I often get asked questions on how to keep a sparkly new engagement ring sparkling. Most wearers of engagement rings don't know that there is a little upkeep involved in keeping your ring clean.
Not just to keep it shining on but also for hygiene reasons. Prongs and settings easily collect dirt and grime and it is important to keep it clean, especially in the age of covid-19.
In this post I will cover:
My preferred method to clean your ring
What products and tools to use.
How often you should clean it.
Alternative methods of cleaning your ring.
First of all, a little information about engagement rings that I feel everyone should know before considering what type of ring or wedding band you would like to own:
Not all engagement rings are equal in their requirements for cleaning. Since engagement rings come in all shapes and sizes I am going to base my advice on a standard or classic style engagement ring. That is, a ring with a main centre stone such as a diamond, sapphire or topaz set in prongs or with openings in the setting. Large stones and rings with melee or intricate settings require a little more upkeep.
The methods I advise do not apply to "soft stones" such as opals or turquoise which I wouldn't recommend for daily wear unless you have researched those stones and know what they need from you.
Tools you'll need:
A soft bristle toothbrush – I actually use an old ultrasonic toothbrush and keep it charged
A face towel or dish cloth of some kind
Any mild dish soap
Optional – plastic bowl to work in
Ideally you'll want to do this in a plastic bowl of some sort. I don’t bother because I clean my ring whenever I remember (ADHD brain) and just do it over the bathroom sink.
I like to lay a microfibre towel over the bottom of the sink (can literally be any dish cloth of any kind). I do this for two reasons: it will protect your stone and ring if pops out of your hands from being all slippery from the soap and clanging around your basin and secondly it will stop it from falling down the sink plug hole and giving yourself a total nightmare of a day.
Diamonds maybe the hardest substance known to us but that doesn’t mean they aren’t able to split or chip if they happen to take a hard hit from getting dropped awkwardly. It’s unlikely, but take precautions.
I like to use a three-finger grip on my ring using my index, thumb and middle finger for stability. This grip means you don’t have to let go of the ring for any reason and can reach all angles. The potential for dropping your ring during this process is when you let go to change positions and get a better angle. Use one grip, as if you are pinching salt from a well and rotate your hand as necessary.
PSA – DO NOT plunge your ring under hot water if you have just been outside playing in the snow, there is the potential for your stone to crack from the rapid temperature change
Running the hot water tap, I place some dish soap on the toothbrush and hold the ring under the warm water to begin loosening some of the grime. Then I very gently start scrubbing my ring in circular motions. The idea is you want to spend about 5 minutes scrubbing your ring in a very gentle manner, don’t push up and into the stone as you don’t want to potentially loosen the setting or push out any melee you have set. The warm suds and toothbrush bristles will work their magic on any grime and then you simply rinse it under the hot tap.
Your ring is back to being as fresh and sparkly as when you first received it! Easy peasy.
You can apply this method to opaque stones too (because nobody wants a gunked up ring).
If you live in a hard water area you may notice a more rapid build up of grime simply due to the extra calcium in the water attracting dirt and oils. Sometimes this creates a plaque on moissanite which appears as an oil slick that can’t be removed by washing it. If this is the case for your moissanite, seek advice from a professional who works with moissanite for either a cleaning or advice on how to do it yourself.
How often do you need to clean your ring?When I tell my customers how often they should be cleaning their ring, it always seems to come as a surprise. I suggest they clean using the above method at least every two weeks. If you have a clear white stone such as a diamond or moissanite you will notice how quickly grime builds up and seemingly dulls your stone.
It really depends on your lifestyle though. If you never take your ring off for anything then you are going to be collecting lotions, cooking oils, food and dust and it’s going to need scrubbing frequently.
If you like to baby your ring you can probably get away with less frequent cleanings. Either way, you don’t want to be spreading and collecting germs; a standard basket setting is a harbour for lots of bacteria.
An alternative method that requires hardly any effort is filling up a plastic bowl with hot soapy water and simply dropping your ring in there to soak. Leave it for 15 minutes and then run it under the hot tap. This works for light grime but you will probably find it's not as effective on heavy build up.
I don’t recommend an ultrasonic for anyone with melee in their ring. The ultrasonic waves can loosen these tiny stones and vibrate them out of their settings. I only recommend an ultrasonic for good girls and boys who take their rings to get cleaned and inspected professionally every six months.
Extra info you might not know...
Oh you didn’t know you had to do get your ring checked up on by a pro? Yes, sorry to inform you that you should be manually checking your engagement ring every now and then for loose stones. Especially if you have a diamond or moissanite. A loose stone can cut through a fine prong in a matter of weeks.
You should be checking your ring after every hard knock on a cabinet or any surface. If you see the stone moving, take your ring off straight away as it’s only going to get worse. Take it to the jeweller who made it and get your prongs or setting tightened.
Honestly, most people don’t get their ring checked on except when they see their stone is loose which will probably happen at some point in your life and multiple times if you have a large centre stone. As always, preventative measures are better than losing a stone and paying out of pocket for it to be replace.
Be good to your ring, you paid a pretty penny for it and if you want it to last a lifetime it means a little tender loving care.