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For most people, an engagement ring is usually the third most expensive thing they own after their house and their car.
And yet, we tend to maintain and clean our houses and cars far more often than they clean their rings. Part of this is due to the fact that cleaning a ring is one of those things that we tend to postpone for “just one more day”.
Also, the dirt on engagement rings builds up slowly and we usually begin to notice it a little too late.
So, how and why should you clean your engagement ring at home?
Let’s take a look.
Why should I clean my engagement ring?
Diamonds may be the hardest natural object on Earth and other precious gemstones used on engagement rings such as rubies and sapphires are close behind them, but that doesn’t mean they are invulnerable.
Far from the truth – given enough time and enough dirt, even the toughest diamond will start to wear and tear, and dirt is a big part of that.
The slow buildup of dirt compromises the gemstone’s surface. It makes it easier for other materials to scratch and damages it, and it can damage the stone over time.
Besides, the precious gemstone you have on your ring is not the only valuable part of it – the metal of the engagement ring, be it gold, silver, or platinum, can also be damaged easily. Dirt tends to build up mostly under the stone and between the prongs, and when that happens, the structural integrity of the ring can start getting compromised.
And sure, the ring or the setting can be replaced as long as the diamond is preserved by why go through all that trouble when you can simply maintain them with minimal effort?
How often should I clean my engagement ring?
Ideally, if your job, hobbies, and lifestyle don’t present too much risk and dirt to your engagement ring, you should clean it about once a week.
If your lifestyle or work exposes your ring to an above-average amount of dirt, then you might want to clean your ring more regularly. Then again, it’s even more advisable to take off your engagement ring every time you know it will be exposed to too much dirt.
In general, however, cleaning the ring well two or three times a month should be enough to keep your ring clean of the dirt build-up that comes from hand lotions, dust particles, and other sources.
In addition to that, visiting a professional jeweler for a quality clean-up at least once or twice per year is also strongly recommended. Most jewelers offer at least one free annual clean-up with every purchase so you can easily take advantage of that.
Can I use an ultrasonic cleaner on my engagement ring?
Ultrasonic cleaners need to be used with caution and consideration. Sometimes they can be the best solution for removing hard dirt in difficult-to-reach places on a ring. They don’t particularly affect diamonds in general but there are caveats to using these machines.
Ultrasonic cleaners work by creating vibrations in order to shake up and remove any dust and dirt from a piece of jewelry. The problem is that these vibrations can be harmful– they can affect the integrity of your ring, dislodge the stone from its setting, and can loosen the prongs. If the ring contains tiny diamond melees, like in pave settings, these little stones can be shaken loose.
Also, if the diamond is fracture-filled or contains inclusions, the vibrations can cause the stone to crack or chip.
So, always make a judgment call before using ultrasonic cleaners.
Related article – ultrasonic cleaners
What Not to Do When Cleaning Your Ring
There are lots of other things to keep in mind when cleaning an engagement ring. Here are some of the major points:
- Diamonds attract and hold oil and grease, making it difficult to clean. Body oils can also cling to the diamond’s surface. Avoid touching or holding the diamond to keep it brilliant and shining.
- Never clean your ring over an open sink. Losing your engagement ring in a sink’s plumbing is not a fun experience and you’ll be surprised as to how many people have made that mistake.
- Never brush your ring with a hard-bristle brush as it can damage both the metal and the diamond.
- Never leave your ring to dry off in a place where your kids or pets might reach it.
- Never use strong domestic detergents to clean your ring.
- Never use moisturizing products to clean your ring, like moisturizing body wash. You can use shampoo or body wash to clean your engagement ring but if it’s a moisturizing product it will leave a thin film on any surface it’s applied to. And while that can be great for our skin, it’s precisely what we’re trying to avoid with our engagement rings.
The best way to clean an engagement ring
The simplest and best way to clean an engagement ring includes soap and water:
- Fill up a small container with warm water.
- Add mild soap or another safe cleaning solution to the water and swirl it well.
- Put the engagement ring inside the soapy water for no more than 5 minutes.
- Pick it up and gently scrub it. Pay extra attention to the space underneath the diamond and between the prongs.
- Carefully wash the ring with warm water over a closed sink.
- Use a lint-free piece of cloth to carefully dry to ring as well as possible.
- Let the ring air dry completely overnight somewhere that’s beyond the reach of pets and kids.
When should you seek a professional’s help to clean your engagement ring?
Visiting a jeweler once or twice a year for a routine check-up is recommended. Most jewelers will offer periodic maintenance for free with the purchase of the ring. Also, every professional cleaning should be accompanied by a cleaning warranty, ensuring that nothing will happen to the ring and that you’ll be compensated should it happen.
If the grime and dirt build up on your ring is too hard to take off or in difficult nooks to reach, then it’s time to visit the jeweler for a professional clean. Jewelers have a range of equipment at hand as well as the skills required to make your ring look its best.
Not only will the jeweler clean the ring, but they will also check for the integrity of the setting making sure that it’s holding the diamond safely. For example, your setting may require prong adjustments, re-tipping, or even replacement.
There you have it. With a little work, you can keep your diamond engagement ring lustrous and beautiful for a long time.