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How to clean any smartwatch, wearable or fitness band



  A man wearing an activity tracker on his wrist while sleeping in bed.
Syda Productions / Shutterstock

Washing your hands is an important part of personal hygiene, but what about the gadget on your wrist? It goes wherever you go. You probably also use it with dirty hands when you're on the go.

The coronavirus can live on a smartphone for up to 96 hours. Your smartwatch or wearable can also be a vector for illness unless you clean it regularly.

Cleaning and disinfecting your smartwatch

Your smartwatch is a fitness tracker, communication device and can even replace your bank card for contactless payments. Going to the gym, taking calls, and touching payment terminals can contaminate your wearable. If you touch your watch without cleaning it properly, you can transmit germs.

Micro-organisms that cause the flu and COVID-1

9 appear to live on hard metal surfaces for up to three days, so it is important to clean everything regularly to avoid getting sick.

 An Apple Watch that is rinsed under running water.

Apple has recently updated the cleaning guidelines, which recommend that people disinfect their gadgets with isopropyl rubbing alcohol at a concentration of about 70 percent or disinfectant wipes that contain the same. Rubbing alcohol kills most microorganisms on contact and evaporates, leaving a clean and stain-free surface.

While the guidelines for cleaning your Apple Watch are specific to Apple products, most manufacturers use similar materials, including glass, stainless steel, and nylon. This suggests that Apple's guidance can be applied to similar products. Remember that if you break something by not following the manufacturer's cleaning instructions, your warranty will be void.

 A hand wiping an Apple Watch with a cloth.

You must follow the instructions. supplied by your smartwatch manufacturer when cleaning. Water is not enough if you want to clean your watch properly. Apple's guidelines reiterate that alcohol should not damage glass, metal, silicon, or a lot of plastic. It's a decision you have to make yourself.

With that in mind, cleaning your smartwatch is quite easy. First remove the watch strap from the main unit. Assuming the watch is water resistant, rinse the watch in warm water to remove as much dirt and grime as possible before disinfecting it.

Dirt can trap germs and other harmful microbes, so you want to make sure you remove it all, and then disinfect it. You can soak a cotton ball in isopropyl alcohol to remove particularly stubborn dirt.

Then use rubbing alcohol or similar wipes to completely disinfect the watch. Clean the strap according to the manufacturer's instructions – be sure to spot clean leather without saturating it. If possible (and if you prefer), disinfect the strap with isopropyl alcohol.

It is unlikely that metal, silicone and plastic watch bands will be damaged by isopropyl alcohol. Nylon straps are unlikely to be damaged, although Apple recommends not using alcohol on any of its fabric straps. We recommend performing a tester in an inconspicuous area first.

Finally, let the alcohol evaporate before you reassemble your watch. Everything done!

RELATED: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Apple Watch

How to Clean Your Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers are very similar to smartwatches, except they are usually designed to be worn for extended periods of time. Fitbit has specific recommendations for cleaning its fitness trackers. Like Apple, this includes using isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to disinfect devices.

Furthermore, Fitbit recommends avoiding soap-based cleansers and other products that can get caught in the belt and cause skin irritation. Instead, the company recommends soap-free cleaners, plus a good rinse to ensure that dirt is adequately rinsed away.

  A man charging a Fitbit Charge 4.
Fitbit

Fitness and activity trackers are designed for training, so they get sweaty, of course. A quick rinse in the shower is a good start, but it doesn't kill germs or remove more stubborn, stuck dirt where harmful microorganisms can live.

Therefore, you should make sure that you regularly remove and clean your fitness tracker. – especially after exercise.

Cleaning your fitness tracker is like cleaning a smartwatch. You should remove the band from the device first, if possible (Fitbit owners can follow the official company guidelines to do this).

Assuming the tracker is water resistant, rinse it under a tap to remove as much dirt as possible. If you see dirt, remove as much as possible. Remove stubborn spots with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab to loosen it.

If the tracker is visibly clean, thoroughly disinfect it with rubbing alcohol or similar disinfectant wipes. Clean the band according to the manufacturer's instructions (again, Fitbit has official guidelines). If possible, disinfect the strap with isopropyl alcohol or disinfectant wipes.

After the alcohol has completely evaporated, reattach the strap.

Don't Forget Your Other Wearables

Smartwatches and fitness trackers aren't the only wearables you need to be cleaned regularly. Anything you wear outdoors is exposed to potentially harmful germs. This includes jewelry, badges, portable cameras and headphones and earplugs.

You should also regularly clean everything you often touch, such as your smartphone, keyboard, mouse and other gadgets.

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