How to polish stainless steel watches

Stainless steel lasts longer than most watch materials. The steel needs to be polished periodically to remove fingerprints, dirt and body oils. The steel loses its shine once you wear it for a while. You can polish the watch at home with common household items and inexpensive jewellery cleaning products to keep the watch in good condition.

Remove the watchband or links from the watch if possible. If you are unable to remove the watchband, you will need to be careful not to get the watch wet.

Rub the watch with a soft jeweller polishing cloth. This will remove dirt and debris from the watch so that you can polish it.

Apply a window cleaner to a washcloth. You can also use vinegar if you do not have any window cleaner available. Rub the watch with the washcloth to clean it. This helps to clean the watch and it will begin to polish the stainless steel.

Add a polishing paste to the watch. Using a cotton washcloth, apply the polishing paste to the watch in a circular motion. Buff the paste off with a clean cloth and then rinse it off with clean water to ensure that you remove all of the polish.

Apply a light coating of olive oil to the watch. Buff the oil in a circular motion and then use a dry cloth to remove the excess oil. The olive oil will restore the watch's shine.


If the watch has deep scratches or if you do not want to void the warranty, take the watch to a professional cleaner to ensure that you do not ruin it. You can purchase a polishing cloth and polishing paste from your local jeweller.

Things You'll Need

  • Polishing cloth
  • Window cleaner or vinegar
  • Soft washcloths
  • Polishing paste
  • Olive oil
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About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.