How to Clean Vintage Cloth Canvas on a Watch Band


If you have a stained or dirty vintage cloth canvas watch band, spot cleaning is the best way to go. Not all canvas is created equal---your watch band may be woven from absorbent cotton or water-resistant nylon, and it might even be backed with leather. Start by treating one small spot; let that spot dry and watch for any discoloration. If all goes well, treat the rest of the affected spot in the same way.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic bucket
  • Distilled water
  • Clear dish soap
  • Color-safe bleach
  • Clean sponge
  • Guard your watch face against accidental water damage. Wrap a plastic sandwich bag around the face and tape it down with masking tape.

  • Pour the following ingredients in a plastic bucket: 1 qt. distilled room-temperature water and 1 tbsp. clear dish soap. If your watch strap is light colored, add 1 tbsp. of color-safe bleach.

  • Swirl the mixture around to mix the ingredients.

  • Dip a clean sponge into the mixture and dab it onto your watch band. Press down onto the fabric and lift the sponge straight up. Don't rub or grind the sponge against the fabric---this can actually drive a stain further down into the weave, as well as cause your canvas to pill.

  • Use the press-and-lift technique to cover the whole watch band with your cleaning solution.

  • Rinse out your sponge thoroughly in the sink.

  • Use the press-and-lift technique with a damp sponge to rinse the cleaning agent from the canvas.

  • Let the canvas air dry.

  • Repeat the procedure over any stains that remain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only use clear or white dish soap, with no artificially colored dyes. Using colored soap might stain the canvas.
  • Use color-safe bleach on light-colored canvas. Non-color-safe bleach can leave yellow stains on the fabric.
  • Do not use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process---the heat will only set a stain.

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  • Photo Credit sport watches on black bakground image by Andrejs Nikiforovs from
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