Soap. Water. Dry. Repeat.

In a time where everyone is actually getting serious about washing our hands, you may have found yourself wondering: What is all this washing and sanitizing doing to my jewelry — especially my rings? 

We caught up with the pros at Sissy’s Log Cabin to answer these questions and gather some expert jewelry care tips.


Should I be cleaning my jewelry?

Absolutely. Just like our hands, jewelry can pick up and carry germs that can spread to our bodies by touch. A quick rinse and dry at the end of each day can help your hands and jewelry alike. Make sure to clean your earrings too, since they live so close to your face and, for some, are touched periodically throughout the day. 

The rule of thumb should be if you wouldn’t use it on your skin, then don’t use it on your jewelry. This goes for harsh chemicals like bleach and sanitizing wipes.


Can hand sanitizer remove the rhodium plating on my jewelry?

According to current industry knowledge, no. The CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content, which is perfectly safe for your jewelry. While the rhodium plating on most jewelry is thin, it is also very tough, able to withstand consistent sanitizing. 


Can hand sanitizer damage the stones in my jewelry?

You can use the “red, white and blue” rule to know which jewels can handle alcohol-based cleansers. If following this rule, rubies, diamonds and sapphires will be perfectly fine. But you should not use the same alcohol cleanser on gemstones such as emeralds, opals, etc. 


Will hand soap ruin my jewelry?

It depends on the kind of soap. Soaps containing abrasives, like Lava soap, can damage your jewelry’s surface and wear at the rhodium plating. As for non-abrasive soaps, they may leave a filmy residue on the surface of your jewels, but it’s nothing a cleaning soak can’t fix. It’s worth it to have clean hands now and shiny stones later.


What about pearls?

In the same way you should protect your pearls from beauty products like hairspray, perfume, etc., take off your pearl jewelry before applying hand sanitizer or soap. This will help avoid a loss of luster and changes in color. For example, white pearls can turn yellow if exposed to certain chemicals. It’s safe to return your pearls to your skin after a few minutes when your hands have dried. In addition to avoiding cleaning your pearls with hand sanitizer, make sure to use pearl-safe jewelry cleaning methods regularly to keep those germs away!


What is the best way to clean my jewelry and keep it safe?

Each day, rinse, gently scrub and dry your jewelry, especially rings and earrings. At least once per week, soak jewelry in jewelry cleaner to combat germs as well as residue buildup from soap and daily wear. Sissy’s Log Cabin is always happy to offer complimentary, professional cleaning options. When in doubt, give us a call. We’re here to walk you through the process. 


What does all of this mean for my health?

Your health is so important, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the bling you love. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not easily available. Follow these recommendations, along with others from the CDC, to keep your health as sparkling as your jewels.