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Jewellery Insurance

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How to Clean Your Watch at Home

Q Report Team
Updated on March 09, 2023
3 min read

Get your wrists ready. Your watch is about to shine like the top of Big Ben—and the polisher? You.  

Despite living in the age of smartphones, there is still a passion for the traditional time-telling tool--tick tock, the watch. Perhaps you wear it often, unaware of the grime and dirt settling between the sliver of a gap. Or maybe it's been sitting inside your bedside drawer amongst the outdated receipts collecting dust. Loved or neglected, either way, if it's to be maintained, it must be kept clean to keep ticking.



Can I Clean My Watch Myself? 

You sure can, but before you pull on the rubber gloves, it would be handy to consider these few points to get the job right––after all, cleaning it yourself at home is to avoid the time-consuming and costly process of going to the jeweller.

To start, always remove the strap from the watch before beginning the cleaning process. It helps to protect the watch case and dial.

Likewise, you will need to check the water resistance of your watch. If it has little to no water resistance, take extra care to protect it during cleaning. Again, using a soft cloth that is slightly damp rather than submerging your timepiece in water is recommended.


I've Removed the Strap. Now What?

Part of caring for your watch is identifying the material of your watch band or strap––doing so will prevent any potential damage and ensure that you get the best result from cleaning your watch at home.


Leather is a distinctive material that requires particular care when cleaning. It's known to absorb sweat and dirt that comes with regular wearing. Similarly, it can also be sensitive to liquids, and other elements such as direct sunlight and heat, which can cause cracking if not appropriately maintained.

To clean your leather band at home, start by wiping the leather strap with a soft dry cloth; microfibre is a great option. Then, take a new cloth and slightly dampen it with water. Make sure to squeeze out any excess––you don't want the water to drip heavily onto the leather band.

Finally, apply a dab of soap to the cloth. The type of soap required will depend on the leather type of your watch strap. Make sure to spread the soap evenly over the cloth––this will ensure there are no soap blobs that could potentially stain the strap. Then rub with small circular motions. When you have finished, wipe all remaining soapy residue with a clean damp cloth and air dry away from the sun. 


If your watch strap is silicone, you can easily clean it using a mixture of warm water and detergent. Vinegar is also a great alternative to detergent. Using a soft cloth alongside this combination will keep your strap looking fresh.


Like silicone, a metal watch strap can come clean using warm water and detergent. For a better result, use a soft toothbrush instead of a soft cloth. It will give it a better scrub. Make sure you dry it straight away to avoid any unnecessary deterioration to the strap.


If your watch is fabric, it can be easily cleaned by detaching it from the watch face and popping it into a wash bag, the same kind you use for delicate fabrics, and into the washing machine. Before setting your machine, make sure you follow the care instructions set for nylon fabrics.


Time to Get That Watch Face Smiling Again

The face of a watch is the centrepiece, and keeping it clean will ensure that it shines as bright as the day it left the showroom. 


Why Should I Clean My Watch Regularly?

If cleaning your watch has never crossed your mind, this might make you want to start thinking about it––if not weekly, then monthly.

A study by The Hospital Infection Society found that wearing a wristwatch daily increased bacterial contamination of the wrist. With a build-up of Staphylococcus aureus found on the hands of 25% of wristwatch wearers, you increase the chance of bacterial spread by taking your watch on and off.


Tick, Tock

Q Report will insure your luxury watch, ensuring it's with you––whether on your wrist or in your dresser drawer (even if collecting dust), ready to be cleaned at home.

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