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How to Clean a Stainless Steel Watch

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Watch? A Complete Guide

Jan 03, 2024

The obvious answer is yes. At home, you can clean your stainless steel watch with proper care. Stainless steel is a metal alloy that doesn’t easily rust. It’s durable and strong. Yet, it’s not completely omnipotent against dust, dirt, and saltwater which may lead to corrosion and wear.

There are signs when you have to clean your stainless steel watch; it’s dirty or it loses performance and radiance. The good thing about stainless steel watches is, it’s simple to clean and maintain. Keep on reading should you want to know how to clean a stainless steel watch.

How to clean a stainless steel watch at home?

Before jumping into the cleaning your watch, you have to pay attention to the watch details. In short, know your watch. Ask yourself these questions: How dirty is the watch? Does my watch have resistance against water? What is the condition of the watch’s case, crystal, crown, bezel, bracelet links, and others?

If you have no desire to investigate these tiny little details about how to clean a stainless steel watch, it’s better to go to a professional. In this article, the tools and steps to clean a stainless steel watch are the most basic ones. In other words, it won’t really wipe off the thick grime without leaving behind a few scratches. Rather than cleaning, you might damage the watch instead. So, my friends, please be careful with your watch.

Allow me to elaborate. For instance, your stainless steel watch has a higher resistance to water (above 5 ATM), you can use a bit of soapy water to thoroughly clean the watch surface. However, the condition of the crown and crystal must be tightly screwed to the case. A mechanical watch has many inner components. And, even if it’s small in amount, a slight carelessness might send in the soapy water which leads to condensation.

Also, it’s important to separate the watch and the strap or bracelet, in particular, materials that don’t have great resistance against water. For a stainless steel bracelet, soapy water is necessary if the watch bracelet has sticky dirt between the links or inside the lug holes. This warning is not to scare you but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

You need these tools:

  • A very soft bristle brush, or a toothpick
  • Microfiber cloths, or sanitary wipes
  • A watch’s tool kit
  • Mild soap, just in case
  • A bowl of lukewarm water, just in case

If you just want to do a light cleaning, then you don’t need a bowl or mild soap.

The steps:

  1. Lay out a microfiber cloth under your watch, so that it won’t touch a hard ground or surface. After this, remove the bracelet or strap from the watch lug.
  2. Take another microfiber cloth or sanitary wipe to gently yet thoroughly cleanse away the watch case. If your watch has 5 ATM or above water resistance, you can wet a little part of the microfiber cloth into the mild soapy and lukewarm water.
  3. If the lugs’ holes have piled up dirt, you can use a soft brush (preferably a child-size toothbrush) or a toothpick (covered with sanitary wipe) to pick out the dirt, again, gently.
  4. Then, wipe out the remaining residue (if any) and dry the watch using the microfiber cloth under your watch.

How to clean a stainless steel watch band?

It leaves a bad taste… to just leave the bracelet, right? After the watch is clean, it’s best paired with a clean bracelet, too. The concern is similar to the watch case details. After the first previous step, when you remove the bracelet, you can prepare the following tools:

  • A very soft bristle brush
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Mild soap
  • A bowl of lukewarm water

After this,

  1. Mix the lukewarm water with mild soap. Stir it a few times to make sure that they’re in a complete blend.
  2. Dip the bracelet to the soapy water for a few minutes to remove the grime, grease, and stains.
  3. Take the bracelet out after all the dirt softens, and brush it gently.
  4. Lay out a dry microfiber cloth and put the watch on top of it. You can finish the cleaning by drying and wiping the bracelet carefully.

Those are the steps on how to clean a stainless steel watch on your own. It’s good for you to clean the watch regularly, rather than waiting for your stainless steel watch to accumulate dirt or rust. Moreover, if it’s a watch for daily wear, then you might want to do a light cleaning once in a day or two. Though it is a beneficial thing to do, still, you have to be careful not to leave unwanted moisture or residue left on the watch.

Read more: How to Clean A Gold Watch At Home: A Solid and Gold Plated One

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Lug width

Water resistance


Lug Width
Water resistance