Cleaning Guidelines Before Disinfecting Your Jewelry
Should you use Lysol or other household cleaning fluids on your jewelry? Does the cleaning regimen Lavari recommends work to kill COVID? Read on for all the answers.
If you’re a sane human being during the COVID-19 epidemic, you’ve probably had a number of scares like this: you’re going about your day working from home, enjoying how your new bracelet from Lavari looks as you type, when your stomach clenches. You realize that you went out for a socially distanced walk last night and forgot to disinfect your bracelet when you came in! You’ve been walking around your apartment wearing a bracelet that could be crawling with coronavirus.
You run to the kitchen to clean it off, but you remember the specialized cleaning instructions you saw on Lavari’s website. Should you use Lysol or other household cleaning fluids on your jewelry? Does the cleaning regimen Lavari recommends work to kill COVID? Read on for all the answers.
What's the most basic way to clean jewelry?
A perfectly viable way to clean jewelry is to use a small scrub brush or a toothbrush to lather your jewelry with mild soap. Then rinse with warm water, and soak in a solution of warm water and mild soap for 20-30 minutes. Despite being mild, the soap will get bacteria off your jewelry in much the same way as it cleans your hands. Dry your jewelry off with a warm cloth and you’ll be ready to wear them again. This is a mild regimen that doesn’t cause any damage to any metals, gems, or anything else you could find in a piece of jewelry. The only thing we don’t recommend for it is jewelry and other accessories made of cloth and leather.
This is the cleaning regimen that we at Lavari recommend on our website, and just like typical handwashing techniques it does the job right! While there are some more measures you can take if you’re really worried about the coronavirus, in general this will serve you well. Make this a nightly ritual and you’ll most likely be safe from COVID-19 infection, unless you have a compromised immune system or are otherwise at high risk. You can look below for more intense options if you want to be even more rigorous in your response to COVID-19!
What are more intense solutions?
For the extra cautious, kitchen cleaners like Lysol are okay for stainless steel jewelry. Diamonds and other precious gems can be cleaned with everyday cleaners as well! One thing that should be kept in mind is that bleach cleaners are NOT safe for stainless steel, as they can pit or scratch the metal, and diamonds should not be cleaned with bleach either. Chlorine and hydrogen peroxide are other types of cleaner that should never be used on either stainless steel or diamonds. These types of cleaners will corrode your gems and stainless steel, ruining your favorite and most expensive pieces!
You should stick to the more basic method above with gold-plated jewelry, since any methods beyond that will be harmful to the finish on these pieces. Usually gold plating will be applied to stainless steel or another metal in a relatively thin layer, while means that if you use Lysol or bleach on it you could suddenly find yourself with jewelry that’s just stainless steel! Chlorine and hydrogen peroxide are also never good for gold plating for the same reasons; you’ll strip that gold right off the jewelry and leave it with just the metal beneath the finishing. As we mentioned above for fabric or leather based pieces, you can leave gold plated jewelry in a designated place and wait for the bacteria to die out–for hard surfaces, leave for at least five days before wearing again.
What are foolproof ways to clean jewelry?
If you want to take a scorched earth approach and eradicate anything living on your jewelry, you can get a UV disinfectant case that will kill all bacteria on anything you use it on. One thing to note is that the UV will kill bacteria but won’t deal with dirt or oils, so you might take your pieces out of the case and notice it still feels like it needs to be cleaned. You can then use the basic cleaning method detailed above to make your jewelry feel clean too. The UV rays also work on phones; there’s no damage to your technology from this method since the UV light is the same wavelength as regular sunlight. If you’ve ever used your phone on a sunny day, you can use the UV disinfectant on it. The New York City subway system is already using these ultraviolet rays to help clean MTA cars!
One other way to clean jewelry involves not letting the jewelry become exposed to COVID-19 in the first place. How do you do that? Simple! If you go out wearing gloves to protect yourself, you can wear rings under the gloves without fear that they will expose you to the coronavirus. Just be sure that your gloves aren’t ripped in any way by the metal on the rings; that could compromise the protection you get from them. Otherwise, if the rings are just as protected as your hands, you and your jewelry should be protected from COVID-19!
So what's the best approach?
To customize your cleaning to you, you can make a homemade cleaner with one of the recipes here. The more basic method we mentioned above is probably all you need most of the time, but this is a moment when we all want to feel as safe as possible. It’s not a big deal to use Lysol on your stainless steel or precious gems, so if that makes you feel better during this time when self-care is crucial, then that’s a great way to double down on your COVID-19 preparedness without endangering your jewelry. If you aren’t satisfied with the basic method or with just waiting for the bacteria to die, you might want to leave your gold plated jewelry out of your rotation for now. You also have the option of only wearing your gold plated jewelry on Zoom calls or other indoor, unexposed activities. That gives you the best of both worlds in that you can still enjoy these pieces without exposing them to COVID-19 in such a way that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with the cleaning methods available to you!
What else do I need to know about cleaning my jewelry?
The process isn’t over when you take your jewelry off–the CDC has said that skin underneath jewelry, especially rings, can carry more germs than normal. That means that even if you’re keeping your rings on when you wash your hands, you might still be neglecting the parts of your fingers under them, potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19. To mitigate this, you can wash once with your rings on and then do a briefer wash with your rings off. It might seem like a lot, but we know that very little of the virus is required for exposure to lead to infection.
One recommendation the CDC has made is for people to wear less jewelry; this reduces both the work of disinfection and the chance that people will forget about any given piece. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all your favorite Lavari pieces; it just means it might be better for all of us to go Coco Chanel for the duration of the quarantine. Statement pieces or minimal glamor is the style of the summer, ladies! If you go out in one necklace, you can then come home and wash that one necklace knowing that there’s no chance you’re forgetting something.
Another tip is that metal jewelry is easier to clean than materials like leather watch straps or woven bracelets. When you disinfect a hard surface like jewelry, you know it’s definitely clean, while germs can get trapped in other kinds of materials pretty easily. Luckily, your softer materials aren’t a no-no; they’re just a bit more complicated to use. It’s hard to disinfect these materials, but COVID-19 doesn’t live in these materials as long as on hard surfaces like metal. That means you can wait for the potential bacteria to die by leaving your watches or braided jewelry pieces for a few days in a predetermined place for a time decontamination. This might mean that you have to rotate your jewelry more often than you normally do, but a little more variety is hardly a high price to pay for safety!
All things considered
COVID-19 is impacting everyone right now, jewelry lovers as much as anybody. With Lavari’s hot tips, you can ensure that you and your family are rocking all your best pieces while staying safe and healthy. We want you to know that we at Lavari are here looking out for you and all our online fam to keep bringing you the best in fashion and COVID safety.