How To Clean Gold Watches

Most people think they don’t need to clean or polish their gold wristwatches. But they get dull, too and lose their shine over time. 

However, your solid gold watch can sparkle like new again with a simple gold cleaning process you can do at home. The process is even so easy you can do it at home. Yes! It’s super easy. It won’t take an hour and doesn’t cost a fortune.

Before giving you step-by-step guidelines on how to clean gold watches at home, let’s first know why they lose their shine over time so you can better take good care of them.

Why Do Gold Watches Lose Their Shine Overtime?

Gold and gold-plated watches lose their shine over time because of the products we wear. Some examples include perfume, lotion, sweat, and oils from our skin.

This process of losing its shine is called oxidation. It is a chemical reaction of the metal with the oxygen in the air that causes the material to oxidize (or rust).

However, pure gold (24 karats) and high karat alloys don’t react with oxygen, so it never corrodes or rust. They are also unaffected by water, air, alkalis and all acids, except a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid that dissolve gold.

Gold timepieces that lose their shine over time contain only about 40% gold or 75% gold and 25% other metals, like palladium, silver, and copper. These are also called 18-karat gold timepieces. 

Manufacturers use other materials in making these watches to have better hardness or keep the price more affordable to their customers.

How to Clean Solid Gold Watches

Things you’ll need:

  • A cotton ball or a clean cloth
  • A bowl of water
  • A non-gel formula toothpaste (or a jewelry cleaner if you prefer)


1. To clean a gold watch, take a small amount of non-gel formula toothpaste using a cleaning cloth or a cotton ball.

2. Rub the toothpaste over the area you want to clean and wipe them gently. Watches usually contain small parts, and they are tricky to clean. If that’s the case, you can use Q-tips for these areas.

3. When cleaning the gold bracelet, begin from the inside towards the outside strap. When the Q-tip bud or the cloth turns gray, such is the grime or dirt coming off the watch. It means that you are cleaning it effectively.

4. Remove all the toothpaste with a damp cotton ball or a clean cloth. Ensure that no toothpaste is left.

5. Dry and shine the watch using a fine, soft cloth intended for jewelry. Pay special attention to areas where gold is dull.

Doing this procedure each time you wear your watch or before storage will lessen the time you need for deeper cleanings. However, remember not to wet the inside of the timepiece because it could destroy or badly damage your watch.

The reason why we suggest using toothpaste is that it’s gentle enough for the metal. Of course, you can opt for a jewelry cleaner instead. Choose a cleaner that’s marked safe for gold and gold-plated watches or jewelry.

Related: Best Protective Film For Rolex

How to Clean Gold-Plated Watches

Things you’ll need:

  • Cotton ball or cotton bud
  • Toothpaste or a jewelry cleaner
  • A soft toothbrush
  • A piece of washcloth
  • A bowl of soapy water


1. To clean a gold-plated watch, use a barely moistened cotton ball to clean the grooves.

2. Next, carefully scrub the gold plating with a jewelry cleaner or toothpaste and by using a soft cotton cloth or cotton ball.

3. Wet a soft toothbrush with soapy water and rub it onto the timepiece, starting from the strap to the case.

4. Remove the toothpaste or jewelry cleaner solution with a cotton ball or a damp clean cloth. Ensure that no toothpaste is left.

5. Dry the watch using a dry cloth so no water is left on the timepiece.

After knowing all these steps, keeping your timepiece in good condition is still as important. And the best way to keep your gold watch functional and attractive is by protecting it from moisture. 

Additionally, you should avoid wearing your timepiece while swimming, showering or bathing, walking in the rain, washing dishes, gardening, and exercising. 

To keep it clean and safe, wait a few minutes after applying cosmetics or perfume before wearing a watch. Makeup, hairspray, lotion, and perfume can all gunk up the movement and band of a gold-plated watch more than water.

Related: How To Store Watches To Keep Them In Good Condition

Toothpaste, Jewelry Cleaner, or a Gentle Dish Soap: Which is More Effective in Making a Gold Watch Shine?

The truth is, all three can brighten a gold watch. But by experience, using toothpaste is the easiest and most effective method.

The reason is that toothpaste is a gentle substance. It works well against noticeable smears and dirty stains. It can also make a watch shiny and clean by removing them.

On the other hand, if you’re cleaning a gold-plated material, opt for a jewelry cleaner. It’s more effective in eliminating spots and dust in the watch. However, avoid using excessive jewelry cleaner.

Dish soap is also a gentle suspension. It effectively eliminates spots and dust from any surface of the watch.

People Also Ask: FAQs About Cleaning Gold Watches

What is the best way to clean a gold watch?

Clean a gold watch carefully using a soft brush to remove the debris. Then, use a fine cloth with a jewelry cleaner to remove the dust and dirt from the wristwatch.

If you’ve got a sentimental family heirloom or a luxury watch, you may opt for a professional watch cleaning service instead. They are experts in the field of cleaning gold wristwatches. They also have the appropriate tools to clean your timepiece effectively and safely.

Related: Why Are Richard Mille Watches So Expensive?

How do I make my gold-plated watch shiny again?

You can use toothpaste, baking soda, jewelry cleaner, or a gold cleaning product. Apply your mixture of choice to a clean cloth and gently rub it into the bracelet and case. Gently remove any spots or marks on the watch, including the wristband.

How do you clean a stainless steel gold watch?

If you own a stainless steel watch, you can clean it using a dampened cloth. Clean the strap and case thoroughly and aim to get even between the gaps because these areas trap grime and dust build-up. Using a cotton ball may be helpful in these areas.

Does vinegar damage gold plating?

No, vinegar won’t damage a gold plating (coat on the metal object). However, it may remove the lacquer that protects the gold material from tarnishing and scratches.

Bottom line

Lack of proper care and maintenance to your gold watch can cause it to lose its brightness or become dirty. But by following our tips above, you can restore its lost luster.

After cleaning your gold or gold-plated watch, we hope you wear it proudly and enjoy its new radiant shine. Cleaning your gold watch once in a while will lengthen its lifespan. Avoid giving it extra water, especially if it has low water resistance.

And don’t worry. Consider a professional watch cleaning service if you’re still hesitant to clean your luxury watch. These people know the process well and have the proper tools to clean gold timepieces.

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