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How to Clean a Metal Watch Bracelet

How to Clean a Metal Watch Bracelet

Over time, the bright and polished look of your sophisticated metal watch bracelet can dull, and the spaces between the links can collect dirt and grime. Other than not looking its best, this can lead to the general wear, and even corrosion, of your once reliable bracelet. Even the most tough and water-resistant designs are susceptible to rust after frequent water exposure if they are not cleaned and cared for after. Not to fear though: there are simple steps you can take to clean and maintain the look and function of your metal watch bracelet, so it can last and thrive. 

To clean your metal watch bracelet,

  1. Remove the watch from the metal bracelet.
  2. Wipe off initial dust and dirt. 
  3. Soak the bracelet in soapy water. 
  4. Gently scrub the bracelet with a small brush and rinse.
  5. Dry with a soft microfibre cloth. 
  6. Polish and seal for a premium finish. 

For watch bracelets that are worn on a regular basis, this should be done once a month. For watches worn less, this can be done every few months (dependent on wear). 

1. Remove the Watch from The Metal Bracelet

First things first, we’d recommend that you remove the watch from the metal bracelet. This allows you to clean even the smallest details at the joints and pins. You should only do this if you feel confident though, as it can be quite a difficult process for even those of us versed in watch band changes. 

If you have a standard watch strap there are small bars that have telescopic ends which need to be removed and replaced. Most of the time this requires a specific spring bar removal tool, with a fine forked end to compress the spring bar and release the bracelet from the watch.

If you have a quick-release watch strap, these are much easier to remove. Each bar has a noticeable pin that helps you separate the strap from the watch with ease. 

Once this is done, put your watch somewhere safe and turn your attention to the bracelet. 

2. Wipe Off Initial Dust and Dirt 

Start with a simple wipe down of the watch bracelet with a soft cloth to remove initial layers of dirt, dust and grime. 

3. Soak the Bracelet in Soapy Water

Next, fill up a clean bowl with lukewarm water and soak your bracelet. A short soak, with some gentle wipes with the soft cloth, should remove most of the dirt. However, if there is stubborn grime left, add a drop of gentle washing-up liquid to the water. This should help dissolve the grease and debris that is left. 

If you didn't remove your watch from the strap, remember to keep this out of the water at all times. 

4. Scrub the Bracelet and Rinse 

Using a clean brush, scrub the nooks and crannies of your metal bracelet. Avoid too much pressure, as this can scratch the surface. 

Next, dip the bracelet in a fresh bowl of clean warm water or run it under the tap to rinse off the remaining grime and soap. This step is crucial, as soap residue can impact the polished look of the metal. 

You should also consider a special metal watch strap cleaner. These powerful intensive sprays can dissolve and permanently remove dirt without much work. Simply spray the bracelet thoroughly on both sides, allow it to work, and then rinse off and wipe with a soft cloth. 

For precious materials, a Rodico Premium Cleaner might be more your style. This is a malleable substance reminiscent of modelling clay that removes marks, oils and stains while maintaining the integrity of your watch, thanks to its highly absorbent properties. 

5. Dry With a Soft Microfibre Cloth

Once clean, dry off the bracelet with a soft microfibre cloth and give it another gentle wipe. The soft textile structure ensures that even sensitive surfaces are not damaged or scratched. 

As you might have noticed at this point, microfibre cloths polish and clean off grease, cream and trapped dust and dirt particles with just a simple wipe. 

6. Polish and Seal for a Premium Finish 

To ensure your metal bracelet is sparkling clean, we recommend a polish. You can do this with just a polishing cloth, or pair it with a metal polishing spray designed to give it a new lease of life. Finish with a soft buffing cloth. 

For an extra shine, we recommend the CAPE COD Horsehair Watch Detail Brush. This brush removes polish and excess oxidation from intricate patterns and hard to reach places. 


To ensure your watch bracelet remains protected for even longer, look at using a sealantThis specially-formulated kit allows you to apply an invisible protective layer to your watch, defending it from the minor marks and scratches it might otherwise pick up in day-to-day use.

All you have to do is wipe and apply the protective coating to the watch and leave it to cure and dry for 12 hours. 

To keep it clean all year round, we recommend that you give your metal watch bracelet a quick clean after each use. This doesn’t need to be a deep clean, just a quick wipe with a soft cloth to remove moisture, lotion and sweat that has passed from your skin to the watch will do the trick. Regular maintenance will then make a deep clean much easier. 

For extra protection, keeping your watch in a valley tray or watch roll when you’re on the go can prevent excess dirt or damage to your watch. 


And you're done! For more watch maintenance advice, head over to the WatchObsession blog. Or, shop our luxury watches, watch straps and watch tools and accessories on our website. 

Has the wear extended to your watch glass? Read our guide on fixing scratched watch glass here. 


Written by Holly, for WatchObsession.