See the bottom for an update on what the stain might have been caused by.

I'm disappointed to find that there's nothing I can do (that I know of) to restore my Apple Watch Sport's white band to its formerly clean state. Somehow, it became slightly purple in one area. I'm not sure how things have added up, but I'll state the facts:

  • My watch arrived only less than a month ago on June 1, 2015.
  • Usually, I wash with water, toilet paper, and a microfiber cloth, and everything comes out just fine.
  • I wanted to wash it today. Here's what I used and what happened:
    • First, rubbing alcohol with a blue microfiber cloth => the back of the longer piece of the band started barely turning purple.
    • Next, water using my thumb under the faucet => the purplish hue came off, but the toilet paper I placed it on began to look very purple.
    • Next, toilet paper => that paper became purple as well while I rubbed the back of the band.
    • I flipped over the band, and the front had a purple stain.
    • I used water => it didn't go away.
    • I rubbed with toilet paper => a gray line appeared across the purple stain.
    • I used water and toilet paper and rubbed quite a bit => the streak left, but the stain remained.
    • I finally tried the blue cloth, my thumb, and even the alcohol => the stain remained.

I'm frankly concerned that this thing will never come off. I did research on Apple's policy on returning bands, etc., and though I need to confirm, it sounds like any discolored or warped bands will not be accepted for replacements.

Note that the texture of the stained part of the band now feels different from that of the rest of the band, almost like it's more rough. Also, the other half of the band, which was very dirty, washed off just fine with only water and a microfiber cloth.

Here are some pictures of the stain (see descriptions for more details):

The stained half of the band, with the purple stain circled in red. The stained half of the band, with the purple stain circled in red.

The original photo of the stain edited for contrast. The purple stain is clearly visible here. The original photo of the stain edited for contrast. The purple stain is clearly visible here. (Note: The only editing done here was lighting and contrast changes that can be done in the Photos app on the iPhone. I did not Photoshop this or alter the stain itself, etc.)

Update: I just realized something that may help get the stain off. I never got the chance to follow bmike's advice; I will likely ultimately follow it, but for the time being, I was hoping that this might help find something that I can do myself to clean it.

Check out this photo: My ink-covered pinky finger beside my likely ink-covered Apple Watch band.

I do a lot of handwriting. Yes, that is my pinky, covered in pen ink, which turns purple when there isn't a thick layer but a thin one over it. Coincidentally, my watch band was stained purple. It adds up to suggest that it's a pen ink stain, which I doubt is more temporary than permanent.

Thus, I suppose my question has changed:

Is it possible to remove pen ink stains (just a typical black ballpoint pen) from a white Apple Watch sport band without damaging it? If so, how? Or is it wiser to just take it in to Apple and see what they can do to help?

  • it's white… try bleach, both chlorine & oxygen. [but I do think it's off-topic for here, however nicely constructed your question is, I'm afraid - though I haven't personally voted to close it]
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 29, 2015 at 20:00
  • @Tetsujin Thanks. Where would it be better asked? Perhaps we can move it. Also, the bleach is a good suggestion. I thought about that a bit earlier as well. Unfortunately, though, it sounds like it's unsafe. I read something on a website while researching this that said that detergents can damage the band. Not sure if bleach falls under that category, but I'd be afraid to risk it. Thanks anyhow.
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 0:44
  • It seems, though it's got one up & one downvote so far, that no-one's voted to close, so it might be safe. tbh, not sure if I'd be keen to try bleach on a brand-new product - if i did, I'd try oxygen first, it's 'kinder' if that word can be used for an oxygenating chemical reaction & more 'organic' [same caveat] in that it works well on, say, fruit stains & leaves no dangerous residue, as it breaks down into water, oxygen & sodium carbonate.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30, 2015 at 6:28
  • @Tetsujin I'll have to research that. I haven't heard of compounds like that before. So essentially, it's a more gentle rendition of a bleach-like cleaner? I do think I'll take the band in first, but if all else fails, I suppose I could turn to this. Thanks!
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:31
  • I'd never call any bleach truly 'gentle' of course, but comparatively. The chemical at the base of any 'oxy' product is Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate Na2CO3·1.5H2O2 if you wanted to do a bit of research ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:37

6 Answers 6


Apple's warranty policy allows them to not cover cosmetic damage to parts however, they may not choose to deny a warranty swap if you present the band for service and are reasonable. (I don't think you'll be angry, just that I've seen people totally ruin things by rude or boorish behavior when they are angry and seek service with aggressive language or worse).

I would print out or be very familiar with Apple's cleaning guide for the product. They may decide to take back some parts for quality control that wouldn't normally be exchanged since the product is so new.

Do be aware that toilet paper is not lint free cloth and many brands may not even be non-abrasive. The only cleaning agent Apple recommends is water so be sure to understand if they charge for a replacement if you don't follow their recommendations. Better to take the dirty band in and ask if it's cleanable than to show up after you expanded the list of techniques.

Even if you did resort to harsh methods, asking for help is still worth its IMO.

  • Thank you. I'll definitely have to look into that. I was unaware that there were cleaning methods specified by Apple (I suppose I was too eager to start using the watch), and I wasn't very familiar with their policies on the subject, so I really appreciate the information. Haha, I wouldn't be angry, but it's a good tip for having a good shot at getting a product replaced or repaired.
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 0:49
  • If I do end up going to the Apple Store or contacting Apple otherwise, I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 1:04
  • @Jenguinie yay about the anger being a non-issue. I've seen it enough that I included it for other people's sake I've gotten my white band so dirty and been amazed it's so pristine. Hopefully Apple will be interested to test how yours got stained and replace it.
    – bmike
    Jun 30, 2015 at 3:32
  • Haha. Can't say I haven't seen or heard of my fair share of it either on Youtube and the like. Yes, let's hope so! I wonder (as others have mentioned) what sort of chemicals or materials could have altered it like this. Glad to hear the same hasn't happened for you. Thankfully, it's not super noticeable, but we'll see.
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:28

I apologize for my somewhat long-winded, poor question.

As it turns out, I've found the answer myself: time. I used the cleaning methods outlined by Apple, only using my fingers, a towel, some water, and a microfiber cloth, and over the weeks the stain has faded.

Lesson learned: don't let WATCH Sport bands touch pen ink, whether from your average ball point pen or an actual dish of ink.

Thanks for all your help.


Use a Magic Eraser. They get stains off of anything.

  • I looked into this, and found Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser 101. Thank you; it could work. At the same time, I'm not sure I want to risk any further damage. The usage list claims that it can be used on the rubber at the base of a shoe, but I fear that that's far tougher and more resistant than the plastic used on the sport band as bmike hints. I would have to ask Mr. Clean via email to confirm.
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 1:02
  • Come to think about it, I may actually try this. I went online and found this regarding a similar question to the one I have here. See anything past or including comment #39. It may remove a bit of material, but I think it could be worth it.
    – jmindel
    Jul 9, 2015 at 8:20

Mine was completely blue on both sides. Tried everything from spray and wipe to baby wipes. Tonight I decided to try eucalyptus oil and the stains came straight off. It's like a new band!


Hydrogen peroxide might be your best bet. It's pretty close to water and it's great for removing stains from silicone. Like bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidant which is great for breaking down color stains.


The band has obviously come into contact with something it is chemically incompatible with. Based on the size and position maybe you leaned against something, or spilled some gas on it when filling the car?

Chemical damage can't be cleaned. Either live with it, or get a new band.

  • I suspect the same. I suppose I'll have to live with it for the time being, but I may take it in as bmike suggested.
    – jmindel
    Jun 30, 2015 at 0:59

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