Hand sanitiser verses your precious jewellery

by Team Alyssa x
19 March, 2021
How to keep your jewellery looking its best during, and after a global pandemic!

During the global pandemic, most of us are suffering with dry and cracked hands from all of the hand washing, sanitising and then more washing that we are currently doing- and have been for the best part of a year now!

But it isn’t just our hands that are suffering from the use of hand sanitiser- our jewellery is too! 

Let’s talk about why hand sanitiser is not best friends with our jewellery, and what we can do to keep our beloved sparkles looking their best whilst continuing to keep hand sanitiser as part of our daily routine!

With the high levels of alcohol needed to make our hand sanitiser affective for use, it is no surprise it is wreaking havoc on our most treasured pieces of jewellery, causing them to dim, lose their sparkle, accelerate the oxidising process, and even develop a strange ‘film’ or build-up of dirt. Fortunately, there are ways we can help both to reverse the damage and prevent it from happening in the first place.

Back to basics – Treat your jewellery like you do with other cleaning!

As with your clothes and home and teeth, a cleaning routine for your jewellery is a great place to start and we highly recommend that you clean your jewellery once a week to keep it looking tip top, happy, and sparkly – Regularly cleaning your jewellery and giving it a frequent polish up will not only help to keep it looking its best, but it will also prevent the damaging effects that hand sanitiser has on our favourite pieces. 

With jewellery being one of our most prized possessions- often purchased for sentimental reasons, special occasions and even passed down through generations, it really is important to give it the attention it deserves so irreversible damage doesn’t occur. Because hand sanitizer is used on the hands, it is mostly rings that are being affected by it, but all jewellery should be given the same amount of attention and care when it comes to cleaning and looking after it. 

Necklaces, bracelets and earrings often suffer too- and whilst it isn’t from hand sanitizer, they do suffer from the affects of chlorine, lotions and potions, moisturisers, cleaning products and perfume. 

We always recommend that you remove jewellery when doing things like cleaning, swimming, bathing, working out, and we always believe jewellery should be put on last. That’s after your perfume and sun lotion, and treat your jewellery as your final ‘finishing touch’ when getting dressed in the morning. This will instantly help you to avoid exposing your precious jewellery to any nasty substances like perfume and moisturiser!

Just like people, every type of jewellery is unique and requires different methods of care. Different metals and gemstones require different ways of cleaning and maintenance, so always be sure you are using the right method of cleaning for the type of jewellery you are ‘treating’ to a bit of TLC before doing so.

Ketchup, anyone?

There are all kinds of old wives tales about ways to clean and look after your jewellery, such as using tomato sauce on silver, bicarbonate soda, coke, toothpaste and many more – but we recommend keeping it simple with tried and tested techniques- and a little bit of soap!

Give your jewellery a good home

Firstly – it is important your jewellery is stored and kept somewhere safe and soft to avoid accidental damage when you are not wearing it. Whether that be inside the original packaging your jewellery came in, or in a soft, fabric lined box to try to eliminate any scratching from taking place. Try to separate your jewellery too, because any touching of metal can lead to scratching. A jewellery box with compartments and a lid is most useful. This will also help to slow down and reduce any tarnishing that your silver jewellery will encounter. 

Tarnishing is a natural process in silver jewellery, but it can be easily removed with our handy tips! The worst thing for jewellery tarnishing is leaving it out in the open, such as on the side, or on a jewellery stand where the necklaces and chains hang freely- this is a delightful place for oxidising and is a sure way to speed up the tarnishing, since the oxygen in the air is what causes it.

See our gorgeous range of jewellery keepsake boxes

Get some marigolds!

When using hand sanitiser, the alcohol evaporates and can leave a sticky coating/film on your rings/bracelets/gemstones. It really is important that these are cleaned regularly so there is not the opportunity for a build up to occur. It is not recommended to use hand sanitiser with chlorine in if you wear gold rings. (This is the same with bleach, so always use rubber gloves with bleach to protect your rings!)

Gemstones are also susceptible to damage from chlorine and chemicals, so always keep your rings away from chemicals, and we do recommend you get yourself a fancy pair of marigolds for any housework when using chemicals if you don’t want to take your rings off first. 

Another useful tip is to remove your rings whilst washing up, washing your hands and using hand sanitiser, and only put them back on when your hands are fully dry- but we know this is absolutely not always possible, especially when we are on the go!

Rub-a-dub-dub

A soft jewellery polishing cloth is recommended for use on metal jewellery, approximately once a week. Rubbing it over your rings, pendants and chains will not only help remove a build up of residue and tarnishing, but it will also give your jewellery the sparkle it deserves. There are many types of polishing cloths, so make sure you are using the correct one for the metal type you are polishing. For  example, there are different types for silver and gold jewellery. This is an inexpensive way to keep your jewellery looking its best. We do not recommend you polish or rub your jewellery with toilet paper or kitchen roll, as it may scratch your jewellery.

Never scrub your jewellery.

This little silver butterfly has oxidised over time. We have given it a gentle clean with a polishing cloth on the left side. Look how much it shines compared to the right side!

Check out our silver jewellery polishing cloth, which is perfect for our silver jewellery

Take a bath!

You can invest in an ultrasonic cleaner if you are feeling fancy. This is a glorious term for a jewellery bath! It is suitable for many types of jewellery including rings, pendants, bangles etc, but is not recommended for some gemstones or pearls- so before giving your jewellery a bath in an ultrasonic cleaner, make sure you check whether the type of jewellery you are wanting to bathe is suitable for cleaning in water and soap first. An ultrasonic cleaner uses electric, and basically vibrates, so that the jewellery around jiggles very minimally and removes any dirt from cracks and hard to reach areas. 

Remember- An ultrasonic cleaner a great way to clean certain jewellery, but do make sure you check if your jewellery is suitable first! 

Toothbrushes aren’t just for teeth!

Another good method to clean jewellery, particularly silver or gold charms, solid pendants, rings and charm bracelets is to take a very soft toothbrush, a bowl of warm, soapy water and give it a little rub a dub dub in your home made jewellery bath. You will need to make sure that the type of jewellery you are wanting to clean is suitable (pearls do not like water or soap) and we don’t recommend you clean chains this way. This is a good way to clean certain gemstones.

Once you have given them a rub with your very soft toothbrush, pop the jewellery onto a soft microfibre cloth, or piece of kitchen roll and pat dry- do not wipe or scrub as it may cause scratching. Repeat the process if needed!

Don’t use hot water, make sure the temperature is just ‘warm’. If the water is hot it could damage your jewellery, and you wouldn’t want to do that when you have gone to all this effort to look after it!

Take a dip

Chains are a funny one, and often very difficult to clean. Our necklace and bracelet chains can become very dull over time if they aren’t given some tender loving care. They can suffer quite a lot if you have been washing up with your bracelet on, or showering in your necklaces. There are many jewellery dips available which can bring your chains back to life. Dip and go… the results are quite astounding! Remember to read the instructions on your dip carefully, which will also tell you which pieces of jewellery can and cannot be dipped. Please follow all of the safety precautions on your dip. 

Pearls – They don’t like water!

Pearls are a natural, living beauty. And whilst they originally came from the water, they don’t want to go back into it! To clean your pearl jewellery, use a soft cloth only. This should remove the dirt and dust build up. Don’t dip your pearls, or wash them. Don’t spray any substances onto your pearls at all, and we recommend storing them in a soft, velvet pouch away from other jewellery.

Costume jewellery

We often get asked how to clean costume jewellery, and although this is not something we make- we do know how it can be looked after! Depending on the type of costume jewellery, cleaning it with the method of a bowl, and warm soapy water is a good one. 

Always check!

Remember to always check when you are cleaning your jewellery at home that the cleaning method you have chosen is suitable for that type of jewellery, including the metal type, object type, and also any gemstones which are inside the piece. Failure to use the correct cleaning method could result in nasty damage, so it is always best to check first.

By treating your jewellery to a regular cleaning sesh, it really will love you for it and you will be able to keep your most precious pieces looking newer, and happier for longer. Don’t let hand sanitizer and chemicals win!

Please see our step by step handy jewellery care guide.