How on earth do you clean a Dirty Fitbit Flex?

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Knowing my girlfriend wanted to start monitoring her fitness activity with a wearable, I decided to buy her a pink Fitbit Flex as a Christmas present. It’s one of the few trackers which has app support on a Windows Phone (she owns a Lumia 1020) and I just knew she’d love the bright coloured design. After unwrapping, she rushed to her laptop to get it all setup and within minutes she was wearing it excitedly on her wrist.

By the next day, we were both shocked to see that the pink strap had started to go black on the edges. We think her black coat has rubbed against the Fitbit Flex and the dye has discoloured the band.

Just how dirty is it?

Inside the box you get two band sizes, small and large. As she only wears the small band, I’ve photoed the used Flex against the the pristine, practically untouched, larger size, so you get a picture of just how grubby its become in 10 days.

Colour differences in dirty fitbit

clean vs dirty fitbit flex

What do Fitbit recommend?

To clean a Flex, Fitbit recommend some tough scrubbing with soap and water. A soft bristled toothbrush can also do the trick for stubborn stains. Though its worked for some users this hasn’t worked for us.

What else have we tried

The stain we’ve got on this Fitbit Flex is one tough mother to take out. We’ve tried a few recommendations from around the web which have worked for others but I think a dye stain is near impossible to remove. Here’s some ideas you could try if soap and water do nothing for you.

  • Toothpaste
  • Nail varnish remover (Both with/without acetone)
  • Cif (Good enough to clean kitchens with!)
  • White spirit
  • Anti-bacterial handgel
  • Stationery rubber
  • Eraser pens

Don’t get me wrong

The Fitbit is an amazing piece of tech. Zoey has really enjoyed using the device to track her activity and sleep. It’s just a shame when a fashionable product becomes dirty so quickly. It becomes slightly off-putting to wear in situations where you want to dress smart.

Will the Fitbit Surge and Charge get as dirty?

It’s difficult to know whether Fitbit’s 2015 releases will stain as easily as the Flex. They’re manufactured with flexible elastomer material in their strap just like the Flex so its possible. One thing to note is that the colour variants of the newer releases aren’t vibrant and bright like the Flex range, meaning dirt won’t be as visible. The only exception is maybe the tangerine coloured Fitbit surge.

Look on the bright side

It’s the vibrant coloured straps which are reported to be the worst offenders. As a short term fix, we’ve decided to buy a darker coloured strap which should make any stain less visible to see. We found them on Amazon pretty cheap starting at $2

Have you had any success cleaning a brightly coloured Fitbit wearable? Please share your tips in the comments below so we can help others keep their wearables looking great.

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31 Comments

  1. Hi Rob, sadly even the darker ones get dirty.

    I own numerous bands – teal, slate, navy, tangerine and they all show the dirt despite trying to clean them by all methods.

    I actually found your site googling “how to clean the fitbit strap”:)

    • Hey Marcia,

      Oh no, that’s bad news about the other colours. Any tips which have worked best for you?

      Ha, good to hear its on Google. If we can find an effective way to clean a Flex, I’ll update the post to answer that question 🙂

    • That’s s great idea! Are you referring to the Mr. Clean erasers? I have the black coat dye problem as well but will give this a try.

  2. I am currently soaking mine in Comet cleaner… I’ll let you know how it goes.
    I, too, found your post when using Google to search cleaning suggestions.

  3. I recently used rubbing alcohol and it works pretty good. It was actually recommend on the Fitbit site. Although it doesn’t remove the dye stains completely I was surprised at how well it worked. I’m thinking it might work great when the stain is fresh. Mine wasn’t.
    It’s really a shame because after trying every band out there. Theirs does fit the wrist and feels great better than all the rest.
    🙂

    • Hey Letty,

      I agree the Fitbit bands are a great fit on the wrist. Alcohol is a good shout, though we’ve found with the darker bands like the black it’s pretty hard to spot any dye stains on them.

      Thanks for commenting
      Rob 🙂

  4. My daughter has a Charge HR with a teal band and is having exactly the same problem… we’ve tried screen wipe cloths to no effect, so will probably try rubbing alcohol next….

    And the “bonus” of the Charge HR is that you are unable to change straps, so you’re stuck with what you’ve got!

  5. I have a tangerine band for Charge HR. I bought that color as it looks vibrant and matches well with my navy blue nurses uniform. . The band is filthy after a few months!! Advice to all: do not buy the tangerine band for Charge HR!

    • I replaced my teal Charge HR with the tangerine and it’s soooo much dirtier than the teal one was. Hence why I’m here trying to figure out how to get it clean!!

  6. Greetings all. I tried some if not most of the suggested ways to clean the silicone/rubber Fitbit bands and one that worked pretty much was for me is an emory board. Yes, the type for fingernails. I rubbed the rough side real lightly and then followed it with the smooth side with a little more pressure. Surprisingly, it did NOT reduce the size of the band. Although, I would not be too aggressive when trying this method it just might scrape away the material. Hope this helps!

    Resiecupx

  7. Baby wipes work well for me – hope they don’t do any long term damage. I have 4 Fitbit straps but am thinking of getting some unbranded patterned ones from ebay

    • The unbranded patterned ones do not fit as well, the hard but that the tracker goes into is longer and rather uncomfortable. I bought a couple and it only took me an hour of wearing to go back to the genuine Fitbit band.

  8. I have the pink one and it was dirty (not stained) so I checked the website on cleaning it. The easiest way seemed to be baby wipes. It worked great. Thanks for the tip.

  9. I work in a warehouse for a transporation company and was really disappointed at how dirty my flex got after just one day. For a product you are supposed to wear 24/7, it is not well thought-out. I now have a “work” band, a “home” band and a few special occasion ones. The unbranded ones are cheaper but I found they tend to come apart easily. I usually just stick to black bands for daily use. Though one of my colleagues recommended vim to clean it. I think I’m going to run some experiments on my broken bands and see what happened. I also make bracelets (kumihimo and macrame) so I was thinking of trying to make something with parachute cord or something for my flex.

  10. I have the tangerine HR. I loved it when I first got it but my jeans stained it almost black. I tried toothpaste, baking soda, peroxide, tide detergent. And even all mixed together out of desperation. I made a paste with baking soda, a bit of peroxide and let it sit. It cleaned it a bit but still stained. I haven’t worn it in over a month since it’s such an eyesore. I feel like it looks unprofessional 😕

  11. Patricia Kirby on

    I’ve had a dark purple charge HR since December and it still looks pretty good. I mainly have to clean the inside part that touches my skin.

  12. I’m really disappointed with my pink one. It looks really grubby. I have tried the recommended ways to clean it and they don’t work. I wouldn’t buy a light coloured one.

  13. I find a rubber eraser works to get general grime off, doesn’t help to much with stains though. I use blue tack to get all the junk out of the holes.

  14. Just an FYI since this seems to be a common problem, I called customer service and they sent me a replacement Charge HR, free of charge. I questioned them on whether I should change colors (I have the pink and love the color) and what I was told is that they were made aware of this issue early on and have been working to improve the band’s resistance to discoloration. She said the new one is from a recently released batch that is using the improved bands. If it happens again, she said I can call them and then will send me any color I want.

    They all come automatically with a one-year warranty so anyone that has this issue that has had theirs less than a year should call customer service. Fitbit seemed very willing to stand behind their product and rectify my issue.

    Hope this is helpful! I am awaiting my new FitBit but am hopeful it will be better this time.

  15. Bought a Blaze limited edition in the pink skinny strap and was so sad to notice discoloration the very first time I wore it– no denim clothes, just cotton black scrubs that have been washed a million times in hot water already. Tried all the cleaning they recommended but nothing worked. I finally called the customer service line and got a human right away who was quick to offer to replace the band. I mentioned my concern that this would just happen again and so he offered to send me the black replacement strap instead. I thought that was great customer service but I was also bummed that they just don’t make a stain resistant strap as I really loved the look of the pink strap. Side note, I haven’t had any staining problems with my Apple Watch light lavender strap even when wearing with dark fabrics and denim. Disappointing to have to default to a black strap but also glad they didn’t hesitate to rectify the problem.

    • My girlfriend’s the same with her Fitbit Alta, as the Teal colour just starts to look grubby after a while. She then went for the darker plum colour which does a better job at hiding the dirt. Definitely feels like Fitbit struggle with this problem more than Apple and Garmin but at least they’re helping customers by giving out cleaner straps.

  16. Hi all. Also found this thread searching for cleaning options.

    Nail varnish remover and cotton wool has worked for me. I have thever lilac charge 2 and it’s gotten horribly discoloured in the last month due to wearing a black coat over it. Nail varnish remover and some firm rubbing has cleaned it right up 🙂

  17. I know this is an old article, but for anyone still looking for how to clean fitbit bands here is what worked for me. Fitbit recommends a soap free cleanser like Cetaphil in their website for cleaning. I have the removable real band for the Charge 2 and 2 aftermarket bands. I slathered Cetaphil all over my Fitbit band and my pink aftermarket band. The real band was filthy and grungy looking. I let them soak in the slathered Cetaphil only for about 30 minutes. After soaking I scrubbed with an old toothbrush. It didn’t come completely clean so I scrubbed it with the tongue scrubber side of the toothbrush and presto or was clean even the grooves that the brush side couldn’t get.

    • Thanks for sharing Crystal, there’s still plenty of people landing on this page looking for tips on how to clean their Fitbit, so I’m sure your advice will be welcome news to those trying to remove the dirty look.

      Thanks
      Rob

  18. I bought my Garmin in 2017 and i purchased additional coloured bands, they all become stained and dirty within days of use, garmin know its an issue and choose to do nothing about it.

  19. I just bought the Alta HR in light pink with rose gold. Set it up and wore it to work for probably 4 hours and noticed it looked like blue ink on the edges. By day end it looked terrible ( I was not wearing jeans, just a light grey cardigan ). I tried everything I could think of. Finally after searching the web I read about acetone. Removed the bands and soaked them in acetone nail polish remover for a minute at a time, scrubbing with an extra soft toothbrush each time. After repeating about 5 or 6 times success! Rinsed well with water and dried with a soft towel. Hopefully day 2 will be better.

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