Cleaning your wedding ring is key to ensuring that it shines and sparkles for years. While rings can be taken to the jeweler to be professionally cleaned, you can (and should!) maintain your wedding ring, along with other fine jewelry, at home, too.
It’s important to regularly clean your wedding ring, not only for cosmetic purposes, but also for sanitary reasons. Because wedding rings are worn day-in-day-out, dead skin, oils, and dirt can get trapped in them, which can cause bacteria to build over time. What’s more, regular cleaning helps you check your ring for any dents, scratches, or chips in stones. As soon as you spot any damage that needs to be fixed, take your jewelry piece into your jeweler right away.
The easiest way to clean your wedding ring at home is with dish soap and warm water. Get a small bowl, fill it with warm water, and add a squeeze of gentle dish soap. Let the ring soak in the bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse the ring in warm water to get any excess soap off. Be sure to put a stop in your sink! You don’t want the ring to slip down the drain.
After rinsing, dry your ring off with a gentle cotton cloth or let it air dry—do not use paper towels, as they can scratch your ring. You can use this cleaning process on your wedding ring this way every one to two weeks.
There are products on the market designed to clean gold and silver, but it’s always best to avoid harsh chemicals and stick to the basics when it comes to a cleaning solution. Also, don’t use any other household cleaning products on your wedding ring—they can do more harm than good.
Lastly, don’t make the mistake of filling your bathroom sink and washing your wedding ring in there. It’s too easy to accidentally pull the drain’s plug or accidentally have the ring slip into the sink when you’re putting it back on after cleaning.
If your wedding ring has diamonds, you can follow the same soap and water method for the band, then use an extra-soft baby toothbrush to gently scrub the diamond. While diamonds are very strong, be mindful of the prongs. Older or antique jewelry might have more fragile prongs, so don’t scrub those too vigorously. It’s super important to not use a harsh brush on any diamonds or the band, as you don’t want to damage your wedding ring.
After washing your wedding ring, let it dry for about 20 minutes before putting it back on your finger.
Wedding rings with stones other than diamonds can be washed with warm water and dish soap too, but you need to be a bit more careful with softer stones.
Emeralds, for example, can be gently wiped down with a soft, lint-free cloth with a water and dish soap cleaning solution. Don’t use a brush or toothbrush, as it can damage the stone.
Rubies and sapphires are harder stones, so you can use a soft toothbrush like you would with diamond jewelry. It’s always better to ask your jeweler, however, if you’re unsure of how strong your stones are. You don’t want to accidentally damage your wedding ring.
An at-home cleaning process is important to maintaining the state of your ring and ensuring that your diamond ring sparkles, but it’s no substitute for a professional cleaning. Your ring should be taken to the jeweler about once a year for a nice deep clean. This is also an opportunity for your jeweler to look for any cracks in the stones, loose prongs, or damage on your wedding band. Certain materials, such as white gold, need to be replated with rhodium plating when the metal starts to change color, so having an expert keep an eye on your wedding ring keeps maintenance in check.
It’s best to take your wedding ring in for a cleaning to the same jeweler you purchased it from. Some jewelers offer complimentary cleaning, so always ask about maintenance when you purchase your ring. If you take your wedding ring in for a cleaning to a different or new jeweler, be sure they have experience in your type of ring (for example, if you have a vintage ring, seek out an expert who has cleaned rarer rings before).
Aside from cleaning your wedding ring regularly, it’s wise to take it off if you know you’re going to be doing something that could potentially damage it, such as moving or doing a rigorous workout. This is mostly relevant if you have large diamonds or stones that can easily snag or catch on things. This is why it’s also wise to look into jewelry insurance or a protection plan.
Thick lotions and hand sanitizer can build up on your ring, so make sure that you are cleaning your wedding ring often, if you use these products regularly. (Be sure to clean your engagement ring too.)
Cleaning your wedding ring may sound scary, but it’s really nothing to be fearful of. While it’s important to take your ring into the jeweler once a year for a professional clean, maintaining your ring at home can be done every few weeks. With some warm water and soap, your wedding ring will be shining again in no time.