The recent outbreak of Coronavirus has us all reaching for the hand sanitizer. Which has us wondering — is hand sanitizer a girl’s new best friend? Nothing can replace your beloved diamonds and gemstones, and unfortunately, sudsing up to kill bacteria can wreak havoc on your gemstones and jewelry. The more you use hand sanitizer, the more you might wonder, is hand sanitizer bad for your gemstones?
Don’t kick sanitizer to the curb just yet — after all, your safety and health are more important than any material item. Still, is there a way to remain clean without hurting your gemstones?
Absolutely. In this guide, you’ll learn how to safely care for your gemstones without compromising your health. But first, if you want to protect your gemstones, you need to understand the chemicals in hand sanitizer that can hurt them.
The purpose of hand sanitizer is pretty self-explanatory: it helps kill bacteria and prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Compounds and chemicals like alcohol and povidone-iodine act as antiseptics to prevent the spread and growth of disease-causing germs. Of course, you’ll want to keep hand sanitizer in your purse and back pocket with you at all times right now.
Yet as you spread sanitizer onto your hands repeatedly throughout the day, what’s happening to your jewelry and gemstones? Is your diamond engagement ring loving the sanitary bath? Turns out, not so much. Hand sanitizer isn’t necessarily going to damage your diamonds, but it certainly will generate residue.
Ultimately, you’ll notice less sparkle and shine, and who wants that? A residue of film covering your usually sparkling rock isn’t the look you’re going for. But at the end of the day, minimizing germs and bacteria exposure is more important.
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose one over the other, because a little pivot in your routine will keep your hands clean and your gemstones shimmering.
By no means should you skimp on washing your hands and applying hand sanitizer. Instead, rethink your routine. Here’s how you can continue using hand sanitizer and protect your diamonds and gemstones.
If you’re worried about buildup and grime on your gemstone jewelry, a simple solution is to remove your items when you apply hand sanitizer. Of course, you want to be mindful of your space. Do not remove your gemstone jewelry above drains or carpet. Dropping your gemstones down the drain is far worse than a little film around it.
Also, if you drop a small gemstone onto carpet, you may be in for a massive headache when you try to find it. Instead, place a soft cloth on the counter and place the gemstones on top. Wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer, and allow your hands to fully dry before replacing items.
Untreated gemstones like diamonds are generally safe to clean in an ultrasonic cleaner. However, softer, more brittle gemstones can get damaged in the process. Ultrasonic cleaners are best suited to jewelry metals and gemstones that are durable and hard. If you’re unsure if an ultrasonic cleaner is safe for your gemstones, give them a warm bath instead.
In general, a great way to maintain and care for your gemstones is to clean them in a warm, soapy bath once a week. That rule changes when you massively increase the amount of hand sanitizer you’re using. You’ll notice buildup developing quicker, and it’s a good idea to clean your gems once a day to eliminate any filmy residue. Clean your gemstones in warm, soapy water that is detergent and fragrance-free.
Never clean your gemstones in the sink.
Place them in a bowl or cup and let them soak for a few minutes. You can even use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub away any residue or buildup. Once they are thoroughly cleaned, let them dry out completely before wearing or handling them.
The best way to protect organic gemstones is to eliminate any exposure to hand sanitizer. In particular, the alcohol in hand sanitizer can manipulate or damage pearls. Ultimately, you’ll notice a lackluster shine and altered, or even yellowed, coloring.
The best solution is to remove your pearl jewelry before you apply hand sanitizer. Give your hands and fingers sufficient time to completely dry out before you reapply your jewelry.
We would ordinarily never dissuade you from flaunting your gorgeous gemstones, but right now is a unique time. Unfortunately, harmful bacteria can fester and grow in the protected crevices of your jewelry. Even if you take your rings or bands off to sanitize your hands, there could be bacteria living in your jewelry. In order to truly stay healthy and safe, you need to take two steps:
If you are unable to maintain this regime during this outbreak, the safest thing to do is stop wearing your jewelry and gemstones.
If we’re talking exclusively about gemstones, hand sanitizer isn’t necessarily going to tarnish or ruin them. However, the repeated application will lead to a buildup of residue and film around the gemstones.
You also need to consider your jewelry. Are you wearing a diamond with a white gold band? Hand sanitizer can actually wear down the plating on the band. The safest way to avoid any damage to your gemstones and jewelry is to clean your gemstones every day.
Gemstones can still be your go-to accessory, but the increased usage of hand sanitizer means you need to up your maintenance routine. When in doubt, remove your gemstone jewelry before you apply hand sanitizer. At the end of the day, hand sanitizer isn’t going to harm hard gemstones like diamonds and sapphires. However, if you are wearing softer jewels like opal or pearl, it’s simply not worth the risk to expose them to abrasives like hand sanitizer.
The best way to keep your gemstones’ everlasting sparkle is to limit the mingling of gemstones with hand sanitizer. The fact is, the current state of the world is temporary, but your diamond remains forever!
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