How To Clean Watches

BY Shinola Team

If you wear your watch almost every day like us, there’s bound to be a day when you look down and notice that it’s not quite as clean as it once was. There’s no need to panic. Shinola watches are all designed and manufactured to the highest of standards for everyday use and often build even more character as they patina over time (in the case of watches with our leather straps). This means that with just some simple guidelines on care and precautions, your watch will continue to perform soundly and look perfect for many years to come. 

So first things first, let’s gather the necessary watch cleaner tools.

What You’ll Need For A Clean Watch:

  • Two soft cloths (like microfiber or chamois cloth)
  • Lukewarm water
  • A soft, small brush or toothbrush
  • Soap

How To Clean Watches Step-by-Step

Once you’ve got all the above items, you’re ready to start cleaning your watch. Here’s our quick and easy step-by-guide on how to clean your watch:

  1. Wipe off your watch with one of the soft cloths
    First, you’ll want to wipe down your entire watch to remove any dust or dirt that may have accumulated. For best results, we recommend using some type of microfiber or chamois cloth.
  1. Remove or cover any leather or
    other nonmetal watch straps
    You’ll then want to remove or cover any watch straps that aren’t of a metal sort such as stainless steel. This will help keep the straps in good condition and allow you to clean all parts of the watch face easily. For how to remove your traditional watch strap, see this video.
    Or if your watch features one of our quick-release straps, watch here to see how to easily remove it and put it back on.
  1. Dip the other cloth in the water
    To clean the watch face itself, all you’ll want to do is dip one of the cloths in soap-free, lukewarm water.
    Note: Be sure that the water isn’t too hot or cold. 
  1. Gently wipe your watch clean with the wet cloth
    Take the damp cloth and gently wipe your watch face and its surroundings clean of any build-up of dirt, grime, and oils from your skin. Do not submerge your watch in the cleaning water unless
    it’s water-rated.
  1. Dry the watch with the dry cloth
    Next, you’ll want to take your dry cloth again and dry off any remaining water for that pristine shine. Uncover or reattach your watch strap if removed for cleaning.

    And that’s it! Easy, quick, and painless to get your watch back to looking its best. No fancy watch cleaner equipment or skill is required. However, if you have a metal bracelet like stainless steel or gunmetal, we also recommend you clean it periodically as well. 
  1. Clean metal watch bracelets if needed
    To do so, simply clean with a soft brush or toothbrush dipped in mild soapy water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

    Additionally, if you have a water-rated watch, you should clean it after any type of saltwater use. Just rinse the watch under tap water and wipe dry with
    a soft cloth.

How Often Should You Clean Your Watch?

How often you should clean your watch will depend on how often you wear it and what type of watch you have. Typically, the more frequently you wear it, the more you’ll want to give it a good clean. 

For optimal performance and longevity, we also recommend taking your watch in for professional cleaning and service as well. For water-rated watches, we advise having your timepiece serviced every 2–3 years to maintain water resistance and ensure long use and trouble-free operation. Automatic watches we recommend be serviced every five years and quartz watches we recommend every seven years.

The Shinola Guarantee

At Shinola, we’re proud to offer a limited warranty on every watch so you can feel just as confident in your watch’s quality as we do in our craftsmanship. Whether you’re purchasing a new Shinola watch to start or add to your collection or wanting to keep your decade-old watch going just as good as the day you bought it, Shinola is here to help. Schedule your next servicing appointment today.

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