Gold-plated watches won't remain beautiful as long as solid-gold pieces, but you can still lengthen the life of your watch by keeping it clean. Cleaning watches is especially important, as sweat and oils from your wrist can dull the colour or even wear down the gold-plating over time. However, you must be extra careful when cleaning gold-plating, or you will expose the underlying metal. Use only gentle cleaners and soft materials, and clean carefully and gently. Do not scrub.
Dampen one corner of a soft cloth. Microfiber cloths work great, but a plain cotton cloth works fine as well. Rub over the gold-plating. If this step cleans your watch sufficiently and makes it sparkle, go no further. If the cleaning is not yet where you want it to be, then follow the rest of these steps, always remembering to rub very gently so that you do not remove the plating.
Smear a tiny drop of plain toothpaste on the cloth. Start gently rubbing the inner side of the gold-plated band.
Finish rubbing the toothpaste all along the inside of the watch's wristband. Now start on the outside of the band. Add a little extra toothpaste if necessary.
Wet a new clean cloth, and rub the toothpaste off the wristband. Make sure you remove all the toothpaste. Lightly dampen a cotton swab, and place a very small amount of toothpaste on the tip.
Rub the swab gently over gold-plated areas around the face of the watch. Dip a new cotton swab in water (don't get it too wet), and carefully clean the toothpaste off the rest of the gold-plating. Dry the watch well with a soft cloth.
Regular, cheap white toothpaste works best for cleaning gold-plating. If the watch band has flexible links, use the cotton swab to clean in between these, too. If your gold-plated watch looks tarnished before you decide to clean, the finish may have already worn away. In such a case, these steps will not bring back that shiny gold appearance.
Don't use a gel toothpaste, and don't use an abrasive toothpaste. Choose a nonwhitening-formula toothpaste, because whitening toothpastes usually contain abrasives. Unlike solid gold, gold-plating can rub off or chip off. Don't rub too hard, and don't use abrasive cloths. Don't use too much water around the watch face, especially if the watch is not waterproof.