How to Wash and Clean a NATO Watch Strap

NATO watch atraps are a watch collector’s dream. Affordable, comfortable, easy to swap out, and they come in a wide variety of different colors and patterns.¬†However, they have one simple problem…

After wearing them for a few weeks, they can begin to build up your sweat. Just like you wouldn’t wear the same shirt over and over again, the same rule applies with NATO straps, as they’re often made of a nylon fabric that absorbs and collects sweat over time.

No worries. Luckily these awesome straps can be washed and cleaned just as easily as they can be swapped. 

So, how do you wash A NATO strap?

How To Wash a NATO Watch Strap

Washing a NATO strap is very simple.

The next time you do your laundry, put them in the pocket of one of your pairs of paints.

Oh, your pants don’t have pockets? How do you LIVE?!

As an alternative, putting the NATO strap in a simple sock and tying the sock off will work just as well. Basically, place it within a softer object so the metal buckles and hardware don’t get scratched up.

Add in your traditional laundry detergent, and run your laundry as usual. Aside from throwing the strap in another piece of clothing, there’s really no need to baby these rather rugged and durable watch straps.

The same can be done for most canvas, perlon, and sailcloth straps, though check with your strap manufacturer just to be sure. Washing your leather watch straps, however, should be avoided, as you risk damaging the leather.

Throw your NATO strap in the pocket of your pants the next time you do your laundry. Make sure to remove the strap from the watch!

Avoid the Dryer

When the strap comes out of the washing machine, your first thought is probably to put it in the dryer with the rest of your clothes. 

Avoid putting your strap in the dryer at all costs!!!

Just like clothes, the heat of the dryer might possibly shrink your NATO strap.

I know what you’re thinking… “But my strap is too big! I WANT it to shrink, so I’ll put it in the dryer anyway”.

Well, when you use the dryer, anything you put in it typically does not shrink evenly. This means one side may shrink more or less than the other, creating an uneven and lopsided strap. Nobody wants to wear a discombobulated strap that looks like you took it out of the trash.

Simply leave your NATO strap out to dry for a couple of hours and let it air dry instead. Your strap and your wrist will thank you. 

How Often Should You Wash a NATO Strap?

Just like a shirt, you shouldn’t wear the same NATO strap over and over again.

With that said, a good rule of thumb is every month or so of regular wear you should wash your NATO. 

You can stretch this a bit, depending on how much (or little) you wear it. 

But because washing it is so easy, you can just throw a bunch of natos in a single sock or pocket and wash them all at once, regularly, along with your regularly scheduled laundry.

Also, because NATO straps are generally some of the most affordable watch straps on the market, you can purchase a few of them, in different colors and styles, and rotate them throughout the week, to keep them nice and fresh for longer.

The Final Verdict

NATOs are amazing watch straps that are extremely versatile, comfortable, and I love wearing them.

Wear them too long without a good wash, though, and you’ll stink up the room. We all know that one person…

Easily wash your NATOs by throwing them in a sock or pocket the next time you do your laundry. Be sure not to dry them in the drier, or they might shrink, and your NATOs will be good as new, in no time.

Enjoy your new stink-free NATOs, you stinker.

Last update on 2024-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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