How to Clean a Watch

by Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

How to Clean a Watch. Wearing a watch day-in and day-out, can result in dirt, sweat and sunscreen building up on the bottom and in the strap or bracelet. If not cleaned out, the disgusting black gunk that builds up on your watch will start to leave marks on your wrist.

Items you will need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Lint-free cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
Step 1

Remove the bracelet if you can. If you can't remove the bracelet, take care not to get the watch itself wet while you're cleaning the bracelet, even if it's water-resistant.

Step 2

Soak the bracelet in water and dish soap or rubbing alcohol for a few minutes to a few hours. The longer you soak the bracelet, the more dirt will be loosened, making scrubbing easier.

Step 3

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub between the links of the bracelet both on the inside and outside.

Step 4

Dry the bracelet with a lint-free cloth to avoid getting fibers stuck between the links. Reattach the bracelet to your watch, then use the slightly dampened cloth to wipe down the watch itself.

Step 5

Clean leather straps with a mixture of white vinegar and water and a toothbrush. Let the straps dry completely before wearing the watch again. You can go longer between cleanings if you wipe off the straps each night after removing your watch.


  • You can also clean your bracelet in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. However, never put the watch itself into the cleaner as it will cause permanent damage. No matter how well you take care of leather watch straps, you will still need to replace them every year or so.


  • Rubbing alcohol is flammable. Don't clean your watch while smoking or while near an open flame.