How to Clean Parts in a Wind-up Clock

Written by ashley black
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How to Clean Parts in a Wind-up Clock
Cleaning your windup clock extends its life. (Alarm clock image by Vasily Smirnov from

Keeping your windup clock clean is essential to ensure its continued functioning. Wind-up clocks contain internal works, also known as the movement, that tick away the time. The inner works consist of interlocking wheels and gears that can accumulate dust and grime. Without proper maintenance, a windup clock will eventually slow or stop, according to the Bill's Clockworks website. Employing some basic home care can extend the life of your clock.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Several soft dry cloths
  • Dust remover or compressed air
  • Screwdriver
  • Windex or mild detergent
  • Small bristle brush
  • Steel wool

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  1. 1

    Wipe the entire surface area of the clock with a soft, dry cloth to remove grime and dust.

  2. 2

    Open the face of the clock. Hold a can of dust remover or compressed air at least six inches away from the clock and spray to remove dust from the face and hands of the clock. Close the face of the clock.

  3. 3

    Open the back of the clock to expose the inner mechanism. Depending on what type of clock you have, this may be done via tabs or by using a screwdriver to loosen screws.

  4. 4

    Clean any plastic parts using Windex or mild detergents and a small bristle brush, according to "The Clock Repairer's Manual." Metal parts can be buffed with fine steel wool. Use a new soft cloth to polish the pivots.

  5. 5

    Replace and refasten the back of the clock.

Tips and warnings

  • A more thorough cleaning of your windup clock involves taking the mechanism apart and cleaning each part individually. Since these clocks are notoriously difficult to put back together, this level of cleaning should be done by a professional clock-repair or clock-cleaning service.
  • If you prefer to use cleaning solution designed specifically for clocks rather than detergents and Windex, solutions can be purchased at clock repair stores.
  • Improper handling can damage the clock. If you have little experience with clocks or mechanical tasks, it may in your best interest to take the clock to a professional.
  • Be gentle with all parts of the clock to avoid damage, and always clean clocks in a well-lit area.

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