Maintaining Jewelry During A Viral Epidemic
As the new Covid-19 pandemic continues to accelerate, public health officials regularly and rightly remind us to wash our hands more frequently, and for at least 20 seconds each time we wash. Even if we are indoors all day, but just step out to bring the mail in or pick up a package that has been left at the door, or have just made a dash to the supermarket, we need to wash our hands immediately after. One area often overlooked in these reminders, however, is what we should do about our jewelry.
It seems clear that, given the extraordinary circumstances we are all living in, we should take all precautions possible to help stop the spread of Covid-19, which means cleaning our jewelry too. Yet, questions remain as to how to clean it, how often to clean it, what to clean it with, and if we should take it off to clean. These are important questions because knowing the correct way to wash our jewelry, helps us correctly follow health protocols. It will also prevent us from accidentally damaging a beloved piece of jewelry because we did not wash it properly. Indeed, with all the uncertainty and disappointing news every day, we don’t need cause for more disappointment. With that in mind, we have created this brief post on how to properly wash your jewelry along with a brief explanation as to why it’s important to do it this way.
Water and soap
The safest way to clean your rings is with plain old warm water and a mild dish soap.
Clean behind your stones in the mountings. If some dried or caked in soap, grease or hand lotion seems to stick to your rings, simply soak them for a little bit to loosen up the debris and then if necessary, gently brush them with a soft toothbrush. Note: Hand moisturizers play an important part in keeping our hands clean because they help prevent cracked or dry skin. When our skin is cracked or dry, it loses its ability to act as a barrier to bacteria, which in turn makes the skin less able to absorb the benefits of soaps and hand sanitizers. However, moisturizers also often leave a lot of debris behind stones and stone settings, which creates a prime environment for bacteria to collect and grow. Thus, while moisturizing our hands is important, so is cleaning the debris left behind by the moisturizer.
No hand sanitizers
Do not use hand sanitizers or cleansers on organic gems such as pearls or coral. Sanitizers contain alcohol, which can dry out gems and damage or crack their surface. Sanitizers can also damage porous stones such as opals and turquoise. And, in time, sanitizers can even loosen the prongs that hold your stones in place. In addition, repeated use of bleach and chlorine will break down a stone’s brilliance over time, causing it to lose its shine and luster. Bottom line: avoid using harsh cleaning materials to clean your jewelry.
Lastly, remember to always remove your jewelry before washing your hands. Bacteria can survive in the nooks and crevices of jewelry pieces, so if you wash your hands with your jewelry that has these bacteria, you’re not effectively cleaning your hands. (And please, if you put your rings on the sink while you wash your hands remember to close or cover the drain!)
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