Under normal circumstances, this is not something I would really talk about... but these are not normal times. I hate to even mention the word COVID-19, but given what’s happening in the world right now, washing and sanitizing our hands is key to staying healthy. If you wear precious gold rings, you might be wondering what effect this constant hand washing and hand sanitizing has on the metal and stones.
I should mention that you should continue to wash, wash, and keep washing whenever possible to keep your hands clean. While your jewelry is precious, your health is even more so. That's why also cleaning the jewelry you wear on your hands is important.
Is Hand Sanitizer Bad for Platinum, Silver, and Gold Rings?
With all this extra hand washing and hand sanitizing, you are probably wondering how to clean your rings and if sanitizers or soaps can hurt them in any way.
Hand Sanitizer vs. Rhodium Plating
Rhodium plating is commonly used to guard white gold and silver jewelry against scratches. It also gives these precious metals their reflective white appearance. It is my understanding that hand sanitizers are not able to remove any rhodium plating from a piece of jewelry.
Hand Sanitizer vs. Yellow Gold Ring
However, hand sanitizers come in many varieties - including alcohol-based and non-alcohol-based. Alcohol-based sanitizers have no effect on metal rings. Non-alcohol-based cleaners typically use chlorine-based compounds as germicides. The chlorine could cause tarnishing of jewelry, especially if the piece is made of silver, low-carat gold, or nickel-based gold.
When it comes to hand sanitizer and 14k gold, the best recommendation we can make is stick to alcohol-based solutions. As long as you do that, your platinum, silver, and gold rings will likely stay in great shape.
Hand Sanitizer vs. Hand Soap
If you are using hand soap, be careful.. Some hand soaps contain abrasives that can damage the surfaces of your jewelry and cause the rhodium plating to be worn away. Again, we recommend using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.
Say Goodbye to Gunk
Think about all the debris that gets trapped in your prongs, between your soldered wedding and engagement rings, or really in any open surface on your jewelry. I almost never take off my rings to wash my hands, as I am always concerned that I will forget to put them back on. Unfortunately. this leaves a huge amount of gunk on them..
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is clean your jewelry more. We suggest at the end of every day you soak your rings in some warm dish washing soap for a few minutes, and then give them a good rinse.
The bottom line is: most of your jewelry will be fine, and - of course - your health comes first. We simply want to give you as much information as possible and remind you that you can always go to your jeweler for a professional cleaning. So, continue your great hand-washing and hand-sanitizing habits without putting your rings in jeopardy!