Cleaning a clock face or dial depends on its type of material. Antique clock faces require extra care in cleaning compared to the newer ones. In most cases, cleaning antique clock dials should be left to the expertise of a professional restorer. This ensures proper care and reduces the risk of damage. La Pada explains that regular clock dials can be cleaned with little or no polish or cleaning solutions.
First check the materials that the clock is made of before deciding if polish, cleaning solutions or water is the acceptable cleaning solution to use. Normally, a soft cloth, cotton balls or buds can clean clock dials efficiently. Avoid using commercial glass cleaners or cleaning solvent with strong acid content, as these substances can destroy metal and damage your brass or silver clock cases and dials.
According to The Henry Ford, Benson Ford Research Center, instead of cleaning solutions or polish, it is better to create a mild paste. The research center recommends combining gilders whiting chalk with a 1:1 mixture of ethyl alcohol and distilled water. This is a safe mixture to use in cleaning most clock dials. Use no pressure in applying this paste to the clock dials to avoid damage. Remember to keep clocks, especially metal ones, in low humidity areas to keep them from unwanted moisture, dust accumulation, metal corrosion and eventual damage.