Could your jewellery be harbouring coronavirus?
Why it's not just your hands you should be cleaning more often.
Let’s face it - we are living through frightening times right now. As if Brexit, Trump, Putin, terrorism, wars, wildfires, floods, and plagues of locusts weren’t enough, we now have Covid-19 to contend with!
There is a lot of fear-mongering to be found all over the internet, and my intention is not to fuel that fire. However, it does make rational sense to do all we can as individuals to slow down the spread of this epidemic.
We already know that frequent and thorough hand washing is one of the best actions we can take on a day-to-day basis, especially after touching surfaces in public places.
But what about our jewellery? Should we take off our rings each time we wash our hands, to ensure that we clean them thoroughly enough? And, if so, don’t we risk picking up or transmitting the virus if we place rings on nearby surfaces, and then place them back on our fingers?
I’m guessing the sensible thing would be to wash your rings under the tap, and then to place your rings on a clean tissue while you wash your hands. This would seem like sound, practical advice for wedding bands and other types of plain rings, but what if your ring houses a stone, like a diamond, for instance? Surely, rings with stones are more likely to trap microscopic germs which could be much more difficult to remove with water alone.
In a recent post on Facebook, an Australian nurse wrote about some of the more covert ways germs and infectious diseases can spread, including via personal jewellery.
She revealed that she uses alcohol swabs, or disinfectant and antiseptic wipes to clean her diamond engagement ring every evening: "I take it off and clean it with the swabs before I put it back on … Who knows what's been jammed in those little creases?”
Disclaimer: Of course, I’m not suggesting that this will definitely kill the virus if it happens to be lurking in your diamond ring. However, it does seem like a sensible idea to take every precaution we can when it comes to objects that are in frequent contact with our hands.
Cleaning your rings more frequently - particularly rings with stones - won’t do any harm, and it is a quick and easy task that can be added painlessly into most bedtime routines.
The simplest way to clean your ring is with a solution of hot (not boiling) water and washing-up liquid. Let it soak for about half an hour, then gently brush the stone with a soft toothbrush or a micro-fibre cleaning stick before rinsing under warm running water. Let the ring air dry, or use a soft cotton cloth rather than kitchen towel, which can be too abrasive and may scratch your ring.
Never use bleach or other harsh household cleaners to clean your jewellery. You should also avoid using toothpaste, baking soda or other powder-based cleaning products, as these can scratch the metal.
An alternative to using water and dish-washing liquid would be to purchase one of the many specialist jewellery cleaner products on the market. Simply place your rings into the cleaning fluid for a couple of minutes, or for the recommended time on the label, then dry with a clean soft cloth. You'll also end up with an extra sparkly stone as an added bonus.
Similar advice goes for anything else your hands are in near-constant contact with - for example, mobile phones, keys, vape pens, and payment cards.
Frequent and thorough cleaning of these objects is something we don’t often think about, but it could ultimately save your own life, or the life of someone you love. And that’s something worth thinking about!