To a newly engaged bride, few things are as satisfying as watching the light bounce off her new ring, so it’s only natural to wonder how to prolong that sparkle.
There are dozens of products on the market that claim to keep your diamonds sparkling, but why not focus on cleaning your diamond ring at home for free?
In this article, not only will we give you enough ways to keep your ring sparkling long after the wedding, but we’ll also touch on a few precautions and aftercare to avoid any damage to your ring whether you have a traditional diamond or a non-traditional dazzling diamond gemstone rings.
For a little background before we begin, we’re going to give you a quick lesson in gemology.
The Mohs scale ranks hardness and is used to classify minerals. It runs from one to ten, and the position of a mineral on the scale depends on the ability to scratch other minerals rated lower. For example, a diamond is a ten – it’s the hardest mineral. Gold and silver are around 2.5. Opal, a commonly used (though non-traditional) engagement stone, is a 6.5, while emeralds and cubic zirconias are around an 8.
Now that you know a little more about how gemstones can vary in their composition, you can understand why they have to be cleaned differently as well.
5 Ways to Clean Your Diamond Ring Safely
Your ring is bound to get dirty with everyday use – unless you only wear it on special occasions, but where’s the fun in that? You found the love of your life – flaunt that fact!
However, the accumulation of hair products, lotion, makeup, soap, and any other daily materials will dull your ring’s shine.
1. Warm Water & Dish-washing Soap
The best way to clean a diamond ring – regardless of the type of metal – is to soak it in warm water and dish-washing soap for about 30 minutes. Instead of soap, you can also use shampoo or body wash. Brush the ring with a soft toothbrush and rinse it under warm running water, being careful not to drop the ring into the sink or down the drain! To be doubly sure, block off the pipe.
To dry the ring off, avoid anything with small fibers or lint, as they may scratch the metal or cling to the prongs. Instead, use something made of cotton or let it air dry.
Ideally, it would be best if you did this about once or twice a month to keep your ring looking its best.
2. Windex+Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
If your ring is silver or gold, a 50/50 solution of Windex and hydrogen peroxide will also work. Soak your ring for about ten minutes; the Windex removes the dirt while the hydrogen peroxide will take care of any bacteria. After the soak, use a soft toothbrush to scrub away any residue.
Rinse with warm water and dry with a cotton cloth or let it air dry.
3. Steam Cleaners
Jewelry steam cleaners use high-pressure steam, much like pressure cookers – for a very different purpose. In less than ten seconds, they remove dirt, oil, lotion, makeup, hair products, and anything else from your ring. All you need is water, so your initial purchase is the only real purchase you need to make.
Make sure to research how to use a steam jewelry cleaner, as there are inherent risks in combining steam and pressure.
4. Hand Soap (for softer gemstones)
For non-traditional such as emeralds and opal, and other softer gemstones, use hand soap instead of dish soap. Dish soap may have degreasing enzymes that are too harsh. Similar to the first method mentioned, soak your ring in room-temperature water and a bit of hand soap for around five to ten minutes.
Using a small, lint-free cloth, work the solution into the ring, as a toothbrush may be too rough for a softer stone, then rinse the ring under room-temperature water and let it air dry or pat it dry with the cloth.
5. Beer (really!)
If you have a solid gold ring, you can use – wait for it – beer. Though it sounds crazy, this does work. Pour a bit of pale ale beer onto a soft cloth and rub it gently on the band. Make sure not to rub the beer on any gemstones or diamonds and do not use a dark beer. After you are done, use another cloth to dry the ring.
What NOT to Use to Clean a Diamond Ring
Not all household cleaning products are good for cleaning diamond rings. Here’s a list of things that you must not use.
Avoid Using Abrasive Household Cleaning Products
Avoid using household cleaning products like bleach or nail polish remover. Though they may conceptually seem like good ideas, these chemicals are too harsh and may break down the metals in your ring. Also, avoid abrasive products like toothpaste or baking soda – they can scratch the metals in your ring.
With that logic in mind – take your ring off if you’re using these products or cleaning something to avoid any collateral damage to your diamond ring. Try using gloves when cleaning. It’s great for protecting your skin and your ring!
Avoid Using Hand Sanitizer
Another compound to avoid, especially with its high level of use now, is hand sanitizer. Excessive use can make the finish on your ring’s metal dull a bit, but it will not be immediate.
The more prominent and worrisome issue is that with overuse, the prongs that secure your gemstone can loosen, which puts you at risk of losing your stone. The best way to avoid this risk and still keep your hands clean and sanitized is to remove your ring, apply the sanitizer, and wait until it dries before putting your ring back on your finger.
Avoid Using Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners at Home
Though ultrasonic jewelry cleaners may sound like a dream come true, you should probably avoid them unless they’re used professionally by your jeweler. These machines work by sending vibrations in the water and cleaning solution combo.
It doesn’t take long, but the waves can be vigorous enough to loosen diamonds from their setting or even have them fall out entirely. That’s why it’s best left to the pros – they can check to see if they’re still secure.
How to Take Care of Your Diamond Ring Properly
To keep your jewelry safe, it is essential to store it when you aren’t wearing it properly. Don’t just throw it on the top of your dresser or in a ring box – treat it with the respect it deserves. Most jewelry pieces come in a box or pouch, and surprisingly, they’re not just pretty keepsakes.
These items are usually fitted with whatever material your ring needs to stay in mint condition. For example, sterling silver should remain in an anti-tarnish bag and will often come wrapped in it. Ring boxes will usually be lined with felt or velvet to avoid any scratches to the metal or gemstones. Alternatively you can also use jewelry organizers.
Avoid packing multiple items in the same pouch or box – that’s asking for trouble. When traveling (maybe for a bachelorette party), make sure you pad your jewelry pieces to protect them from scratches or any other potential impact issues.
White gold is usually made from yellow gold mixed with white metal, like palladium or nickel, then plated with rhodium to give it the whitest possible appearance. Over time, this plating wears down. If you want your ring to look as good as new, sometimes no amount of steaming, soaking, or gentle scrubbing will restore the rhodium plating – that takes a chemical reaction that really should only be attempted by the professionals.
White gold items should be plated every one-two years, and the average cost is under $100. The process is speedy – most jewelers can do it while you wait!
Take Advantage of Warranty and Free Check-ups
Most reputable jewelry stores will offer warranties, free check-ups, and professional cleanings on items purchased from them at regular intervals. It would help if you had your fine jewelry checked every six to twelve months and cleaned often.
Make sure you trust the jeweler handling your ring – even if it was not expensive, it is of great sentimental value, and you do not want it falling into the wrong hands. Look for certified jewelers.
Non-traditional jewelry doesn’t necessarily always fall into the fine jewelry category, as not all gemstones are considered “precious.” In that case, cleaning can be less frequent and does not have to be done professionally, but proper maintenance and aftercare are still necessary. Now go show off that clean diamond ring!