Like all furniture that stands in one place, a grandfather clock will gather dust and dirt. You can keep your grandfather clock clean with regular dusting but at least one a year you should give it a thorough cleaning. Be aware that unless you are qualified you should not attempt to clean the movement.
Step 1 – Remove the Clock
If you are comfortable with how your grandfather clock fits together and if it will help in a thorough cleaning exercise remove the pendulum and the weights and put them to one side. Remove the movement and set it down being careful not to tangle the chains
Step 2 – Clean the Back
Move the clock case away from the wall to clean the back. If the back is not finished it will be enough to give it a good brush down to remove all the dust. If you have not removed the movement be sure that you do not shake the clock
too much when trying to move it.
Step 3 – Cleaning the Glass Panels
Clean the glass panels using a non ammoniac cleaner applied to a soft cloth NOT directly to the glass. Clean both sides of the glass by opening the doors. Be aware that if you have removed the movement the doors may be heavy enough to cause the case to fall if opened and unsupported. If you have not removed the movement, ensure that your cleaning does not shake or vibrate the clock.
Step 4 – Cleaning the Woodwork
Use a good quality wax polish for all the wood surfaces. Apply the polish using a soft cloth and rub it into the wood polishing inside and out. Avoid getting this polish on to any glass elements and avoid shaking the clock if you have not removed the movement.
Step 5 – Weights and Pendulum
You can lightly dust the weights and pendulum and the clock face if you have not removed them and clean them more thoroughly if you have. In modern grandfather clocks the weights and pendulum are often lacquered to maintain the highly polished look—if this is the case with your clock, do not use a polish on them, a dry soft cloth should be enough.
Step 6 – Batons and Face
Lightly dust the batons and face with a soft cloth—on no account use a polish on the clock face.
Step 7 – Replace the Clock
If you have removed the movement, put the clock case back into position and ensure it is standing squarely. Replace the movement and secure it and then replace the weights and pendulum and restart the clock.
Step 8 – Re-Set the Time
This is not a simple matter of winding the batons round to the correct time. It is always best to move the batons clockwise and, if your clock is not fitted with a lever to disengage the chimes, to allow the clock to chime each half hour or quarter hour until the correct time is reached. To avoid this you can simply wait until the time that the clock is indicating before starting it again.
Introduce a regular weekly dusting for the clock, polish the wood every two or three months and clean the glass panels when required and you will maintain the clock at its best appearance and save having to do a special cleaning.