How to Clean a Cuckoo Clock

Cuckoo clocks are an iconic part of German culture. They’re often found in the homes of all sorts of Germans, ranging from the middle class to royalty. The cuckoo clock’s big, round face features an image usually representative of Germany and its culture. But what do you do when it starts to look worn out? In this blog post, we will discuss how to clean a cuckoo clock.

The steps for cleaning your cuckoo clock will depend on its type. For example, suppose your cuckoo clock has gears or pendulum weights with moving parts (such as those seen in mechanical clocks). In that case, you should be very careful not to touch these surfaces with any liquid-based cleaners like alcohol or acetone because this could cause damage that’s difficult to fix. Read on to know more!

how to clean a cuckoo clock

8 Household Items You Can Use to Clean a Cuckoo Clock:

1. Water and Dish Soap:

Mix a little water and dish soap using a clean, soft cloth. Wipe down the moving parts of your cuckoo clock, being sure to wipe from the inside out so as not to miss anything. This is safe for wooden clocks as long as you do not let too much water sit on any one area for an extended amount of time, as this may warp the wood. Any amount of water on plastic parts should be avoided as it can deteriorate and break down the material over time, especially if left for several hours or more.

2. Vinegar and Baking Soda:

Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda with a clean, soft cloth. Wipe down the moving parts of your cuckoo clock, being sure to wipe from the inside out so as not to miss anything. This may require more than one application, depending on how harmful the buildup is before you notice that your clock is not ticking anymore or it has a hard time cuckooing.

3. Distilled White Vinegar:

Spray your clock with distilled white vinegar being sure to hit all moving parts, wipe down those areas with a clean, soft cloth as you did before and let the white vinegar sit for ten minutes, then wipe it away with a fabric that is damp but not wet. Vinegar can be used on anything made of plastic, and it will not warp the material over time.

Vinegar Can Be Used on  Anything Made of Plastic

4. Motor Oil:

Place a few drops of motor oil on all moving parts of your cuckoo clock. Do not let the cuckoo bird pick up any excess oil that may fall off of the clock case; wipe off any oil that it comes into contact with. Motor oil is best for wooden clocks, preventing them from drying out and becoming warped over time.

5. WD-40:

Spray your cuckoo clock with WD-40; avoid getting it on any part of the bird or other moving parts. Wipe off any excess with a soft cloth, allow to dry for about 10 minutes, then wipe away again with a clean cloth that is only damp and not wet. This is a good way to remove the sticky residue that may have been left behind by spilled food or drink.

6. Canned Air:

Use canned air to get inside your cuckoo clock mechanism and clean out any dust or dirt accumulated over time; make sure not to shift anything around too much if you see something move while using the canned air. This should be used with great care to avoid breaking any components within the clock.

7. Cotton Swabs:

Use cotton swabs to get inside any crevices or small areas that you may not be able to get into with anything else. You can also use these on plastic components of your cuckoo clock but avoid using them on the bird figurine as we doubt it would agree with its eyes. These are especially helpful for cleaning out the small holes in and around the bird figurine and other moving parts.

8. Stain Remover:

Spray a little stain remover on a clean, soft cloth and wipe down any stains from your cuckoo clock case. Suppose you notice any areas that are still stained even after the stain remover has been wiped away.

In that case, you can use a small amount of regular rubbing alcohol to get into deeper pores of the wood or other material. If you can’t get any stains out, then it may be time to consider buying a new clock case; just make sure that the type of stain doesn’t indicate if the wood is real or not before making your decision about purchasing a new case.

Spray a Little Stain  Remover on a Clean

Step by Step Guide: How to Clean a Cuckoo Clock 

Step 1:

Take apart your cuckoo clock. Have a designated area to keep each piece of the clock in, and this will help when you are putting it back together. You can use or make a box with small compartments or even an egg carton!  

Step 2:

Wipe down every individual piece that came off of your cuckoo clock with a wet cloth. Ensure you get every part of the piece, including the inside, where dust and other filth can easily accumulate.

Step 3:

Fill up a bowl or sink with warm water. Add some mild dish soap, just a few drops to help break down any grease and grime on your little parts. Next, immerse all your cuckoo clock pieces. Make sure you get the hands-on dials and any other moving parts of your clock. Let them soak for at least thirty minutes before you go to the next step.

Step 4:

Take each piece out of the soapy water and use another clean, wet cloth to wipe the soap off. Ensure to get rid of all the grime, grease, and dirt left behind by the soap suds!

Your Cuckoo Clock Broken Fix

Step 5:

Allow your cuckoo clock pieces to dry before you put them back together. Then, if you are in a rush, you can use a hairdryer in the cold setting or fan them out in front of a table fan.

Step 6:

Put all the pieces back together! If you have an egg tray to hold each piece, it will be a lot easier. Make sure that all the pieces are put back together in the right order. If you have a dial piece, check to ensure there is no rust on it and that the little bell still dings whenever it should!

Step 7:

Now put your cuckoo clock wherever you usually keep it. It’s a lot harder to clean a cuckoo clock than it is to take it apart, so make sure you clean yours at least once a year! If you need a new cuckoo clock, there are many options for you to choose from.

You can choose from having a clock that plays an actual song instead of a cuckoo or simply one that does not play anything at all. These mechanical clocks are made using base metal and real wood, making them very sturdy. Many of these models run on simple wind power, giving them a vintage feel and look!

Some Tips and Suggestions:

1. Put the clock in a plastic bag. This allows you to keep your fingers clean and keeps everything else contained if something should spill or leak.

2. Turn off any lights that will be on while you’re working with the cuckoo clock. Light bulbs can explode when broken, so your priority has eyes that still function when you’re done.

The Cuckoo Clock Light Bulbs  Can Explode When Broken

3. Lay down newspaper or a drop cloth to collect whatever leaks may happen.

4. Put an old sheet on top of the paper and spread it out as much as you can. This will protect your other furniture if anything falls over, and it makes for easy clean-up because there’s less mess to deal with at once.

5. Keep the cuckoo clock away from other items. You don’t want to risk damage to anything but the cuckoo clock if it should fall over.

6. Work as slowly as possible. The more quickly you work, the more likely it is that something will spill or leak, and you’ll find yourself working twice as hard because of a spillage instead of a leak.

7. Wear old clothes, and cover your hands with plastic gloves or kitchen gloves to keep from getting anything on your skin. If you don’t have any gloves, put on an old shirt that you’re willing to throw away afterward because it will likely get covered in cuckoo clock cleaner and dirt when you clean the clock.

8. Put on eye protection. This will protect your eyes if anything happens, like a flying glass part of an item that falls over.


To clean a cuckoo clock, first, remove the weights and pendulum. Next, take off any decorative front panel that might be covering the movement itself. This will allow you to see everything clearly without getting your hands dirty or having them covered in dust when you’re done cleaning.

Finally, use a damp cloth with soap to wipe down all of the metal surfaces inside and outside of the clock case before reattaching parts and making sure there is plenty of lubricant for moving parts on both sides of each gear wheel.

Once finished, make sure to hang up your beautiful timepiece so everyone can enjoy its beauty! We hope this blog post on how to clean a cuckoo clock has been helpful. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Jennifer Branett
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