Whats the best way to clean dial

Submitted by Jim Townsend on May 7, 2012 - 7:27pm

Anyone know whats the best thing to use to clean a dial?

Posted May 7, 2012 - 11:34pm

I use a dial cleaner from one of the supply houses and if you want to PM me I will give you the information. It is not proper to list the company on our site for various reasons.


Posted May 9, 2012 - 6:24pm

jp if its not too much trouble could you send me that dial cleaning info. thank you jfoley

Posted May 9, 2012 - 7:17pm

In reply to by jfoley

Please PM me as I don't think it is correct to post a dealer on this web site. I will be very happy to give you the information since it does work quite well but I don't put the dial in the jar and shake it. I clip the dial by a peg and swirl it in the solution for about 4 miinutes and then rinse it with warm water and simply lay a paper towel gently on top of the dial. Do not wipe as it will possibly take off the black writing and registers.


William Smith
Posted May 9, 2012 - 8:08pm

Damn  That's what I should try.  I've been putting the entire watch in a sock and running it throught the washing machine. I take the band off first.  The darned things come out w/ cleaner dial, but even after I shake the excess water out the stem they won't run for some reason.  :)

Posted May 9, 2012 - 9:25pm

You gotta use fabric softner to shed the water. Dontcha know nuthin??

Posted May 9, 2012 - 9:30pm

I prefer a zip up lingerie bag over a sock.  Much more secure, particularly when you go into the spin cycle.

Posted May 9, 2012 - 9:33pm

I just use the dishwasher on the pots & pans cycle, the water will get a lot hotter and you can do all your dishes at the same time...

Posted May 9, 2012 - 9:54pm

I'll bet it gets that spilled spagetti sauce off real good too.

Posted May 9, 2012 - 10:00pm

For a more "green" approach, try a salad spinner.  It's noisy as hell, but saves on electricity.

Reverend Rob
Posted May 9, 2012 - 10:08pm

If there is a really good way to clean old (non enamelled) dials, I haven't come across it. I can clean them only up to a point, it depends why they are dirty, whether the crystal has been gone for years and it was rattling around in drawer, or corrosion, or what have you. I can tell you what NOT to do. Don't use alcohol of any kind, nor ultrasonics. I strongly advise that no one attempt to clean a radium dial. Contamination of everything in the vicinity is usually the result. The half life of Radium is 1600 years, so just because it isn't glowing anymore doesn't mean it is harmless. The Zinc Sulfide has simply decayed and no longer flouresces. I've had old watchmakers tell me they sometimes use saliva, but I have had minor success with a very soft brush and pledge furniture polish. This is an old watchmaker's trick, and it doesn't always yield great results, but works fairly well sometimes. You take a really soft bench brush, and spray the pledge onto it, and then with quick lengthwise strokes, you brush the dial across the surface, and rotate it as you do. 

There is always a chance you will ruin a dial by attempting to clean it, so unless you are prepared for this, don't touch it. I have seen some excellent results from International for refinished dials.