We are now using hand sanitizers more than anyone ever thought possible because of the world pandemic. But despite keeping us safe, you may want to keep your jewelry away from your jewelry.
Hand sanitizers contain a high percentage of alcohol, which, unfortunately, is not safe for your jewelry, especially jewelry made with gemstones. So, if you were jewelry made of precious metals and gemstones, you may want to remove it whenever you have to leave the house or use the sanitizer.
This article addresses everything you need to know about hand sanitizers and their effects on your diamond rings. So, keep reading.
Is hand sanitizer bad for diamond rings? Why?
If you use your hand sanitizer with your engagement ring on, you may not notice any changes or damage to the ring immediately, and the gemstones/ diamonds will continue to sparkle. Unfortunately, the hand sanitizer leaves a filmy residue on the diamond with every use, meaning that the diamond loses its sparkle over time. The good news is that the dulling isn’t permanent, and the diamond’s original shine would be restored eventually.
If your engagement ring is made of white gold, you will be happy to know that the sanitizer is not strong to remove the tough, though thin, a layer of rhodium. However, the chemicals in the sanitizer will dull not only the stone but also the brilliance and the shine of the white gold. Unfortunately, restoring the white gold shine is pretty much impossible, and that piece of jewelry would have to be re-plated.
To avoid damage to the precious metals or the diamond, you should take off the ring if you will be using your hand sanitizer every few minutes. It’s safer to remove the ring, use the sanitizer, then put it back once your hands are dry.
Is hand sanitizer bad for yellow or rose gold rings? Why?
Your hand sanitizer will have a different impact on your ring, depending on the metal it’s made of.
Generally, most the alcohol-based hand sanitizers are safe around jewelry, and they don’t cause much damage. But when it comes to the non-alcohol-based sanitizers, for example, the ones that contain germicides made of chlorine, the sanitizer would cause significant damage to your ring because the free chlorine radicals are highly reactive, and they will cause damage and tarnishing on your jewelry, especially jewelry made of sterling silver.
If you have a yellow gold ring, you will be happy to know that yellow gold is the form of gold that is the least-susceptible to any form of damage from the alcohol-based hand sanitizer. And there will be no film formed or tarnishing on the yellow gold ring.
On the other hand, rose gold rings are rather highly susceptible to hand sanitizers regardless of what they are made of. The primary reason for this is that rose gold is made with copper, and the chemicals in the sanitizer will react with the copper, damaging your ring’s rose gold hue.
Is hand sanitizer bad for platinum rings? Why?
You will be happy to know that platinum is one of the stronger, fairy safe metals used in jewelry making.
So, if your engagement or wedding ring is made of platinum, the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will not result in damage.
Platinum doesn’t react with the chemicals in the sanitizer.
That said, it’s best to avoid exposing your platinum ring to the hand sanitizers frequently because the chemicals in the sanitizer would still speed up the rate of wear and tear on the ring, causing the development of a patina.
Is hand sanitizer bad for silver rings? Why?
If your ring is made of sterling silver, you’d have to be very cautious when sanitizing your hands.
In as much as you are trying your best to be safe, sterling silver is highly susceptible to tarnishing, meaning it will tarnish if you keep it on while using the hand sanitizer.
Also, the damage suffered by your sterling silver ring will be worse if you use chlorine-based sanitizers – sterling silver reacts with the compounds in chlorine, and the results aren’t great.
What to do if your rings get sanitizer?
Even though you need your hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean on the go, the potential damage caused by sanitizers doesn’t just affect your hands; it harms your rings too.
The biggest issue with the hand sanitizer has to do with the alcohol used. Although it is an effective germ killer, alcohol is quite corrosive, and it will slowly erode the metal finishes o your engagement ring, shortening the ring’s life significantly. So, if you have a ring with a white gold finish, exposure to alcohol in the sanitizer will destroy its nice finish while dulling the diamond.
Besides the effects on the metal finishes, the erosion of the finishes will expose the prongs, meaning that the stones might loosen over time, forcing you to incur high costs in repairing the ring.
If you suspect that your ring has been damaged by the constant exposure to the chemicals in the hand sanitizer, do the following:
Take the ring to the jeweler for restoration. Most of the reputable jewelers offer reliable, professional cleaning services, and the service may be free if you bought the ring from the store.
If you cannot take it to the jewelry store, soak your ring in warm, soapy water. Use gentle dish soap, and it looks heavily tarnished; brush it using a soft-bristled brush, then rinse off the suds. When satisfied, dry it gently using a soft, microfiber/ lint-free cloth. Don’t use a paper towel.
Hand sanitizer might not be the best thing your ring comes in contact with. But despite being a precious piece of jewelry, your health is more important than that ring.
If you don’t want to worry about the ring, put away the ring for as long as necessary.
We’d advise you to remove it before every use of the sanitizer, but it really is impractical. Unless you are certain the hand sanitizer won’t damage the ring, keep it off.