How to Clean your Watch

It’s easy to overlook watch maintenance, but regular cleaning is as necessary as doing your laundry or washing your car. Not only does this attentive care eliminate that grubby buildup of grease, dust and dirt, but it also extends the life of your timekeeping companion.

Are you treating your watch well? Here’s what you need to know about proper watch cleaning:

The nightly routine

When it’s time to call it a day and crawl into the comfort of your bed, don’t forget that your watch needs to wash its face and brush its teeth, too. For your timepiece, this daily clean involves wiping down the front and back of the watch and strap with a soft polishing cloth. This will remove the daily build-up of sweat, moisture, dirt, lotion and other debris, keeping your watch looking sharp in between cleanings.

The deep clean

If you wear your watch every day, you’ll want to give it a deep clean once a month or so. Those timepieces reserved for special occasions may only need a cleaning every few months or whenever you’re ready to wear it.

You’ll need to follow different steps for each part of your watch, so remove the strap from the face if possible to make the process much easier.

How to clean the watch face

The following steps are only safe for watches that are water-resistant. If your watch isn’t water-resistant, a simple wipe down with a dry cloth will suffice. Additionally, you may want to take specialty or vintage watches into a jewelry store for proper cleaning.

For a water-resistant watch, start by wiping down the watch face to remove an initial layer of debris. Next, create a warm soapy bath for your watch. A drop or two of mild dish soap will do the trick, as it has the power to cut through the grease build-up on the surface of the crystal. Use a cotton swab to get into the crevices and a soft brush to gently scrub away dust or dirt, and then rinse with clean, warm water. Pat the watch face dry with a soft cloth, or use a hair dryer on a low-heat setting.

How to clean the watch band

Watch strap cleaning depends on the material of the band. Leather watch straps require the most careful care, as you’ll want to avoid water damage while rinsing the band. Plus, following up with leather conditioner is an important step for long-lasting wear. Follow these detailed steps to clean your leather strap properly.

Clean rubber, stainless-steel, metal and bracelets bands with the same method as the watch face. Mild detergent or dish soap will cut away the grease from oil and debris, and the soft brush will allow you to get into the crevices of the band. You can finish off with a glass cleaner for an added sparkle.

You can treat your nylon and fabric bands like clothing, throwing them in your next load of laundry. Be sure to keep the strap separate by putting it in a mesh bag. Alternatively, you can hand wash the strap with warm, soapy water, and then rinse and leave it to air dry.

The continued tender love and care

Regular cleaning will certainly keep your watch in tip-top shape, but your efforts will go to waste if you don’t store it properly. Avoid damp or dusty drawers and cabinets, and try to keep your watches away from extreme temperatures or humidity levels. Your timepiece will be happiest in a watch box, velvet-lined container or cloth bag.

Remember that if you ever feel uncomfortable with watch cleaning, take your timepiece to a professional jeweler. Some even perform watch cleanings for free!

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