The first few days after your engagement, you’ll probably find yourself staring at the shiny new rock on your finger. It’s understandable–not only are you probably thrilled with the news, but there’s nothing that dances under the light quite like the sparkle of a brand-new engagement ring. Maintain that shine with regular cleaning. Cleaning your engagement ring is an integral part of keeping it maintained and cared for. Luckily, you can easily do it at home. Here’s how to do it.

Note: You should take your ring to a jeweler once every six months or so for a professional cleaning. It’s also a good idea to examine it closely once in a while and make sure the stones aren’t loose and that the setting is still intact.

INLINE PhotobyAriena Photography Photo Credit // Ariena Photography

How to Clean a Diamond Ring

Once a month or so, give your ring a quick polish by doing the following:

  • Mix a small amount (two or three drops will do) of dish detergent, baby shampoo, or antibacterial soap in a glass or bowl with hot water.
  • Drop (gently!) your ring in the mixture.
  • Let it soak for around 30 minutes.
  • Set it out to air dry or gently pat it dry gently with a soft microfiber cloth. Avoid paper towels, which are surprisingly harsh on different metals and will only scratch the band.

That’s it? That’s it! OK, well that can be it for cleaning at least.

Here, though, are a few additional tips to keep in mind that will ensure your ring sparkles as brightly as it did the day you first saw it:

  • Take it off before showering, cooking, cleaning, working out, gardening, swimming, or doing the dishes if possible. Not only will you be less likely to lose it but you’ll also reduce the amount of wear and tear your ring endures.
  • If you do wear your ring continuously, clean it at least twice a month. Constant exposure to lotion, face wash, hairspray, makeup, acne medicine, cooking spray, and other everyday ingredients can cause it to dull and lose its shine.
  • Do not—repeat, do not—use harsh cleaning products on your ring (think bleach or ammonia). Any product you’d scrub your toilet bowl or shower with will be too abrasive on the metal of your ring. When it comes to cleaning your ring, less really is more.
  • Also, skip at-home ultrasonic cleaning machines. While they work on diamonds, the repeated vibrations can actually loosen other stones over time.

How to Clean Gemstones

Many gems require a soft touch. Luckily, when it comes to cleaning, the answer doesn’t change much: a little bit of soap, hot water, and a soft cloth will do the trick nicely for most stones. This includes garnets, emeralds, sapphires, peridot, jade, amethyst, and topaz.

One exception: pearls. These require a little more TLC. If your ring is made up predominantly of pearls, you’ll want to wipe it down with a damp, soft cloth regularly. However, don’t submerge it in water, which can weaken its delicate top layer.

Jewelry experts often recommend that pearls are the last piece of jewelry you put on before you leave your house and the first to take off when you arrive home. This minimizes exposure to makeup and hair products, which can wreak some serious havoc on your dainty pearls.

That said, if you have any questions at all, talk to your jeweler. He or she will be able to answer any specific questions you have about caring for your ring.

Store Your Ring in a Safe Place

Diamonds are durable, but they’re not unbreakable. Storing your ring in a safe place away from other jewelry will help keep your diamond sparkling and minimize damage to other jewelry you have. Keep your diamond ring in the box it came in or another soft pouch. The same goes if you have a gemstone ring—certain gems are more durable than others.

INLINE PhotobyONELOVE PHOTOGRAPHY Photo Credit // One Love Photohgraphy

Should I Insure My Ring?

Yes! While insurance paperwork may not seem romantic, purchasing insurance for your engagement ring is an easy way to protect against loss, theft, or damage. Even if you think you won’t need it, accidents happen, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How does it work?

It works similarly to homeowners or renters insurance, except that it’s specifically tailored to jewelry (even if you’re not recently engaged, you might consider insuring any family heirlooms that hold sentimental value, for example). You can either call your homeowners insurance and get a rider specifically for your ring or try a jewelry-specific insurance service, such as Lavalier.

What does ring insurance cover?

Did you dive into ocean on your honeymoon only to watch in horror as your ring slipped off your finger? You’re covered! Come home from work one night only to find you’ve been burglarized? You’re covered. While you’ll want to read the fine print carefully, generally, you’re covered in case of loss, theft, or natural disasters.

Follow these simple steps, and your sparkler will shine bright for decades to come.