From the moment your engagement ring leaves its box and becomes a daily staple in your wardrobe, it’s hard to keep it clean and sparkling. And let’s be real, you’re spending your days looking down at it, as it twinkles in the light, shines bright as you type away at the office, and reflects and refracts as you scroll through Instagram, no doubt posting frequent photos of it. From everyday wear to exercise, hand washing, daily beauty regimes and more, your ring will naturally begin to lose its magical luster. In short, your ring needs proper care and cleaning, likely more often than you thought. We tapped some industry experts on the do’s and don’ts of cleaning your ring from home to keep it dashingly clean for many years to come, and as you wash your hands religiously during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Invest in ring dishes, stands, or a chic vide poche and keep them scattered around your house, particularly near your sinks. They’ll not only serve as a visual reminder to remove your rings before cooking and hand-washing, but will ensure you have a safe place to stash your ring in a hurry. We don’t always plan for a messy kitchen spill—but it’s smart to have a safe place your ring to avoid exposing it to strong cleaning products. Keep in mind, even paper towels can scratch the metal on your ring, so it’s best to remove your new bling once you have a secure place to store it.
The same can be said for working out and cooking. Caitlin Mociun, founder of Mociun, recommends “taking off your rings when sleeping, bathing, cooking, or exercising. If you wouldn’t wear a silk blouse to do the activity, don’t wear your ring.” 1stdibs’ Fine Jewelry and Fashion Sales Manager, Maya Khalil, recommends that “all jewelry should be immediately removed first thing when you get home to protect your pieces. If you do want to wear [your fine jewelry] at home, make sure to remove it during daily household tasks that might damage the stone or the setting.”
Know Your Bling
If you are not home or don’t have a safe place to store your ring, it’s important to understand the durability of your stone and metal. Diamonds and platinum are a lot more resilient than gemstones, like rubies, emeralds, or yellow gold. Rings with lots of small pavé stones and prongs are also more susceptible to damage and loose stones getting knocked out of place. Khalil states, “A few simple measures, such as cleaning your ring, ensuring the security of the setting, and avoiding contact with potentially damaging substances are hugely beneficial to the life and longevity of your most prized jewelry items.” One key, Khalil points out, is to isolate parts of our daily routines that could damage a piece. “Never spray perfume or use lotion on pearls, soft stones, and Sterling Silver,” she says. Another expert tip? Keep a secure pouch on you at all times. This way, you can quickly store your ring away at work, for that spur of the moment hike, or even a day trip to the beach.
Keep It Simple
Even if you are good about going ring-less, you’ll still need to clean your ring often from everyday wear and the dirt and debris that it collects over time. The safest way to clean your ring at home for all types of stones and metals is a simple: dishwashing soap and warm water. Shalini Kasliwal, the CEO of Sanjay Kasliwal and the Gem Palace, explains, “I find the best way to clean my diamonds is with good old dishwashing soap and water. I put my ring in a tea ball infuser, and then soak it in a bowl of warm water. Afterwards, I just rinse the diffuser under running water. This is a safe and secure way to clean your ring without worrying about accidentally dropping it down the drain.”
Marisa Perry, co-founder and owner of her namesake label adds, “make sure to use clear dishwashing soap (not creamy) and a soft tooth brush to get into all of the nooks of the ring and underneath the center stone.” The simpler the cleaning solution, the better.
Use the time cleaning your ring to inspect it as well. You’re looking for for any loose stones or unwanted scratches that may need repair. “Be sure to routinely check prongs with a loupe, magnifying glass, or by running your finger over the top for smoothness,” Kasliwal adds. “This small step goes a long way to ensure that the stone stays in place and that nothing will get lost or damaged while cleaning the ring, or during daily activities.”
“Do check to see if your stones are still secure in their settings after cleaning, and always clean over a cloth or bowl of water in case a stone does fall out,” Mocuin concurs.
The Definite Don’ts
Depending on your stone, you may have some more flexibility with cleaning solutions— but with gemstones, extra precautions need to be taken. Mociun notes the major don’t when it comes to cleaning any bling: “Do not, under any circumstance, use an abrasive cleaner. No toothpaste or anything gritty. No bleach, chlorine, or ammonia. Do not clean your jewelry with anything you would use to clean your bathroom or your kitchen!” These stronger cleansers can damage the stone and the finish of the metal, and lead to major, unwanted repairs.
Make It a Habit
Get into the groove of cleaning your ring once every couple of weeks, or once a month at the very least. “If you find that your ring is not beautiful and sparkly as you like it, you can clean it weekly,” Mocuin says. “Our home cleaner, among others, is gentle enough to use every day if you really wanted to, but I personally home clean once a month—and professionally service every 6 months.” Mocuin also notes that “there are certain diamond cuts, table cuts for example, that look dirtier faster; be sure to clean those pieces more often. When there is too much build-up of gunk and dirt, it can require un-mounting the stone to clean it properly, which can also cause damage.” Our tip? Set a recurring reminder in your calendar each month to clean your ring at home.