My first Garmin Premium HR strap started to exhibit erratic readings a little less than a year after I started using it. I had followed a basic protocol of rinsing and drying it regularly, but that's not enough for these fabric based straps. Based on some articles and information from Garmin, I developed this simple procedure for regular cleaning. This procedure doesn't use much water and doesn't require waiting to wash the strap with a load of laundry. By using this method, I've been able to reliably use my Garmin Premium HR strap for almost a year and half with no erratic readings.
The main cause of the erratic readings seems to be, as far as I can tell, the buildup of "salts" or other material between the contact snaps of the straps sensor attachment point. If this area has an excess of "salts" or other material that would make it conductive, it effectively "shorts out" the readings that the sensor is trying to get from the straps conductive pads.
Step 1: Here's all you'll need
Here's all you'll need to do a quick regular cleaning of your Garmin Premium HR strap.
- A small re-sealable plastic container (any type will do) or if you're on a bike trip, to save space, a zip lock bag
- Mild liquid soap or Dish washing liquid
- Warm water (Garmin recommends 40ºC/104ºF Max.)
- Garmin Premium HR strap
Step 2: Apply the liquid soap
Place a drop or two of the liquid soap in the bottom of the re-sealable container.
Step 3: Add strap and water
Place the HR strap (WITHOUT the sensor attached) into the container and add enough water to just cover the strap.
Step 4: Shake then rinse
Place the lid on the container to seal it and then gently shake the container for about a minute.
Then allow the strap to soak for ~5 minutes in the warm soapy water.
After the 5 minutes are up, remove the strap from the container and rinse it under cold water to remove the liquid soap.
Step 5: Towel off and hang to dry
Next lay the rinsed wet strap on a towel and roll the strap (from the end without the sensor pads) up in the towel, but ONLY up to the sensor pads. Just pat that section with the conductive pads dry.
Then, once the strap isn't dripping wet anymore, it can be hung up to dry and it will be ready for the next workout session.