Cleaning a watch: This is how you do it!

Cleaning your watch should be done regularly. After all, you wear your favorite watch every day. Over time, the watch can become somewhat dirty and dull. Dust, dander and sweat accumulate in the strap and corners of the case. You can of course go to the watchmaker for a thorough cleaning, but cleaning your watch yourself is not that difficult at all if you follow the step-by-step plan below.

How to clean watch: four simple steps

Before you start, it is important to know whether your watch can withstand water. The water resistance of the watch is usually stated on the dial and the back of the case. Good preparation is half the job!

Step 1: Preparation

– What material are your watch and strap made of? Steel, precious metal, plastic, ceramics?
The watch strap is often made of a different material than the case. In that case, it is wise to loosen the watch strap and clean it separately.

Do you need help loosening the watch strap? Then view our information page about replacing watch straps.

– To prevent water damage, ensure that all screws and crowns of the watch are properly closed, so that no moisture enters the timepiece.

– Prevent damage. Do not use hard brushes to polish your watch. A soft, clean toothbrush and soft cloth are fine.

– Are you unable to remove the strap from your watch, and is the watch less than 5 ATM/Bar/50 meters waterproof? Then carefully wrap the watch case in plastic wrap and work carefully to prevent moisture from entering the watch.

watch wrapped in plastic wrap

cleaning kit for watches

cleaning metal watch strap

Step 2: Cleaning the watch strap

The watch strap is most sensitive to dirt due to direct contact with the skin. But with a little bit of love, your band will look spic and span again. The material of your watch strap determines how it can be cleaned:

Water-resistant materials: Metal, plastic, ceramic

With lukewarm soapy water and a little bit of (green) soap you can clean watch straps that are made of materials that can withstand water. For example titanium and steel straps, ceramic straps, silicone, rubber and plastic watch straps.

You can read detailed instructions and tips for cleaning metal and gold watch straps in our blog: “How do I keep my metal watch strap beautiful?”


A textile watch strap such as a (nylon) NATO strap is best washed with a detergent for colored laundry at a maximum of 30 degrees. You can even wash these tires in the washing machine! Place the tape in a sealed laundry bag or tied pillowcase to prevent loss or damage to your washing machine.

Leather and cork

Leather watch straps cannot withstand water well. But this also applies to leather watch straps: with proper maintenance the strap will remain beautiful for longer.

You can read detailed instructions and tips for the maintenance and cleaning of different types of leather and suede watch straps in our blog: “How do I keep my leather watch strap beautiful?”.
You can clean straps made of cork in the same way as leather straps.

table material watch strap and method of cleaning

Special cleaning cloths and cleaning agents for watches and jewelry are available via our watch accessories page.

Step 3: Polishing the watch: the watch case

For smartwatches, always check the instructions for use first to see whether the product may come into contact with water.

If your watch is waterproof to at least 5 ATM (5 bar, 50 meters) and you have checked whether all screws, crowns and pushers are properly closed, you can first polish the case with a soft cleaning cloth and then carefully with a soft brush and a little bit of clean with soapy water.
If there is caked-on dirt on an edge, carefully remove it with a wooden toothpick. Do not use metal pins to avoid scratches.

If your watch is not waterproof or is less than 5 ATM waterproof, clean the case only with a dry soft brush and a soft cloth. Please note: ‘splash proof’ and ‘water resistant’ are less than 5 ATM!

You can read what you can do if your watch glass is scratched in our blog: “My watch glass is broken, can it be replaced?”

Step 4: Attach the (dry) watch strap back to the watch.

Now that you know how easy it is, she can clean the outside of your watch herself. This way the watch stays fresh and lasts longer.

cleaning leather strap

cleaning watch glass

cleaning watch with toothpick

Professional maintenance of the inside of the watch

It is of course possible that an older watch is very dirty, scratched or corroded. Then visit our watchmaker to have the watch thoroughly refurbished, both outside and inside.

The watch is then completely taken apart, lubricated, oiled and, where necessary, polished and fitted with new parts. Naturally, the watch will receive a new battery when necessary and is always tested for water resistance after opening. When you return your watch for maintenance, the store employee will discuss your wishes with you.

Watch cleaning costs

The costs for cleaning a watch depend on the work that needs to be carried out and whether any parts need to be replaced.

If the store employee cannot immediately determine what the maintenance costs will be, the watch will be taken for an inspection and quotation. This check costs €15, which will be deducted from the final costs of the repair/maintenance.

If the expected costs are lower than €50, they will be carried out immediately (unless otherwise agreed) without prior notice. You will be automatically informed by email or SMS about the status of the repair/maintenance and when your watch is ready.

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