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How To Clean A Watch – Nordgreen Watch Maintenance

If we were to ask how often you clean your watch, what would your answer be?

To be fair, there is no one-size-fits-all to this answer. The rate at which you clean the watch is dependent on the watch itself, the material of make, and above all, how you use the watch.

When it comes time to clean your watch and do so effectively, you need to know the right way to do that. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your investment.

Thus, we have developed this insider guide to help you clean the watch, get rid of the grime and debris, and ensure that you don't damage it while at that.


What is the best way to clean your watch?

There are different ways to clean your watch, and they are dependent on many factors.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how you can clean watch by yourself at home, make sure to consider the following factors to ensure you are employing the right cleaning methods and processes.


Check the material

The material that your watch is made of tells a lot about how you can clean it.

All of our watches here at Nordgreen are made of a stainless steel frame coated with either gold, rose gold, silver, or gunmetal grey. This means that you should not take any strong acids or bases to them lest you ruin the color and/ the metal.

At the same time, the material on the straps also counts. You can get away with cleaning a rubber scrap with water, but that might damage your leather straps.

Speaking of water…


Is the watch water resistant?

A water-resistant watch can be cleaned under water. A non-water-resistant watch can still be cleaned with water, but not under water anymore. You need to understand that difference if you don't want to ruin your watch in the long run.

There are many ways to clean a non-water-resistant watch, such as wiping it down with a soft microfiber cloth, among other options. If you didn't consider this option, though, you might end up ruining the watch.

We strongly encourage you to not use water to clean your Nordgreen watch to avoid the risk of water damage and use other, more gentle ways to clean it.


What are you getting off?

The kind of dirt that you are getting off the watch can also inform how you clean it.

For example, we would only take a soft brush to any of our watches that have been to the beach. This will be enough to get out the beach sand that might have lodged itself into external parts of the watch, such as between the link straps.

Although we don't recommend stainless steel watches for such outdoor experiences, they might be the only ones you have. Choose replacement bands so that you can swap your watch straps for different purposes.


How can I clean my watch at home?

Cleaning your watches at home is no hassle at all. If you follow the instructions in here to the letter, you can wear your watch cleaner and better than the last time that you took it off for cleaning.

The best part is that your watches are not affected by any external or internal hardware issues after these cleaning operations.

For a more defined cleaning approach, we have divided this section into two: how to clean your watch and the watch straps, depending on what material they are made of.


Cleaning the Watch Strap

If you have a watch from Nordgreen, detaching the strap is simple, and you won't need any special tools. Other brands require the use of a spring bar tool to detach the bracelet from the watch.


The tools you'll need

Don't go into any watch cleaning operation without having these:

  • Soft brush
  • Clean, microfiber cloth
  • Sanitary wipes/ paper towel
  • Toothpicks / Q-tip


Cleaning Leather Straps

Leather is a premium material that should be handled with care. Here's how we recommend that the genuine Italian leather which we use on our watches at Nordgreen be cleaned:

  1. Never put the leather strap in contact with running water or a large body of water
  2. Wipe down the leather band with a soft, damp microfiber cloth
  3. Make sure to clean the leather in and out. The internal scrub removes moisture build-up from sweaty wrists and lotion/ oils attachment to the band. The outer scrub and rinse gets rid of, well, every other thing.
  4. Clean the leather band clasp with a damp cloth too. You can also use the stainless steel method for the clasp since it is of that same material.
  5. Get another dry microfiber cloth to remove moisture from the leather band.


Using wet materials to clean your leather strap, or exposing them to water, will cause breakages in the leather material. Even though we use the premium Italian leather choice, it is not made for abuse, and this fine material will wear when exposed to liquid.


Cleaning Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most common bands on watches these days, and it also takes a little more time to clean.

At Nordgreen, our stainless steel watches are made with 316L-grade stainless steel, which is highly treated for corrosion and water resistance.

For the best results, here's what your stainless steel watch straps need.

  1. Prepare a soapy bath with warm water and gentle dish soap in a small bowl for your stainless steel bracelets.
  2. Use an old toothbrush to brush the stainless steel bracelets clean. This brushing method removes the oils that have been trapped on/ within the watch links and crevices, moisture collection on the inside of the watch, spills on the outside of the watch, and other forms of grime.
  3. Place the strap into a dry paper towel/ sanitary wipe and wrap it around the bracelet. With gentle taps, get the water and other stuck dirt away from the strap.
  4. Dry the bracelet with a soft microfiber cloth. You can either clean with gentle rubs or wipe down the strap. Any method works here.
  5. You're good to go.


When you clean stainless steel bracelet straps, avoid strong chemicals and liquids. They might not only interact with the straps poorly by changing the color but also expose it to rust.

That is why we recommend the simple dish soap and warm water that you can find at home. They are low in alcohol and not too corrosive, so they don't interact badly with the jewelry bracelets.


Cleaning Rubber Straps

Out of all the straps that we carry at Nordgreen, rubber straps are the easiest to clean.

We use high-quality silicone in our bands. This makes them suitable for a wide range of uses, ensures they don't cause allergies and are easier to clean.

Let's get into it:

  1. Prepare a soapy bath with warm water as advised with the stainless steel watches above.
  2. Get some dish soap in there and stir it up.
  3. Soak your rubber bands in soapy water for a minute or more.
  4. Take the toothbrush or a soft brush to the band to gently scrub away grime and oils. With rubber like ours, you should be able to do this with less to mild difficulty.
  5. You can leave the rubber out to dry on its own or pat it down with a soft cloth.


Another method that you can use to clean your rubber watches every day is to run the straps under water in the sink, then you can dry them with a soft material. Make sure to separate the band from your watch if the unit is not water-resistant, though.


Cleaning Nylon Straps

Whether you call them nylon straps or prefer the cool naming system that describes them as NATO straps, these remain some of the most functional straps for the outdoors.

That also means they get used in the most extreme cases. Thus, they will trap a lot of dirt, carry a lot of sweat in them.

Do these when your nylon strap watch needs a good cleaning done on it.

  1. Soak the NATO straps in warm soapy water with dishwashing liquid. Since they come off as fabric, they are easier to clean this way.
  2. Gently scrub down with a soft brush. Depending on the level of grime collected in the straps, you might need a little tougher toothbrush this time around. Not too tough, though, lest the strap starts growing lint.
  3. Rinse the nylon strap under warm water when you are done washing.
  4. Leave out in a cool, dry place. You could also peg them outdoors to dry in the sun. Don't leave them where they will remain damp for too long as that could promote the build-up of bacteria, foul odors, etc.


Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Watch

Now that you have cleaned the bands, depending on where your preferences lie, it's time to get grime, dirt, oils, and dust off the watch itself.

Here, we deal with the watch crystal, the watch case back, and the entirety of the frame.

Let's get to cleaning your watch:

  1. Keep the bracelets/ watch straps removed and separated from the main frame. This method ensures you get access to the watch's lugs, which holds dirt and dust too.
  2. Take a sanitary wipe and clean down the crevices, nooks, and crannies of the watch. Every visible part – from the glass crystal to the case back – should be attended to here.
  3. If some dirt, dust, or grime is lodged in tight corners, get a toothpick, cut off the sharp edge and wrap it around a wipe. You can also use a Q-tip if you have those around. With any of the above, get the dirt out of the tight corners.
  4. Get the microfiber cloth to do the final wipe of the watch. This step takes care of the oils that might remain on the watch, excess moisture, and dust/ dirt debris.


Can you clean your watch with alcohol?

Some people advise cleaning your watch with alcohol.

In practice, alcohol is a fine cleaning agent in a world of these cleaning substances, but they don't apply well in the world of watches.

Alcohol might not affect some watches but affect others from mild to serious degrees. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is by using the alcohol in the first place – which is too expensive a test for you to try on your fine watches.

The good thing is that we have different methods to scrub the dirt off your watch without employing any strong cleaning agents. Go through this guide and search for the most applicable method, depending on the watch that you have.


Mistakes to avoid when cleaning your watch

You could easily make some simple mistakes that spell serious conditions for your watches. We don't want that to happen, so we have compiled a list of issues that could come up here. This way, you are better informed against them and can plan to have a better cleaning experience.

  1. Never use salt water to clean your watches, especially those made of stainless steel.
  2. Don't wait until the watch is too dirty to clean it. Dirt can lodge into the watch and ruin the internal mechanism, so clean as fast as you can.
  3. Remember to check that a watch is water-resistant before you rinse it with water. Otherwise, only take a soft, damp cloth to it.
  4. Let your nylon watch straps dry in the open air. Otherwise, they could start to smell and even promote the build-up of bacteria.
  5. Stay away from strong cleaning liquid and chemicals for your watches. Besides changing the watch's color on reaction with the metal, they could also break protective seals on your watch.
  6. Be careful so that you don't scratch the watch when removing the links or cleaning its parts.
  7. Never clean your watch without having a proper workspace. Lay down some paper towels to prevent any scratch on the glass crystal or any such accidents.
  8. Inspect the watch before cleaning to see if there are any signs of damage on it. On a water-resistant watch, such damage can allow water entry into the watch and cause some more damages.
  9. The soapy water you should prepare in your washing bowl should be at a mild temperature. Not too cold because that won't work, but not too hot either. Hot water can also ruin the water-resistance seals on your watch, for example.
  10. Metal watches should not be left soaked for too long lest they run a risk of rust. Rust can also occur when you don't dry the stainless steel/ metal watch off on time after cleaning.
  11. Look at the watch crown to ensure it is tight and fit. A loose watch crown, or a damaged one, could also allow moisture inside the watch.
  12. Make sure you are comfortable removing the watch strap yourself, and you have the right tools to do so.


You might need a professional touch

Although Nordgreen watches are very easy to clean at home due to their easily removable and interchangeable straps, it can sometimes be difficult or worrying to try and clean our watches.

We don't want to cause any damage to these beautifully crafted timepieces. So, if you are unsure of your cleaning abilities and don't want to risk ruining your watch, take it to a professional watch cleaner. They will know exactly what to do with your watch to leave it looking brand new.

Above all, make sure to give your Nordgreen watch a deep clean at least once a month. The watches are designed to look elegant, and a clean exterior will allow the beautiful color tones of your watch to stand out and shine.

September 08, 2020 by Christopher Day

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