From the introduction of recommended personal hygiene practices to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, you have probably been (or should be) washing your hands very, very frequently. Perhaps a little more than you are used to. Yes, the constant dry-hand feeling and cracked knuckles have ensued…we’re all in the same boat here. Hey - it’s a necessity and the regular application of a good hand cream can work wonders.
But what’s happening with your jewellery while you are constantly using soap, sanitiser and other products on your hands? Have you thought about how to best take care of your jewellery and still be able to maintain a consistent hand-washing regime? And what about the fact that your jewellery could also very well be harbouring its own colony of bacteria and germs?
Well, we thought we’d give you some pointers so that your precious rings, bracelets and watches get the love and care (and sanitisation) they deserve in these crazy times!
- Avoid soap build up
If you wear rings, its more than likely that they are getting a good clean every time you wash your hands. This is good for germs, but be mindful that soap build up in your rings can have detrimental effects on the appearance of your lovely gemstones. Soap, especially bar soaps, can get stuck underneath ring settings, dulling the appearance of your sparklers. When you finish washing your hands, our advice is to take another few seconds to let the clean water run through and over your rings, helping to flush out any excess soap that may have snuck underneath your precious gems.
- Jewellery and hand cream don’t mix
With the constant washing, we know the skin on your hands can suffer. Applying hand cream helps, but covering your rings and bracelets in cream is a big no-no. Creams are an even bigger contender for product build-up in your jewellery, so we recommend removing rings and keeping bracelets away from your wrists when applying hand cream. Just make sure you pop them somewhere safe when they’re not on your fingers!
- Be wary of sanitiser
Being an alcohol-based product, hand sanitiser is a sound alternative when washing hands with soap isn’t possible. However, it can be too harsh for porous gemstones. We recommend keeping certain stones such as pearls, opals, turquoise and coral away from that trusty sanitiser, as they can absorb the alcohol which when evaporated, could lead to the stones drying out and cracking.
- Keep your jewellery clean
We know that germs can live on metal surfaces, which is why it’s a good idea to include regular cleaning of your rings and other jewellery items in your hygiene routine. You can’t go past a professional clean and hand-polish, so pop into store and allow our on-site jewellers to give your treasured pieces some TLC. We also recommend picking up one of our at-home jewellery cleaning liquid dips, which at an affordable price, can help to remove gunk and other nasties from the tiny crevasses in your jewels. Alternatively, try a bowl of warm, mild soapy water such as dishwashing detergent, and use an old toothbrush to get underneath ring settings and in between chain links. Rinse very well with fresh water and dry with a hairdryer.
- Avoid dermatitis
Lastly, you might be finding that the constant hand-washing is causing you to develop red, itchy or dry skin underneath where your rings sit. If this isn’t something you normally experience, it could be due to soap the build-up underneath your rings reacting with your skin. You can try wiggling your rings slightly upwards on your finger when rinsing your hands to allow the soap to escape, and then be sure to dry your skin in that area before pushing them back down your finger. This just helps to eliminate that wet environment that could be causing a reaction on your skin. Careful though, you don’t want to lose your rings down the sink! If that doesn’t work, try giving your rings a clean as outlined above, or going without your them (difficult, we know) for a week or two to see if that helps to settle it down.
We hope these pointers are helpful in taking care of your jewellery, your skin and your piece of mind during these troubling times and beyond. When it’s all over, we’ll all be well versed in hand-washing and jewellery cleaning…that we know for sure!
Got questions? Leave us a comment below.