All going well, your engagement ring will be something you wear all day, every day. And since you’re wearing it on your finger, it’s inevitable that over time there will be a build up of grime and tiny particles of dirt. No space, no matter how tiny or insignificant it seems, is immune; the nooks and crannies around prong settings, the grooves in between bar settings, and just about any other space will all collect dirt over time. It goes without saying that to get it looking as sparkling as the first time you laid eyes on it, you’ll probably need to take it back to the jeweller to be professionally cleaned once a year or so. However, if you keep up your own cleaning schedule, it will stay looking close to new for as long as possible. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when cleaning your ring.
Use a soft bristle brush. A child’s toothbrush is ideal, or any brush with bristles that easily bend under your finger without resistance. The bristles will get into all of those tiny little spaces, and provided they’re not too hard, they won’t scratch or damage the metal of the band. Even tiny scratches build up over time and make the metal lose its shine, so the softer the brush the better.
Use soapy water. Dishwashing soap like Fairy Liquid or even a squeeze or two of standard hand soap is all you need. Just stay away from brands with added moisturiser, as this will leave a film of, well, moisturiser on your ring. Froth your soap up in some warm water and you’re good to go.
Soak first, air dry last. Leave your ring to soak in the warm soapy water for 10-20 minutes, depending on how dirty it is. This will make the dirt particles expand and become loose, and they’ll be easier to brush away. Brush away all the dirt you can see, take it out of the water and leave it on a micro-fibre cloth to air dry for a further 10 or 20 minutes. Don’t use kitchen roll and don’t rub the metal with the cloth, as it will leave tiny scratches.
Research. Do read up on what you should and shouldn’t use on your gemstone and your metal. As they’re all organic materials, they all react differently to different substances. There’s plenty of advice around the web that will tell you what materials you should and shouldn’t use to clean your beautiful ring.
Clean too often. Especially if you have a prong setting, as if you subject your ring to cleaning on a too-regular basis you could end up loosening the stones or bending the prongs out of shape. Once every couple of months is plenty.
Clean too hard. Vigorous brushing can scratch your engagement ring’s metal parts, and can damage the more delicate sections like the prongs. Your ring is one of the most valuable items you’ll ever known, sentimentally as well as financially, so treat it gently!
Use ammonia. Many websites recommend using ammonia or other hard chemicals to really get your ring to shine. While diamonds are pretty much invincible and will survive this, your metal certainly won’t. Plus, they’re hardly safe to use in a domestic setting. Steer clear.
Clean over the sink. It may sound very obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many engagement rings have been lost by falling down the drain! Place your ring in a bowl instead. Just trust us on this one.