How to Clean your Watch: An Extensive Guide


How to Clean your Watch: An Extensive Guide

Just like many other things you wear, your watch needs cleaning every now and then to keep its luster and to preserve and protect its condition. Just like you clean your car, you want to clean your watch on a regular basis. However, this is something that many people ignore, forget, or neglect.

While some people take care of their wristwatch carefully, clean it regularly,  look after it, and are pedantic with their watch, most people don’t. Not only does neglect to clean your watch make it a bacteria farm that accumulates lots of dirt, thus harming its glow and appearance, but it also makes the watch wear faster, and dramatically increases the risk of corrosion. 

If you want to preserve your watch’s luster and keep it in good condition for many years and generations to come, it is necessary that you regularly clean your watch and look after it. But how do you clean your watch? And what should you do to keep it clean?

In this article, you’ll learn how to clean your watch.

How to clean your watch

When you wear your watch, it tends to accumulate lots of dirt and grime over time. It is most common to wear a watch on a metal bracelet, and it is also this that tends to become the dirtiest over time. If you wear your watch on a leather strap, the advice for cleaning your watch is a bit different. Since you cannot clean leather the same way as steel, normally, most people simply wear the leather strap until it is worn out and then replace it with a new one.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Black Dial 4500V Unworn 2022

When you wear your watch, the biggest enemy of dirt, acids, and other unwanted things is – believe it or not – your wrist. First off, you have sweat from your wrist. As you know, sweat includes salt, which over time causes corrosion on a watch. Then, you have oils and dead skin cells which ultimately will collect on your watch and bracelet, which ultimately will make dirt from other places collect on your watch, for example, dust.

The good news is that cleaning your watch doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated. After all, it’s better to simply rinse your watch and clean it poorly than not to clean it at all. The exception, however, could be if it starts leaking.

Now, apart from simply cleaning your watch, there are other things you want to do with it to look after it best you can. Let’s look at what you need to do to look after your watch and how to do it.

Dirty Rolex

1. Cleaning your watch

This is the most basic step to looking after your watch.

But how should you clean your watch? Should you simply scrub it with a brush? Should you let it sit in the water?

The fact is that there are many different ways in which you can wash your watch on.

1: Well, first thing first, you need to make sure that your watch is water-resistant. If it’s not, you should keep your watch away from water at all costs since getting a non-water-resistant watch in contact with water can severely damage it, and in the worst case, leak into the movement and cause rust and corrosion which will be an expensive repair.

Therefore, the first step is always to make sure that your watch can actually handle water.

When you’ve ensured that your watch is water-resistant, the next step is to screw down the crown if your watch has a screw-down crown. If you forget to screw down the crown, water can leak into the case and cause the things just mentioned. 

2: The next step is to fill up a bowl or container with warm water. Next, add a bit of soap. How much will depend on how much water you use, but add a few pea-sized drops of soap. Make sure that you use a mild soap, because if you use a strong one with lots of chemicals, you may risk damaging parts on your watch, causing unnecessary wear.

3: Take out a soft towel/paper and place your watch carefully.

Then, take a soft toothbrush and dip it into the soapy water. Now, start scrubbing the bracelet and the watch carefully. As mentioned, the bracelet is the place where the most dirt collects, so make sure you focus on cleaning the hard-to-access areas.

4: If you haven’t cleaned your watch for a long time, you’ll see that the foam will turn blackish as you’re scrubbing. If you use white paper as the underlay, you’ll also see that the dirt from the watch will end up on the paper/towel. When you’ve scrubbed the whole watch, it’s time to rinse your watch under warm water to make sure that all the soap residue and dirt are washed away.

5: Lastly, it is time to dry your watch. The best is to use a microfibre cloth to both dry the watch but also to wipe off any dirt or residues on the watch. This will also prevent you from scratching it when wiping it.

This is one of the ways in which you can clean your watch, and it is also the most common, but there are also other ways to clean it.

With an Ultrasonic washer

Another way to wash your watch and clean it from dirt is to use an ultrasonic washer.

Now, have in mind that if you are to use one, you should never place your whole watch in the bin with water when activating the cleaner. An ultrasonic cleaner should only be used to clean your bracelet. Therefore, you need to remove the bracelet from the watch and then wash the watch itself using the method above.

Photo source

An ultrasonic cleaner is great as it uses ultrasound (normally from 20–400 kHz) to agitate a fluid. The ultrasound can be used with just water, but the use of a solvent appropriate for the item to be cleaned and the type of soiling present enhances the effect. In that sense, using an ultrasonic cleaner for your bracelet will allow you to clean places you’d have a hard time cleaning with the help of a toothbrush, thus resulting in a cleaner bracelet.

Regular cleaning

The two methods mentioned above are great for cleaning your watch, but you don’t have to do extensive cleaning too often to simply keep your watch clean. These are extensive cleaning methods that will clean your watch from the core, but if you just do regular cleaning of your watch, dirt will gather, thus making it necessary to thoroughly clean your watch.

The best is to do regular weekly cleaning of your watch so that dirt doesn’t have the ability to build. 

As such, make it a habit to rinse your watch weekly for a minute in warm water. After this, carefully wipe your watch with a soft cloth. If you do this weekly, you’ll prevent the dirt to start corroding your watch. Now, this doesn’t happen overnight, however, if you don’t clean your watch for years, it may ultimately make damage, and in the worst case cause rust and corrosion.

When your watch isn’t very dirty, this is enough to keep it relatively clean, but occasionally, you want to do a more thorough cleaning, using any of the methods above.

Bonus tip:

Winding your watch

Cleaning your watch is not the only thing you want to do to look after your timepiece. If you have a mechanical automatic watch and haven’t used it for a few days or longer, it is recommended that you manually wind the watch and not just ”shake” the watch to start it. Doing this is better for the movement and will ultimately result in less wear on the movement.

When you haven’t used it for a while, it is good to wind it a lot and not just a few turns for the health of the movement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *