Stainless steel is one of the most popular materials for quality watches, and for good reason. It’s tough and durable, while still offering the sleek shine that we all crave in a classic timepiece. But while these things are tough as nails, they still require regular maintenance to stay in tip-top shape.
After time and with normal wear and tear, stainless steel can start to lose its sparkle. It begins to look dull. Sad. Plus, watches exposed to frequent moisture like water, rain, or sweat, can still be susceptible to rust.
But, when it comes to watch care, there’s no one-size-fits-all regimen. Different materials require different cleaning methods. It’s crucial that you research your watch’s materials and care instructions before dousing it in a cleaning solution.
So, if you want to keep your stainless steel watch in pristine condition, check out our recommendations for cleaning and care.
Care and Cleaning Tips for Stainless Steel Watches:
1. Use a microfiber cloth.
Just like you wouldn’t use just any old t-shirt or washcloth to clean your reading glasses, it’s also important to ensure you’re using the proper material for cleaning your stainless steel watch. Microfiber and chamois are recommended for their ability to clean without scratching and pick up more dirt and grime than other materials.
2. Remove non-water-resistant bands.
If the band of your watch is made from a different material, such as leather, nylon, or rubber, you’ll want to remove it first and clean it according to the recommendations for that material. For example, leather should avoid any kind of dampness. Try to use a leather cleaning kit or wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.
3. Dip your water-resistant watch and band in warm, soapy water.
As long as your watch is water-resistant (most stainless steel watches are, but it’s good to double check), you can clean it by submerging it in warm, soapy water. By warm, we’re talking lukewarm–not too hot, not too cold, as drastic changes in temperature can mess with the inner mechanics of an analog or automatic stainless steel watch. A short soak in a bowl of water with a drop of antibacterial dish soap should do the trick. If your watch isn’t too filthy, 10-30 minutes is plenty. However, if you have a feeling your watch might be a bit on the dirtier side, let it soak for one to two hours.
4. Scrub with a gentle toothbrush.
After letting the watch soak, take a soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub all of the stainless steel areas on your watch and band. Try to avoid the glass casing, though. After that you can wipe it with a microfiber cloth to catch any remaining grime.
5. Rinse with warm water.
Once your watch has been thoroughly cleaned, give it a rinse in lukewarm water. You’ll want this water to be fresh and free of the junk that came off of the watch.
6. Clean watch face with glass cleaner.
Following the rinse, spray a bit of glass cleaning solution onto a microfiber cloth and give the glass face a good wipe-down.
7. Dry with a clean microfiber cloth, then let it air dry.
Using a clean, dry microfiber cloth, dry your watch thoroughly, paying careful attention to every nook and crevice of the watch and band to avoid rusting. Then, allow it to air dry for one to two hours.
8. Clean your stainless steel watch once a month.
While it’s important to wipe down your watch with a gentle cloth at least once a week, try to give it a solid cleaning about once a month. However, if your watch sees an exceptional amount of wear and tear, you may want to consider a more frequent cleaning schedule.
9. Avoid using chemicals on your watch.
Apart from an antibacterial dish soap and a small amount of glass cleaner, try to avoid using any harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions on your stainless steel watch. Never get bug spray on your stainless steel watch. This will strip it of the shine and finish. Be sure to remove your stainless steel watch before applying bug spray.
10. Remove scratches with a polishing cloth.
If you’ve noticed small scratches in your stainless steel, you may be able to remove them or reduce their appearance with a polishing cloth.
11. Take your watch to a professional jeweler if you have concerns about cleaning or caring for your watch.
Cleaning your watch can be a nerve-racking ordeal if it’s something you’ve not done before. If you have any concerns about safely maintaining your stainless steel watch, check with the watch manufacturer for care tips, or take it into a jeweler to have it cleaned professionally.
Proper Care is Key
It can be all too easy to overlook regular watch cleaning. You put it on, you go about your day, and you take it off before you shower (and if you don’t, you definitely should). But if you want to ensure the longevity and sparkle of your stainless steel watch, it’s crucial that you give it the TLC it deserves. And with these tips and tricks, she’ll be back to her sexy self in no time at all.