How To Clean Watch Face

Knowing how to clean a watch face effectively and safely is vital to maintaining the appearance and function of the watch. Even for those not encountering dirty work environments, a watch face often becomes soiled with body oils or just through daily contact with dust. To keep a watch looking and running at its best, there are a few tips and tricks to clean the face of a watch.

Items Needed:

  • Watch
  • Rubbing alcohol, mild detergent and water or jewelry cleaner
  • Two soft cloths, one for cleaning and a second for drying


  1. Prepare the watch for cleaning. If the watch has a leather band, the band should be removed from the face prior to cleaning to prevent any damage to the leather.
  2. Choose the cleaning solution. If the watch is only mildly soiled, cleaning with a cloth dampened in mild detergent and water may be sufficient. For a dirtier watch face, something a little stronger may be in order. If the watch face has precious metals or gemstones, use commercial grade jewelry cleaner—otherwise, simple rubbing alcohol, such as the one in first aid kits, works well for cleaning.
  3. Clean and dry the watch face. Lightly dampen a soft cloth with the cleaning liquid of choice, being sure to wring out any excess liquid. The watch face should be wiped with the damp cloth—not soaked in cleaning liquid. Using the damp cloth, wipe the watch face in a circular motion to prevent scratching the surface. If you used a cloth dampened in detergent and water, the watch face should be wiped with a rinsing cloth to remove any detergent film or buildup. Dry the watch face gently with a dry, soft cloth, rubbing again in a circular motion to avoid scratching the face.
  4. Reassemble the watch. If the band was removed, wait until the watch face is completely dry before reassembling. Also, if the band was cleaned separately, be sure that it is dried completely before letting it touch the watch face to avoid spotting.
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