Feb 25, 2018

Watch bracelets are hygienically disgusting 💩

I've bought some auction watches, and all of the bracelets are gross, some irredeemably. And even when I look at my own bought-new watches, the bracelets start to get gross very quickly.
I've noticed that my silicone strap gets whitish gunk on it pretty quickly, and I wipe it off with alcohol wipes. But bracelets hide the gunk.
How do you clean bracelets? I use tooth picks and wipes, but you can't get everywhere, and you probably don't want to remove all the lubrication. I've used ultrasonic for eyeglasses, but the thick petroleum jelly nature of bracelet goop would hold up fine to ultrasonic.
The other week I took apart two short bracelets for a model of watch that I had bought two of at auction and attempted to assemble a single bracelet that would fit me. This required more than usual disassembly, and I saw that the goop was way down in the holes for the cotter pins and everywhere.
Maybe I need to try a combination of carcinogenic acetone in an ultrasonic cleaner for 24 hours, and then re-lubricate with machine oil? Or just buy new bracelets.

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I would recommend sonic jewelry cleaners. I bought one for my wife, and it comes with a watch band attachment that allows the watch case to be suspended above the water, while the band is submerged. Or you can just remove the strap altogether. Quite gross to see what comes off my bands...

Something like this should work well: https://www.amazon.com/iSonic%C2%AE-Digital-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-D3800A/dp/B0009OOZEY
I've owned several of these for eyeglass cleaning. They don't last very long. At one point I priced a sturdier stainless steel one like they use at eyeglass stores, but it was pretty pricey.

Although I'm sure that they would remove a lot of crud, I don't think they would clean the bracelets of used watches. The stuff in there is either petroleum jelly thick or hardened into a plaque.
I've found that soaking the bracelets in very hot (nearly boiling) water will help with gunk removal. If the bracelet is all stainless steel, it shouldn't be harmed at all.
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