and can be worn in water, and these bands are equipped to deal with that. The flexible polymer is highly durable and designed for intense training, but you’ll need to clean them to keep hygiene up and irritation down.
1. Clean regularly
Fitbit wants you to regularly rinse both your band and your wrist after your workouts. It suggests using only water or soap-free cleansers (like Cetaphil, Gentle Skin Cleanser, or Aquanil) on the band. It advises against using any soaps or cleansers that could get trapped beneath the band and potentially irritate your skin. Obviously, you’ll also need to dry the band thoroughly before putting it back on.
2. Avoid oils and lotions
If you’ve been wearing sunscreen or body lotions that may rub off on band, Fitbit recommends using soap-free cleansers and drying the band.
3. Get rid of stains
If you notice some stains, steer clear of soaps. Fitbit says you can go at it with a wet toothbrush, but that’s your lot. Some users have recommended using a magic eraser – akin to those you’d use to wash down walls – if all else fails. Just remember to rinse it well after you're done.
For some of its products, Fitbit offers a leather band as an upgrade. Designed for show and not for go, these bands won’t withstand workouts and don’t deal with sweat or water - trust us, we've made the mistake of trying.
However, like any watch strap, it’ll still get grubby from general use. Fitbit recommends a 'non-abrasive lint-free cloth', which can be lightly dampened with water. Then, it’s important to let it air dry indoors at room temperature before putting it back on. High temperatures and direct sunlight will leave it damaged and discoloured.
It’s a similar story for the metal bands, like the sleek stainless steel option available for the Versa smartwatches. They aren’t water or sweat resistant, so, whatever you do, don’t soak them. They should only be cleaned with a non-abrasive lint-free cloth, which you can dampen if necessary. Dry it well with a second cloth before putting it back on. Again, these bands are no fans of direct sunlight or high temperatures.
Woven or knit bands
While still not designed for intense workouts, Fitbit does allow you to hand wash its own Woven bands, as well as the fashion-centric PH5 knit bands for the Versa series. You can rinse them in a little cold water with a mild soap, as long as you rinse them properly and air-dry them after. Putting them out in the sun to dry could lead to discoloration and damage.
Silicone Sport bands
These breathable, perforated bands are made from silicone. Fitbit doesn’t provide any specific instructions for cleaning these bands, but advises following the same instructions the company gives for elastomer bands. That means regular rinsing, and soap-free cleaners like Cetaphil, Gentle Skin Cleanser, or Aquanil.
Clean the Fitbit device
You’ll also need to keep the physical module of your Fitbit clean, too, and this begins with keeping the charging pins in tip-top shape. They're all located in slightly different places, depending on which tracker you're wearing, but they're always the gold dots at the point that meets the charger.
How do you clean them? Well, the company recommends occasionally using a toothbrush and some rubbing alcohol to keep the charging pins on your watch or tracker gold or bronze coloured. And it's also worth giving the charging pins the same courtesy with a cotton swab and a little rubbing alcohol, ensuring no pieces of swab remain in the pins.
Don't forget about the pins, either. If you have lint within the tiny holes that fit into the band's entry points, you could struggle to switch between them, so perform the same practice as above to keep them clean.
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