Keeping clean is a very important part of our everyday routine; as well as during these trying times. We all know to wash our hands for 20+ seconds and to use hand sanitizer when soap isn’t readily available. But is all this washing and sanitizing safe for our everyday jewelry pieces? Is it causing our rings harm?
Before we can answer that question, we need to learn about the two different types of hand sanitizer: alcohol-based and non-alcohol-based. According to jewelry experts, alcohol-based hand sanitizer poses little to no risk to our beloved jewelry (except pearls- but we will get to that later). However, the non-alcohol-based sanitizer usually contain chlorine compounds. These compounds can cause tarnishing to silver and potential cracking in low karat golds. Just like chlorine, we never suggest exposing jewelry other potentially harsh chemicals, as they can be damaging (read more about our Jewelry Care in our FAQ section here).
When it comes to hand soaps, it’s a little different. Some hand soaps contain abrasives to exfoliate while cleaning – these types of soaps can cause damage to the surface of your jewelry as well as cause the rhodium plating on white gold to wear away faster. Other soaps should pose no risk.
As for gemstones in our jewelry, if there are no abrasives in your alcohol-based hand sanitizer, there shouldn’t be damage to your harder gemstones. They may have a residue causing them to temporarily lose their shine (nothing a clean with jewelry cleaner or gentle soap can’t fix at the end of the day!). Pearls on the other hand, should not be in contact with any chemicals, as they can lose their luster and change color.
In conclusion, most jewelry will be just fine. If you’re ever worried about the potential of damage that could happen, taking your jewelry off before washing your hands with chemicals is always a safe bet! Just don’t forget to clean your jewelry as well to help stop the buildup of bacteria. Also don’t hesitate to stop by our store at Warren Jewellers for a professional cleaning at anytime (once we are open for in-store shopping again).