how to clean a metal watch band

How to Clean a Metal Watch Band: All You Need to Know

Because most of us wear our watches every day, we often miss the slow build-up of dirt and grime in the watch band or bracelet. This is especially true of metal watch bracelets, which are made up of connected links that can easily gather dirt between them.

We subject our watches to all sorts of substances throughout the day, such as perfumes, lotions, food and drink, pollution, sweat, and our own skin’s oils. This means that there is a combination of substances gathering in the links of your metal watch strap each day, and if you value your watch and want it to last a long time, it would be a good idea to clean it regularly.

Most people who are careful with their watches will give theirs a simple wipe down each evening when they take it off and follow up with a monthly deep clean. You should also be sure to take your watch to a professional at least once every 5 years to have it serviced, the water-resistant gaskets replaced, and the watch professionally cleaned.

How to Deep Clean Your Watch Strap

If you know how to remove and reattach your metal watch band easily and confidently, it is probably best to do so, so that you can clean the bracelet without worrying about the water resistance of the watch face and case (it’s a good chance that your watch strap has a quick release mechanism). If you are not comfortable removing your watch strap, then do the following steps with care.

1. Pour some lukewarm or tepid water into a sink or container and soak your watch band in it for a few minutes. If your watch is water resistant, you can soak the case as well – just make sure the water is not too warm, or it could cause damage to the watch’s gasket which is what keeps it safe in the water.

Soaking a metal watch band in water

2. Remove your watch from the water and wipe it down with a soft cloth. If this does not leave your watch strap looking clean and sparkly, try adding some antibacterial soap into the warm water, and soak the strap again. This is also safe for a water-resistant watch case if the water is tepid, and not hot.

3. Wipe the watch down with your soft cloth again and see if you now have achieved the desired result. If you can still see some dirt between the links, use a clean toothbrush dipped in soapy water to gently clean the grime away.

Cleaning metal watch band links with a toothbrush

4. Rinse the watch strap very well, ensuring that there is no soap residue left on it, otherwise you might find your metal watch bracelet looking dull from the soap residue.

Rinsing a metal watch band with water

5. Dry the watch band well, using a soft cloth. You could also use a bath towel if you are gentle, or even a hair dryer on a very low heat setting, as that would be the best way to remove any water trapped between the links.

Drying metal watch band with a cloth

How to Maintain Your Watch Band with a Daily Routine

Keeping your metal watch strap shiny and clean is a very quick and easy job that you can do each night before bed, especially if you are deep cleaning it once a month, as recommended. Whether you simply wipe down your watch with a soft cloth or put a bit more effort into it will depend on what you are putting your watch through on a daily basis.

If you do not use many body products, do not exercise with your watch on your wrist, and spend your day in a pristine office, you can probably get away with a simple wipe-down with a wet microfiber cloth before you go to bed each night. For everyone else, it is best to follow this simple procedure:

  • Soak the watch in lukewarm, soapy water for a few minutes.
  • Scrub gently with a clean toothbrush, making sure to remove any grime from between the links.
  • Rinse well in clean water or under the faucet.
  • Dry well.

If you follow these easy steps and remember to take your watch to a watchmaker every 5 years for a service and a professional clean, your watch should give you decades of joy, style, and perfect timekeeping.

Amy Catchpole

Amy is a staff writer at Durability Matters.

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