Wait, Should I Take Off My Engagement Ring?

Heard that you should take your ring off because of coronavirus? Here's expert advice on whether you should take your ring off, how to sanitize it properly, and more.

By Deanna deBara

engagement rings and wedding rings in a box
Photo by Zola

Planning A Wedding During A Pandemic: Every wedding planning journey has its twists and turns. To make sure your path is as smooth as possible and to help you keep an eye out for tiny potholes and giant roadblocks, always follow the advice of your local health guidelines and the recommendations set forth by the CDC. The state of the pandemic can change quickly, but by staying informed, you can make it to your destination—wedded bliss—without a hitch.

A huge portion of the world is practicing social distancing and staying at home as much as possible—and that includes Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge is doing her part to stop the spread of coronavirus and working from home—and while she’s under quarantine, she’s opted not to wear her engagement ring.

One likely reason that Kate has been spending her time at home sans engagement ring? For more effective hand washing.

But what about you? If you want to keep your hands clean and decrease your chances of catching or spreading COVID-19, should you make like Princess Kate and leave your engagement ring on your ring holder?

Let’s take a look at the facts about the novel coronavirus—and how they relate to that ring on your finger.

What does my engagement ring have to do with coronavirus?

One of our biggest weapons against the novel coronavirus is effective hand washing. But the biggest concern about wearing your engagement ring is that it may make handwashing less effective. Because your engagement ring fits snugly around your finger, it can be hard for the soap to fully get underneath the band—and germs can get trapped in the area as a result.

New research also shows that coronavirus can live on non-porous surfaces (metals included) for days at a time. So, not only can wearing your engagement ring make it harder to fully wash your hands, but your ring may also act as a host for the virus itself.

So, while chances are you don’t want to stop wearing your engagement ring, if you want to keep your hands (and, in turn, yourself) as germ-free as possible, it looks like the Duchess might be onto something.

How To Clean and Sanitize Your Ring

Now that we know the coronavirus can live on non-porous surfaces, taking care of your engagement ring and keeping it clean is more important than ever.

Luckily, cleaning your engagement ring is a pretty straightforward process:

  • Fill a glass or small bowl with hot water and mix in a few drops of antibacterial soap.
  • Drop your ring into the soap and water mixture.
  • Let the ring soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap (or hand sanitizer), then remove the ring from the mixture.
  • You can either set the ring out to air dry (just make sure to set it out on a clean, sanitized surface!) or you can gently pat dry with a soft, microfiber cloth.

Unless you have a pearl ring...

This sanitizing method will work for most precious metals and gemstones (including diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and topaz). The one exception? If your engagement ring is predominantly pearls, you’re going to want to avoid submerging it in water, which can damage the pearl’s delicate top layer. Instead, wipe it down with a soft cloth dampened with the soap/water mixture.

Clean often.

In “normal” times, cleaning your ring once or twice a month is fine. But with the heightened risk of the coronavirus, if you do decide to keep wearing your engagement ring, you should plan to clean it more often—every day or two, if possible.

Should I take my engagement ring off during quarantine?

So, if you want to lower your risk (and lower the potential of trapping germs on your hand and/or ring), the answer is probably yes. Choosing not to wear your ring during quarantine will not only allow you to get the most out of the handwashing process, but it will also prevent you from coming in contact with any germs that decide to attach themselves to your ring.

If you do decide to wear your engagement ring during quarantine, practicing proper cleaning and hygiene is an absolute must. Clean and disinfect your ring regularly and make sure to take your ring off while you’re washing your hands (for a full 20 seconds!) to make sure you’re getting into all the nooks and crannies that would typically be covered by your band.

The more you can do to stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep yourself safe during this time, the better. Just remember, this pandemic won’t last forever—and your ring will be back on your finger where it belongs in no time.

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