How to Clean a Watch Safely
So you wear a watch. A watch you care enough about to clean - and actually look up how to clean properly.
I bet that watch is more to you than just an accessory that tells time. I bet you don't need these 16 things explained to you either.
But, what you do need explained is how to clean a watch, safely.
Because it's more than just a watch and you want it in tip-top shape so your son, grandson, and his son can love it as much as you do.
Before You Clean Your Watch
Two important considerations before you skip to Step 1:
- Water Resistance - If your watch isn't water-resistant at all, do not pass go and do not collect $200. (AKA - I hope you didn't skip this part and go straight to Step 1.) In the case of no water resistance, simply wipe the watch with a soft, dry cloth.
- Band Material - If your watch band is interchangeable, remove the watch case from the band and wash each part separately. Make sure you choose the right cleaning method for your band type.
Pro Tip: The band on a watch is technically called a bracelet.
How to Clean a Watch
Make sure the crown is screwed down securely. Even the most water-resistant of watches is susceptible to damage if water leaks into the movement - and the crown is the most vulnerable spot for leakage.
Get out some mild dish soap. Add a couple drops to a bowl of warm water.
Wipe down the watch case. For water resistance up to 30m, a damp cloth is the safest bet. Higher resistance than that and you're probably safe to break out the new, soft-bristled toothbrush and clean a bit more thoroughly. 100m+ and you could soak it entirely, but that's likely unnecessary. (If you've built up an impressive layer of grime, take it to your jeweler for a professional cleaning.)
Rinse off any residue. Use the same tool chosen for Step 3 to ensure you're not exposing your watch to more water than it can handle.
Dry with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber won't scratch and will give your watch a nice shine, too.
Cleaning the Watch Band
If your band is metal, you can use the same mild dish soap and warm water you used for the face.
Leather bands cannot be exposed to moisture. Just wipe those down with a soft, dry cloth.
For specialty materials, consult your manufacturer's instructions or your jeweler.
Fine watches are meant to last a lifetime - if not multiple generations' worth. But the key to a watch's longevity is how well it's cared for. Clean yours regularly and take it to your jeweler for a check-up every so often, too.
If your watch could use a little extra protection, we've got watch insurance for that. Read all about a specialized jewelry insurance policy in The Essential Buyer's Guide to Jewelry Insurance. Or skip straight to your quote.