With engaged couples and newlyweds using more hand sanitizer than ever, it's a good time to review what chemicals are safe for engagement and wedding rings, and which can cause damage. Most capable of damaging rings don't do visible damage immediately, but can cause dulling and other problems over time. Hand sanitizer is one of them.
Hand Sanitizer for Wedding & Engagement Rings
Hand sanitizers are alcohol-based gels. These harsh chemicals are great for killing bacteria and viruses, but they can also have a detrimental effect on wedding and engagement rings. You may not notice it at first, but repeated exposure of rings to hand sanitizer causes gems and metals to become dull over time. In addition to a slow but steady dulling effect, the chemicals in hand sanitizers can wear down the materials used to hold the stone to the ring. If they are exposed to these chemicals often enough, the stone can loosen and fall out!
Protect your ring by taking it off and storing it safely before using hand sanitizers. But what about soaps? Is soap safe to use on wedding rings?
Antibacterial soaps can actually have the same effects as hand sanitizers! They dull the luster of metal and gemstones, and can wear out the very fine prongs that are used to hold the stone in place. The good news is, even soap that isn't labeled as "antibacterial" is still very effective at killing bacteria and viruses. That's why soap has worked for so long at helping to clean and prevent germs. What that means is, you can use hand soap to wash your hands while still wearing your wedding ring.
In fact, you can clean your ring by soaking it in sudsy water with mild soap. Just don't use the stuff labeled "antibacterial," which contains harsher ingredients!
What to Do With Your Wedding & Engagement Rings While Using Hand Sanitizer
If you don't want to take off your ring, we recommend ditching the hand sanitizer and using good old fashioned hand soap. While many people feel like hand sanitizer is more effective, this is just the result of effective marketing. Properly thorough hand washing is extremely effective! But if you must use hand sanitizer gels, you'll want to make sure your wedding or engagement ring is stored safely. Many people have a jewelry box or fireproof lockbox to store their rings. Wherever you store your ring, it's important to choose a place that you will remember, that is safe, and that you have easy access to.
Your engagement and wedding rings are precious -- you want them to last a lifetime, and beyond. For them to become heirlooms, you want to take good care of them. That means keeping them away from harsh chemicals like the ones in hand sanitizer! Same goes for house cleaning chemicals. Just store the ring when you're sanitizing, and use gloves when you're doing chores, and your ring will stand the test of time.