Cleaning your clock is an important aspect of taking care it. Proper cleaning will extend the life of the clock, which is important if it has sentimental value. There are different solutions that you can use depending on what type of clock it is. Be aware that using the wrong one can cause damage instead of cleaning it. These cleaning solutions are common in the professional clock cleaning industry and have been around for many years.
Make an educated guess about the materials in your clock before cleaning it. You can do this while taking the clock parts out to be cleaned or check any papers or manual with the clock. Clocks with a lacquer coating cannot be cleaned with ammonia because the coating will chip. If the watch is made from brass, do not use ammonia because it will be damaged. There is another solution to use for brass instead.
Mix 5 litres (8.8 pints) of distilled water and 900 g (2 lb) of old-fashioned soft-soap and warm them up in a pan on top of the stove until well-combined. Mix 1.25 litres (2 pints) of denatured alcohol with 130 g (4.5 oz) of oxalic acid in a jar where this mixture will be stored. Shake the jar to mix these two ingredients. Add the cooled soap mixture to the jar and add 625 g (1.4 lb) of ammonium chloride.
Try this solution on a small part of the clock first to make sure that it works. Soak the instrument in the solution for a couple of hours. For stronger rust, you may need to gently scrub a little bit and then rinse with water. Carefully dry the parts and blow the water out of the pivots. Use gloves while making and using this solution. There will be an odour so keep the room ventilated.
Recipe for brass
For clocks that are made of bras, use this recipe: 1 tsp of salt, 237 ml (1 cup) of white vinegar and enough flour to create a paste. First, dissolve the salt into the vinegar and then add the flour. Rub it on as you would with any other type of cleaner, but be gentle with the parts. Rinse the parts off with water, rubbing them dry and making sure there is no residue or water left. This recipe will not damage brass, and gloves are not required.