Coronavirus: The Importance Of Cleaning Your Jewellery

Lady washing hands and rings and the discussion on Coronavirus the importance of cleaning your jewellery.


We all now know the guidelines about washing our hands with soap and water more frequently during the Coronavirus pandemic we now find ourselves in.

We are also well versed in the importance of avoiding touching surfaces which may well be harbouring the virus. 

But what may not have been talked about in the Coronavirus Covid-19 information for the public is the crucial importance of cleaning your jewellery, particularly the rings on our fingers. 

After all, our rings come into contact with many surfaces throughout the day and could well be harbouring hidden bacteria and viruses. Cleaning our jewellery is therefore very important and should be part of any daily hygiene routine. 

Our Jewellery Could Be Harbouring Bacteria and Viruses

The Crucial Importance of Cleaning Your Jewellery?

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, the public all over the world have been introduced to new hygiene guidelines in order to protect ourselves and others.  We are told to wash our hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, many times throughout the day.

We also know that, when soap and water aren’t available, we should use hand sanitiser with a minimum alcohol of 70%.

We are well versed in the importance of avoiding touching surfaces which may have been ‘contaminated’ with the virus.

Public places have been deep cleaned and repeatedly so. Experts believe that the Coronavirus can remain on surfaces for many hours – even up to 72 hours on some surfaces such as stainless steel. Unfortunately, this factor contributes to the spread of the disease.

But we often forget to regularly clean our jewellery, particularly the rings on our fingers which come into contact with many surfaces over the course of a day.

A Nurse Calls For People To Ensure Jewellery Is Cleaned Thoroughly

A health care worker from Australia caught the attention of the world’s media, in a Facebook post, when she called for people to start washing their jewellery every night.  

She warned that jewellery harbours germs, and that includes the dreaded Coronavirus that we are all so diligently trying to suppress the spread of at the moment. 

Removing Our Rings To Protect The Vulnerable

It was recognised some weeks ago that removing a large ring could be another beneficial step to helping in the process of spreading the disease.

In the lead up to the Coronavirus outbreak, several photographs emerged in the press and on the Kensington Royals Instagram account featuring the Duchess of Cambridge fulfilling engagements, minus her engagement ring. On a visit to a hospital in January the Duchess had removed her engagement ring prior to her visit.

This was commented on that it highlighted strict hygiene guidelines for visitors to hospitals. Keeping jewellery-wearing to a bare minimum when visiting hospitals helps to protect people at a higher risk of catching the dreaded COVID-9 virus. 

Ideally, we should remove our rings and leave them off whilst we are all trying to do our bit to halt the spread of this virus. 

Of course it’s not just us ladies that need to remove our rings, men should too as often men wear one or more rings on their fingers. 

The Problem Caused By The Repeated Washing of Our Hands

Person washing their hands at the sink with running water

Whilst the fact that we are washing our hands more often is benefitting in halting the spread of the virus, many of us are noticing that our hands are becoming dry, even to the point of becoming cracked.

Cracked and open skin could lead to infections in itself. Obviously this is a small price to pay in the larger scheme of things.

The result is that we are now using more hand cream to counteract our dry hands. Creams and lotions can easily collect under our rings and in the crevices of claws and create a breeding ground for germs.

But it is not just lotions that collect under our rings. Skin mixed with natural oils from our skin can also accumulate. 

We are not yet sure if germs living on rings can lead to the spreading of the virus. But studies quoted in the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States state that the skin underneath rings may contain a higher level of germs than similar areas of skin without rings on. 

A rather stomach-churning picture, we know … hence the cleaning of our rings should be paramount in our hygiene routine at any time, but is clearly hugely beneficial during this pandemic. 

Chlorine Based Sanitisers Aren't Always the Answer

A collection of debris hiding under the stone or the claws in a ring needs to actually be removed. This is best done by washing it away with a soapy solution, rather than an application of sanitiser which will sit on the top of the debris.

Sanitisers should also never be used with porous gemstones such as turquoise or pearls. Neither water or sanitisers should be used on marcasite jewellery.

The alcohol or chlorine-based santisers may also damage gold over time as it can react with the copper alloy in the gold.

Lady pumping hand sanitiser onto her hands

Soap May Not Be the Perfect For Our Jewellery Either

While soap and water are excellent for removing the debris and germs from a surface, it can also leave a residue on your beautiful gemstone jewellery.

The residue can dull the stone. Indeed many of us think our jewellery is clean when we bathe and shower with them on and this is the main reason why most people never take their jewellery off! 

However, the soap residue left on gemstones means the light can’t pass through the stone as effectively and therefore it loses a degree of sparkle. 

Our customers are always surprised when they remove their rings and we give them a quick clean to see how much they sparkle afterwards. 

The Best Way To Clean Jewellery

Take Your Rings Off To Clean Them

The only way of thoroughly cleaning our jewellery is by taking it off. It is the only way to reach all the nooks and crannies.

This includes cleaning behind any stones, around the clasps and around the settings, etc

How You Should Clean Your Rings

It’s essential to ‘wash away’ the germs and debris collected under and around your rings.

The best way to do this is to use a gentle dish washing detergent, rather than soap. As previously mentioned, this is because it won’t leave a film on any stones, as soap may do.

Add the detergent to warm water and leave your rings or other jewellery to soak for a few minutes. Take a very soft brush (a baby’s toothbrush or a makeup brush is ideal for this) and brush under the stone, around the claws and arms of the ring with circular motions and prodding to reach every area. The same is true of our earrings and pendant – which we inadvertently touch many times a day.

Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Bands, like wedding bands, can be washed in the same way or more frequently wiped throughout the day with anti-bacterial wipes but I would also rinse with water afterwards and dry with a soft cloth. This is ideal for key-workers who will probably be wearing only their wedding bands anyway

How Often Should We Clean Our Rings?

It has been advised, particularly during this Coronavirus outbreak, to remove your rings and wash them separately every time you wash your hands.

While this may be the most foolproof way of stopping the spread of infection, in my humble opinion, it probably won’t be done for several reasons and may not be ideal.

For one, it is easy to forget to pick our rings up after we’ve washed our hands while out in a public place and for them to be misplaced or stolen. If you have ever experienced this, as I have, you probably will never want to do it again. 

There is also a risk, albeit small, that the ring will fall down the plug, land on the floor and roll away (why do things always seem to roll for miles when dropped?), and generally, be misplaced when out and about.

I believe, and it is just my opinion, that once a day is easily do-able and would help to stop the spread of this dreadful disease.  

Should We Just Not Wear Our Rings During The Pandemic?

Maybe the safest thing we can do is to remove our rings and to leave them at home while this pandemic is rife. In an article in the USA TODAY, Rochelle Walensky, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggested this very thing.

What About Your Watch?

Your watch is also important to clean.

While it may not come into contact with as many surfaces as a ring on a hand, we still lean against many surfaces during the course of day if we are sleeveless or we touch our watch many times, for instance if we need to pull our sleeve back to read the time. 

We also handle the watch just putting it on and removing it each day

Man Cleaning watch with Antibacterial Wipe

A metal bracelet can be wiped with an anti-bacterial wipe as can the case and dial, being careful not to get it too wet and ensure it is dried thoroughly immediately with a soft cloth.

In our jewellers we change many batteries throughout the course of a working day and they can carry a build up of dirt and debris. 

Do not submerge your watch in water to wash it (even a waterproof watch should not be submerged in warm water due to the temperature change).

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