Can You Clean A Rolex With A Toothbrush?

Watches, especially luxury timepieces like Rolex, aren’t just tools for time-telling; they’re a statement of style, precision, and class. The iconic Swiss-made Rolex watch, with its intricate engineering and craftsmanship, commands respect and admiration. Proper care is vital to ensure its longevity and performance.

Can you clean a Rolex with a toothbrush? Yes, you can. A toothbrush, particularly one with soft bristles, can be an effective tool for cleaning a Rolex watch. Its slender structure allows you to reach the nooks and crannies of the watch, ensuring a thorough cleanse. However, caution is essential to avoid causing any damage.

Rolex watches, being precision instruments, require delicate handling. The materials they’re made of can be sensitive, and while regular cleaning is necessary, how one goes about it makes a significant difference. A toothbrush can be a handy tool, but understanding its role and technique is key to preserving the watch’s pristine condition.

Can You Clean A Rolex With A Toothbrush


Rolex Cleaning Basics

Materials Rolex Watches Are Made Of and Their Sensitivity

Rolex is synonymous with luxury, precision, and timeless class. Each watch is an amalgamation of intricate craftsmanship and select materials that ensure longevity and elegance. Predominantly, Rolex watches are constructed from 904L stainless steel, a highly durable and rust-resistant material. This kind of steel, exclusive to Rolex, offers a beautiful shine once polished and maintains its luster even in the harshest of environments.

For those with a more opulent taste, Rolex offers watches in 18-carat gold. This gold is produced in-house to meet Rolex’s stringent quality standards. Yet, while being a sign of luxury, gold is relatively soft and can accrue micro-scratches with daily wear.

Other models fuse gold with platinum in a design Rolex terms as Rolesium. Some Rolex pieces also incorporate precious stones like diamonds, adding to the watch’s sensitivity.

Every Rolex glass, known as the crystal, is crafted either from acrylic plastic (in vintage models) or more recently, scratch-resistant sapphire. While sapphire crystals are resistant to scratches, they can shatter upon severe impact. Acrylic, on the other hand, might accumulate scratches but won’t easily break.

Importance of Regular Cleaning and Professional Servicing

Regular maintenance of your Rolex watch isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about preserving its functionality and value. Everyday exposure to dirt, sweat, and oils from the skin can accumulate, leading to a build-up that might affect the watch’s performance. Regular cleaning ensures the watch remains visually appealing and functions without hitches.

However, beyond regular cleaning, professional servicing is a non-negotiable aspect of Rolex maintenance. Think of it as a health check-up for your watch. Servicing examines the watch’s intricate mechanics, ensuring every cog, spring, and mechanism operates optimally. It also assesses the wear and tear, replacing worn-out parts to guarantee longevity.

The Role of a Toothbrush

Why a Toothbrush is Considered: Benefits and Downsides

A toothbrush is often touted as a reliable tool in the Rolex cleaning arsenal. The rationale behind its popularity is simple: its design. The slender structure and soft bristles allow for gentle cleaning, reaching those corners and crevices that a cloth might miss.


  • Effective in removing dirt and grime.
  • Easy maneuverability.
  • Precise cleaning, especially between bracelet links.


  • Potential risk of scratching if not used correctly.
  • May not be effective for deep-set stains or dirt.
  • Overzealous brushing can introduce micro-scratches, especially on the gold parts.

Soft Bristles vs. Hard Bristles: Which One to Use?

When it comes to Rolex cleaning, soft bristles are the unequivocal choice. They offer gentle cleaning, ensuring the watch’s surface isn’t scratched or marred. Hard bristles, in contrast, can be abrasive, especially on the more delicate gold or Rolesium surfaces.

Soft bristles effectively lift dirt, sweat, and grime without exerting undue pressure on the watch. They glide smoothly over the Rolex’s surface, ensuring every part from the bracelet to the bezel shines immaculately.

Bracelet Removal and Exterior Cleaning

Importance of Separating the Bracelet for Thorough Cleaning

The bracelet, being in direct contact with the skin, often accumulates the most dirt and sweat. Over time, this build-up can lead to the bracelet losing its sheen. Moreover, trapped particles of dirt and grime can cause undue wear, especially between the links.

Removing the bracelet allows for a thorough cleaning, ensuring no part is overlooked. It gives direct access to the watch’s back, an often-neglected area, ensuring consistent shine and cleanliness across the watch.

How to Safely Remove and Reattach the Bracelet

  • Secure the Watch: Place your Rolex face down on a soft cloth or cushioned surface. This precaution ensures the watch face doesn’t get scratched during the process.
  • Locate the Lugs: These are the metal pieces that hold the bracelet to the watch case.
  • Use a Push Pin: Gently push the pin inside the lug holes, moving them in the direction of the arrow indicators on the watch’s back.
  • Slide Out the Pin: As you push, the bracelet pins will start to slide out. Remove them completely to detach the bracelet.
  • Clean the Bracelet: With the bracelet removed, you can now proceed with cleaning.
  • Reattachment: Once cleaned, line the bracelet back to its original position. Slide the pins back through the lugs, ensuring they’re secure.

How to Clean Your Rolex in 5 Steps

STEP 1: Ensure the Crown Is Tight

Why Securing the Crown is Essential

The crown, a crucial component of your Rolex, controls time adjustments and, in many models, the date. It’s a direct gateway to the inner workings of the watch. If not correctly secured, water or moisture can seep in, causing potential damage to the delicate mechanisms inside.

How to Correctly Screw Down the Crown

  • Hold Steady: Grasp the watch firmly in one hand while using the other to turn the crown clockwise.
  • Feel Resistance: Tighten until you feel slight resistance. This ensures the crown is in its secured position.
  • Avoid Over-Tightening: It’s essential not to overdo it. Over-tightening might damage the threading.

STEP 2: Soap and Water Preparation

Best Soap Types for Cleaning without Causing Damage

A mild dish soap is your best bet. Avoid soaps with harsh chemicals, abrasives, or strong fragrances. These can harm the watch’s materials or leave unwanted residues.

Recommended Water Temperature and Quantity

  • Warm Water: Opt for lukewarm water. Extreme temperatures can cause metal contraction or expansion.
  • Moderate Quantity: Fill a bowl enough to submerge the watch fully.

STEP 3: Gentle Brushing Technique

Proper Technique to Scrub without Causing Scratches

  • Dip and Brush: Dip the soft-bristled toothbrush into the soapy water. Gently scrub the watch, applying minimal pressure.
  • Circular Motion: Employ a circular brushing motion, especially on the face and back of the watch.

Special Attention to Crevices and Intricate Parts

Focus on the areas between the bracelet links and the space where the bracelet meets the watch face. These areas often harbor more dirt.

STEP 4: Proper Rinsing Process

The Importance of Using Fresh Water

Using clean, fresh water ensures the removal of all soap residues which, if left unchecked, could lead to material degradation over time.

Methods to Ensure No Soap Residue is Left

  • Gentle Agitation: Swish the watch around in the fresh water bowl to loosen any leftover soap.
  • Visual Inspection: Check for bubbles or any signs of soap, especially in the crevices.

STEP 5: Drying and Buffing

Why a Microfiber Cloth is the Best Choice

A microfiber cloth is gentle, non-abrasive, and does not leave behind lint. It can absorb moisture effectively without scratching the watch’s surface.

Technique to Dry without Leaving Water Spots or Lint

  • Pat Dry: Start by patting the watch dry gently.
  • Buff: Next, use the cloth to buff the watch, restoring its shine and eliminating any potential water spots.

Tackling Scratches on Rolex

Why Acrylic Crystals are Prone to Scratches

Acrylic, while more impact-resistant than sapphire, is softer and can accumulate micro-scratches over time from everyday wear.

Step by Step Guide to Remove Scratches from Acrylic Crystals

  • Clean Surface: Ensure the watch face is clean from dirt or debris.
  • Polishing Cream: Use a small amount of a branded watch crystal polish.
  • Circular Motion: With a soft cloth, rub the cream gently onto the scratched areas.
  • Wipe Away: Once done, use a clean part of the cloth to wipe away excess polish.

Best Practices for Rolex Maintenance

Frequency of Cleaning for Optimal Watch Performance

For daily wearers, cleaning your Rolex once every two weeks is advisable. If worn occasionally, a monthly cleaning should suffice.

When to Consider Professional Servicing

A Rolex should undergo professional servicing every 4 to 5 years. This ensures a comprehensive internal and external check, maintaining the watch’s premium performance.

Rolex Cleaning Precautions

Potential Risks of DIY Cleaning Methods

While the steps above are safe for most Rolex watches, there’s always a slight risk involved in DIY methods. There’s potential for accidental damage, especially if one is not cautious.

Importance of Using the Right Cleaning Materials

Using the correct cleaning agents and tools preserves the integrity of the watch. Harsh chemicals or abrasive tools can degrade the watch’s materials or introduce unsightly scratches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to immerse a Rolex in water?

While Rolex watches are water-resistant, it’s advisable to ensure that the crown is screwed down properly before any cleaning. This prevents water from entering the internal mechanisms.

A mild, ammonia-free soap or a gentle dishwashing liquid is ideal. Always dilute the soap with water and avoid any harsh chemicals which can damage the watch’s finish.

How often should a Rolex be professionally serviced?

Generally, a Rolex should be professionally serviced every 3 to 5 years. However, this can vary based on the model and its usage. Regular wearers should adhere to this timeline for optimal performance.


Maintaining a Rolex, or any luxury timepiece for that matter, goes beyond its visual appeal. It’s about preserving a legacy, an artifact of precision and design. Cleaning it, therefore, isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about ensuring its intricate machinery continues to function flawlessly.

A toothbrush, simple as it sounds, when wielded with knowledge and care, can be an ally in this endeavor. While it’s a great tool for regular maintenance, it’s equally essential to recognize when a professional touch is needed to keep your Rolex ticking seamlessly.

In essence, while the Rolex stands as a testament to time and luxury, its care remains grounded in simplicity and diligence. The marriage of meticulous craftsmanship with diligent upkeep ensures that your timepiece not only tells the time but also narrates a story of care and precision.

Michael, an ardent horology enthusiast, brings his love for exquisite timepieces to life at WatchReflect. With a background in marketing and a penchant for luxury, he dives into the world of popular watch brands. His journey began during his years at a Swiss watch boutique, fueling his passion for precision craftsmanship. Through his words, Michael shares the allure and innovation that define the watch industry.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x