1. How to wear your Garmin correctly
  2. How to clean your Garmin watch band
  3. Cleaning your Garmin watch case

How to clean your Garmin watch: Easy steps to handle watch bands and more

Rid your watch of dirt and grime with these simple tips
Wareable how to clean a garmin watch
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If your Garmin watch is consistently getting grubby from workout sweat, or you're experiencing skin irritation from use, you'll want to learn how to clean it properly. 

The good news is that doing so is pretty straightforward - and we've got plenty of experience of what not to do when cleaning your watch band or watch case, too.

Below, you'll find tips on how to wear your Garmin watch in order to avoid irritation issues and how to clean each specific band type.

You can also find your next strap by checking out the best Garmin bands we've tested.


How to wear your Garmin correctly

WareableHow to clean your Garmin watch: Easy steps to handle watch bands and more photo 4

A good place to start when trying to avoid any skin irritation issues is the fit. 

Garmin's recommended fit

Like any other sports watch, Garmin recommends that the fit is both firm and not too tight.

You want that heart rate sensor snug against the wrist and the watch sitting away from your wrist bone, but not so much that you really notice the squeeze.

In our experience, wearing a watch too tight can cause itchiness, discomfort and other skin irritation, so it pays to find the right balance when strapping your watch on - particularly for a workout when your wrist is likely to swell slightly.

Keep things dry after workouts

Particularly if you work out in the heat (or in the water), you'll want to give your Garmin watch (and band, depending on the type) a quick rinse post-workout before drying it off completely. 

Continuing to wear a sweaty or wet Garmin watch can often lead to irritation, so drop down to the tips below in order to learn how to rinse and dry properly.

Taking breaks and experimenting with band types

Manufacturers will always warn about giving your skin a break if irritation persists, and doing so doesn't have to mean not wearing your device.

Simply switching wrists every week or so (and remembering to update your wrist preference in 'User Profile' in Garmin Connect) is a good way to avoid irritation.

With that said, we would still advise trying to get to the root cause of any issue, as well.

In our experience, certain band types (such as silicone) will always cause irritation even with some cleaning, so be sure to mix up different band types and see if it eases any skin irritation.

How to clean your Garmin watch band

Wareablechanging bands and cleaning garmin

The watch band is often the main culprit when it comes to skin irritation or odor; often because of a lack of breathability and sweat buildup from workouts. Below is how to clean each band type.

Silicone and elastomer bands

With this band type often coming as standard with Garmin watches, it's most likely that this is the band type you're having issues with. 

Garmin recommends rinsing with cold water and allowing the band to dry before putting it back on your wrist.

And if you have residue built up, use rubbing alcohol and a cloth to wipe this away before rinsing.

In our experience, keeping these bands dry and free from sweat buildup is the only way to avoid irritation if you're wearing them 24/7.

Nylon and fabric bands

Garmin recommends washing a nylon band in cold water, using a mild soap if there are stubborn stains. 

Again, leaving this band type to dry completely before wearing is a must.

Leather bands

Not many Garmin sports watches have the option of a leather band - and even Garmin itself doesn't recommend using them for intense activity - but you may still want to clean it from time to time. 

Dunking a leather band in water obviously isn't recommended, with a damp cloth at most being used to wipe down and grime that's built up. Just be aware that the leather may become discolored from cleaning, too.

Metal bands

Like with leather straps, you have to be a bit more careful with metal bands.

They're easier to wipe down with a damp cloth, though be careful not to scratch the bracelet - using a lint-free cloth should mean it's able to be polished without damage.

Cleaning your Garmin watch case

Wareableclean a garmin watch with cloth

The actual Garmin watch case is a little different to any band material, so keeping this clean also requires something a little different.


  • Use water to rinse the watch case
  • Use a lint-free cloth to wipe it down
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean hard debris away from the charging port
  • Clean off chemicals from the likes of moisturizers, sunscreen and soaps


  • Use a toothbrush to clean other holes on the watch, such as speakers or microphones
  • Use anything sharp to clean any points of the watch case
  • Submerge in cleaning agents
  • Get disinfectant in any openings on the watch case

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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