How to Clean Your Apple Watch Milanese Loop Watch Band

how to clean milanese loop
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As you know if you’re a regular read of TIP, we surprised ourselves by really falling in love with the Apple Watch, to which we had added the Milanese Loop watch band. We love the band, but the Milanese Loop gets dirty looking – or discolored – pretty quickly. Here’s what’s up with that, and how to clean it.

We chose the Apple Watch Sport model because we prefer the brushed aluminum case to the stainless steel case of the non-sport model (and happily, it turns out that the brushed aluminum case is substantially less costly than the stainless steel model).

Apple Sport Watch with Stock Band
apple watch sport


Apple Stainless Steel Watch with Stock Band
apple watch stainless steel


You can perhaps see why we weren’t enthralled with the band which, although available in a variety of colours (white, neon green, red, blue – to get the black you actually have to get the dark grey watch casing), still looks pretty much like a rubber ring (although Apple says it’s a “high-performance fluoroelastomer”).

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But the Milanese Loop watch band – ah, the Milanese Loop…

apple watch milanese loop


Now that’s a nice watch band!

So, as you will notice in our Apple Watch tutorials, we got the Milanese Loop.

And it wasn’t long before we noticed that it was looking a bit dirty, or discoloured.

Dirt or Discoloration on Milanese Loop
how to clean milanese loop


It didn’t really bother us enough to try to clean it, because it’s on the inner surfaces (under the tail) where nobody can see it, and we’re lazy that way. But, then we realized that others may be more bothered by having that sort of thing on their shiny new Milanese Loop, so we set out to help those of you who care more about it than do we.

And so, after a great deal of research, here is what we have learned:

  • Many people are having the same thing happen to their Milanese Loop
  • It’s a discoloration (not dirt) and you can’t undo it, BUT
  • There is a reason that it happens under the tail, facing inwards, not on the outside surface; and
  • Because it’s on an inner surface, just don’t worry about it – because nobody will see it anyways.

The most thorough explanation we have found for the phenomenon was posted by a jewelry maker who worked in the watch industry, over on MacRumors. In his post he explains:

I was alerted to the issue by someone who received their watch before I received mine. Within two weeks, the discoloration on their Milanese loop appeared. Therefore, when I received my watch, I checked it out thoroughly, looking for discoloration from day one. It arrived in perfect condition.

I continued to check it daily and within a couple more weeks, the discoloration became noticeable. I removed the band from the watch and scrubbed it thoroughly with 409 (which cleans jewelry better than just about anything) and a soft bristle brush. I rinsed it in very warm water and allowed it to dry.

Cleaning it did not affect the discoloration in any way. It was still there just as it had been before.

An extremely close examination indicates that the discoloration is occurring from the band rubbing against itself and “roughing up” the original satin finish of the Milanese Loop. It’s possible that the finish could be restored by using a soft metal brush and giving it a light brushing. However, I won’t do this with mine because any light brushing like that will remove a small amount of metal which will in turn decrease the life of the band. Also? the discoloration doesn’t show when the band is worn, so it’s no big deal to me.

Did you catch where he also says that the best way to clean jewelry is with 409 and a soft brush? So that’s how to clean your Milanese Loop watch band. :-)

By the way, he concludes by saying “It’s a beautiful watch and band,” and we agree.

(Note that we have reached out to this person, in an effort to give them direct credit, but so far have not heard from them.)


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3 thoughts on “How to Clean Your Apple Watch Milanese Loop Watch Band

  1. After reading this as well as reading other suggestions, I decided to clean my discolored Milanese band. I took a little Dawn dishwashing liquid, rubbed it through the band, let it sit a few minutes then rinsed under warm water. Be very careful not to get the timepiece wet! Then dried the band with a soft towel. All discoloration is gone and my band looks brand new!

  2. Thank you! Very helpful and informative. Guess I’ll eventually have to replace this watch band. I jusT ordered the gold Milanese Loop. Will let you know if the same type of discoloration occurs.

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