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How to clean a watch
Tutorial

Watch Collecting 101: How to Clean a Watch at Home

Bathing time! This is how to clean a watch at home and keep it running like new.
Jul 21, 2021

How to clean a watch at home? This has been a frequently asked question in a watch lover community, especially those who just began to collect watches. This is actually a very easy task and can be done by utilizing simple kits.

Before we jump to the main topic, How to Clean Your Watch from Home, let me explain a little bit why it is essential for a timepiece to be cleaned regularly. Watches are beautiful, complex little things. There are many details hiding under the watch face that keep the watch working. Those components inside should be free from dust or dirt.

Dust or dirt may not damage your timepiece, but it is enough to make you annoyed because you have to get it serviced over and over again since it will affect the function and look of your ticker. But, do not worry! I will give you a series of steps on how to clean a watch by yourself in order to prevent you from going to the watch repairer. Check it out!

How to Clean a Watch at Home

If a watch could talk, you would probably hear it wishes to be washed every night just like what you do to your face. When it comes to maintenance, keeping the wristwatches fresh is the key. Besides, you do not want your watch to lose its shine, do you? Well, here is how to clean a watch at home. Please note that the following instructions are only applicable to watches with gold, metal, and stainless steel case and strap.

1. Prepare the kit

First thing first on how to clean a watch at home is to prepare the kit. The kit includes:

- A soft toothbrush or a specific brush for watches 

- 2 Pieces of clean microfiber cloth

- A pack of antibacterial wipes

- A bowl of warm water

- A bowl of warm soapy water

2. Remove and bathe the strap

Now you have all the aids needed, and it is time to remove the strap from the watch case. Separating those parts would make both easier to clean. For the strap itself, you can take it in a warm soapy bath for about 10-15 seconds.

3. Brush gently the strap

After a warm bath, take the strap out and brush it gently using a soft toothbrush. Pay attention to the clasp, especially if it is the folded one. This model usually catches dirt more than you know. This step is much like brushing your teeth to remove the plaque. Gross!

4. Rinse the strap

Next, bring a bowl of warm water and dip the strap for 10-15 seconds to rinse. Make sure no sticky dirt is left.

5. Dry the strap with a clean microfiber cloth

Last step on the strap care, you need to pat it dry with a clean microfiber cloth. You can also utilize a hairdryer to remove all moisture from the strap.

6. Wipe the case

Once the strap is clean and dry, you can focus on cleaning the case. It is very simple and only needs a few minutes to do it. Take one of the antibacterial wipe and wipe thoroughly from one side to another ⎯surface of the case, crystal, bezel, dial side, caseback, and lugs⎯ to refresh the shine.

7. Dry the case with a clean microfiber cloth

Use the other clean microfiber cloth to dry and finish the cleaning of the case. Pat it gently. It is to ensure the dirt and wetness, from the wipe,  are wiped off.

8. Reattach the strap to the case

The case and strap are entirely dry, meaning you are allowed to reattach them. Finally, you have one very clean watch to wear! It is fresh like new. 

Those are the 8 steps on how to clean a watch at home. I am sure you already have the kit. So, don’t wait until your watches are dirty, smell, and not working, wash them now. 

If you have no time to do all of those yet, you can just do a quick cleaning everytime you get home by wiping the whole parts of the watch with antibacterial wipes and drying it using paper towels.

However, if you are in doubt, whether because your timepieces need special care from an expert or something else, do not hesitate to send your collections to the pros. 

When Should I Clean My Watch?

After knowing how to clean watches, you may wonder when is the best time to clean them. The answer is it depends on how often you wear your watch. Some do the deep cleaning version ⎯8 steps above⎯ weekly, and others do it monthly, or even longer. In this post, I will also share with you some signs that your wristwatch needs cleaning.

There is foreign object inside the crystal

It is a well-known fact that parts inside the watch must remain free of dust, dirt, and moisture in order to perform optimally. Therefore, it you notice foreign object within the crystal on your watch like droplet or fog, it is a signal to clean your watch. Once again, if you are not sure, just bring it to skilled technician to have your timepiece cleaned professionally.

It has lost its shine

We are getting older each year. What I meant by we is you, me, and the watches. It is once sparkling, but it will fade away over the years or months. But don’t worry because your watch can get back its shine through several cleaning procedures.

Has your watch shown one of the signs?

What to Consider Before Cleaning a Watch?

I have mentioned that the cleaning procedures above only work for metal, gold, and stainless steel watches. This is because other materials require extra care. Leather for example. Instead of getting clean, the process of bathing and drying just makes leather crack. To take care of it, you can wipe the leather strap with dry cloth and then apply a leather oil or conditioner.

If your timepiece lacks water resistance, let's say a vintage dress watch, then you have to be very careful when cleaning it since a small amount of soap or water can devastate the watch once it enters the components inside. That is why you must double check that the crown is pushed or screwed completely into place.

That’s all that I can share about how to clean a watch at home. Don’t forget to always wash your hands and your watch regularly to keep it hygienic. 

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