How To Care For Your Jewelry While Repeatedly Washing Your Hands

Expert Advice 
 
At the risk of sounding opportunistic or exploitive of the current COVID-19 situation, we still believe that people do have plenty of perfectly legit questions about caring for their rings and bracelets while washing and sanitizing their hands with increasing frequency. A little advice can be genuinely useful.
 
Are sanitizing gels or foams bad for my rings? We’ve long advocated using hand sanitizer instead of hand lotion as a lubricant for removing stuck rings. Because they are mostly alcohol – sanitizers quickly evaporate, leaving little, if anything, to gunk up stones and undercarriages. That said, frequent and vigorous rubbing may shorten the ‘life expectancy’ of gold and rhodium plating (IP plating, FYI, is considerably more durable which is why we often recommend these handsome IP plated bands for guys who do a lot of manual work or exercise). Do be sure to remind folks that replating is always a safe and fairly inexpensive option, however, removing rings while washing hands may be a better idea, provided you stash them in a safe place and don’t accidentally walk away from the sink without them!
 
But what about the stones? Most transparent gemstones, including of course lab-grown ones, can tolerate both soap and water and the alcohol in sanitizers. Opaque and more porous materials such as lapis, opal, turquoise or any organic materials may be susceptible to chemicals. For general cleaning, we’d recommend a diluted, fragrance-free mild dish soap but under current circumstances – removing them while washing is definitely best practice. Here too, advise people to avoid excessive rubbing that may loosen prongs or abrade facets. Walking around with a stash of clean lint-free cloths is surely a bit of a stretch, but treating your rings as-if is wise, and better yet, just air dry when practical.
 
What’s the best way to clean silicon? Whether it’s work or lifestyle, many people wear a silicon stand-in and save their fine jewelry for off-duty wear. When silicon gets dirty, our usual advice is applying a non-soap cleanser (such as those used for sensitive skin or baby products), gently rubbing with a non-abrasive cloth and air drying. Under normal circumstances, we’d definitely say keep silicon away from alcohol sanitizers but, given the $6 to $7.5 MSRP and many fun colors of these bands, it’s easy to think of them as a small price to pay in exchange for your health. Think of them as disposables, though they will certainly last much more than mere single-use.
 
And since we’re on the topic, a word about leather; especially for the die-hards who are scrubbing up to their elbows. Leather bracelets can be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth, but they are vulnerable to sweat and soaking. This is often regarded as normal weathering or even desirable as a well-earned character. Soap and sanitizers, however, are much more likely to cause actual discoloration, so if you are a wrists-n-all hand-washer, leave your leather cuffs at home. You can still maintain a rugged, boho or casual chic with plenty of other rubber, contemporary metal or natural stone bead bracelets. (Previously stated cleaning advice still applies!)

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