how to clean your rings at home
Photograph by Bryan Huynh. Styling by Cherry Wang. Beauty Direction by Suzie Michael. Creative Direction by Brit Eccles. Hair & makeup by Natalie Venti. Manicure by Bernadette Thompson. Photography assistants: Jorian Kaveh Johnson and Justin Atkins. Model: Ayan Elmi.

Here’s How To Take Care of Your Rings Amidst All of Your Extra Hand Washing

It's pretty easy to give them a little TLC at home.

Although washing your hands has long been a very normal part of our everyday routines, the entire world is on heightened alert right now given the Covid-19 pandemic we find ourselves living through. As the virus is transmitted via the mouth, eyes and nose, experts have warned us to be vigilant about washing our hands (in addition to frequently using hand sanitizer) to help stop the spread of the infection. And if you’re an avid ring wearer, you might be wondering what all this water is doing to your favourite pieces. The good news is, there’s very little harm being done but it’s still good to give them a little extra TLC these days.

Yasemin Mutlu from Hestia Jewels recommends you take your pieces off, just to be safe. “It is always best to remove your jewellery before you wash your hands and to treat your pieces delicately. If your rings are made of solid gold, then there will be no changes. But because plated silver or alternative materials such as ceramic, silk, leather and enamel may be affected, particularly as some soaps contain abrasives, it is best to take them off before you wash your hands,” she says. “Keep in mind certain gemstones, such as corals, are also porous and will be affected by liquids and chemicals. Diamonds and gemstones can also be left with a filmy residue that is not permanent, but can dull the sparkle with time, so always be conscious of that as well.”

Katie Reusch, a brand spokesperson from Birks, agrees, saying, “Whenever you wash your hands it’s best to remove your rings entirely. Do this away from the sink in order to avoid losing any precious items down the drain.”

She also suggests removing your rings when using hand sanitizer, too, as “it may pose an issue for more fragile stones.”

However, whilst the majority of your stones will survive the extra washing unscathed, there is one you need to pay extra special attention to, says Mutlu. “Pearls require special attention as alcohol, perfumes and soaps can change the surface of the pearl, creating a loss of luster and colour. It is particularly important that you always remove jewellery with pearls before sanitizing or washing your hands.”

Both Mutlu and Reusch recommend getting a professional cleaning once life returns to normal. However in the meantime, to clean your rings at home, Reusch recommends using Birks’ Jewellery Sparkle, “a gentle formula that helps restore gold and silver jewellery to its original shine and beauty.”

Mutla also suggests “warm water, soap and gentle scrubbing for most pieces” though she warns that “certain gemstones and parts cannot be soaked in water or get wet.” If you’re unsure, reach out to your jeweller for advice. She adds that “silver pieces can be wiped down with silver polish every couple of weeks and should be kept in an enclosure when not worn to prevent them from oxidizing.” For vintage pieces, it’s best to “treat them the same as new because, regardless of whether it’s a modern or vintage heirloom, all jewellery deserves proper care.”