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How to Clean a Watch

When worn daily watches will lose their shine and lustre. They become dull from everyday wear due to the oils and dirt on our skin, as well as lotions and other products. Watches are made of many different materials and when the bracelets of the watches are removed, they can be very easy to clean. Cleaning your watch on a regular basis, will help keep it free from odour and keep dirt to a minimum.

A lot of watches these days are made to be water resistant, but it would still be a advisable to remove the watch bracelet or straps before any cleaning treatment takes place. Here are a few good tips on how to clean your watch effectively. You may find that your watch band has been made of a special material, or it may just need a deeper cleaning, so it would be best to check with manufacturers to make sure you are using the correct cleaning products to clean your watch.

Items you will need to clean your watch.

  • A small bowl
  • Mild detergent
  • Baby toothbrush or small soft toothbrush
  • White vinegar for leather watches
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft lint cloth
  • Water

The cleaning process

1 – Begin cleaning your watch by removing the band or bracelet. If you find you are unable to remove this then be careful when cleaning, as you do not want to get the watch wet as this can cause permanent damage.

2 – Fill your bowl with warm soapy water making sure you only add a little detergent, and then add a small amount of white vinegar to the water.

3 – Submerge your watch band into the soapy water solution and leave to soak. If your watch band only has a small amount of dirt on it, a few minutes will be enough; if you feel it is very dirty then you can leave it to soak for a few hours to remove any heavy dirt and grime.

4 – Always use a soft bristle brush, or a soft lint cloth to clean away any unwanted dirt. If you are using the brush be careful not to scratch any surfaces.

5 – Once you have cleaned your watch, wipe it with a clean cloth or rinse it by running it under clean water.

6 – Use a lint free cloth to make sure that your watch has been thoroughly dried, as moisture left in the band can leave mildew and bacteria growing.

7 – You can now reattach you strap to you watch, and then gently using a lightly dampened cloth, wipe the back and the front of the watch.

8 – Dry with a very soft cloth, you will now have a bright, clean and shinny watch to wear.


If you find your watch face has become scratched, you can use a double sided jeweler’s cloth. This method can be effective on small scratches, and the cloth is quite easy to use. First use the inner side of the cloth, to remove any scratches on the watch face, then the outer side to polish it. A little bit of elbow grease may be required but it will remove any fine scratches.

This post was written by “How-To” blogger James Johnson, who himself owns a Breitling watch.

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