How to Clean Clock Movements With Turpentine

The movement of a clock contains many small pieces.

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A clock may seem like a simple device, but the movement section can have as many as 500 individual pieces. Over time, dust settles into the oil used as a lubricant, changing the consistency. This affects the ability of the movement to function.

For quick home cleaning, basic maintenance keeps the clock running between visits to the clock smith. Turpentine is one possible cleaning agent, but check with a professional technician or the manufacturer before applying any chemical to ensure it will not damage the piece.

  • A clock may seem like a simple device, but the movement section can have as many as 500 individual pieces.
  • Turpentine is one possible cleaning agent, but check with a professional technician or the manufacturer before applying any chemical to ensure it will not damage the piece.

Turn the clock around to access the movement. You may need a screwdriver to remove the panel and some panels may have latches for easy opening.

Clean the surface of the movements with a duster or soft cloth. A can of compressed air will help you remove dust behind the movement. Carefully insert the tube on the can into the movement and blow out the dust. Avoid touching the delicate parts with the tube.

  • Clean the surface of the movements with a duster or soft cloth.
  • Avoid touching the delicate parts with the tube.

Dip a cotton swab in turpentine. Look for springs and metal pieces that may get gummed up with dust. Gently wipe the surface with the swab. Only use turpentine if the manufacturer or a clock smith recommends it for your piece. Avoid touching any plastic parts with the turpentine.

Wipe the surface of the movement with a soft, lint-free cloth to dry the pieces and remove residue.

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