A couple of months ago, the image of billions around the world cheerfully singing Happy Birthday to themselves as they worked their hands into a lovely lather was one that evoked a smile.

Now, the World Health Organisation has declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic; a situation that is anything but comical. Times are surreal. The weeks and months ahead are difficult to picture, but there is one thing that we can all be certain of: We have gotto keep washing these hands! Is hand-washing enough, though?

For jewellery-lovers, our beloved rings are a part of us; familiar friends through thick and thin. Unfortunately, though, rings are germ harbours. When it comes to removing bacteria from these everyday jewels, hand-washing just doesn’t quite cut it. Although scientists aren’t yet sure how long the coronavirus remains active on a surface, one study carried out in a hospital found that similar coronaviruses can persist on hard surfaces like glass, metal, or plastic for up to nine days. That’s why we’re here today with our tips for cleaning your rings, good and proper.

 

HOMEMADE ANTI-BACTERIAL GEL (YES. IT’S COME TO THIS.)

If somebody told you last year that you’d find yourself home-brewing anti-bacterial hand gel, you’d laugh them out of town. But, what seemed strange yesterday is nothing out of the ordinary in the context of today – so here we are. Hand sanitizer can be made easily at home by combining 160ml of rubbing alcohol or pure ethanol (the higher the alcohol content the better!) with 79ml of aloe vera hand gel, to stop your mitts from drying out. Give the solution a stir, decant it into a bottle and give it a good shake every now and again. Using this formulation to clean your hands between washes will help to minimise the germs living on the surfaces of your rings whilst on the go.

 

RUBBING ALCOHOL

It’s not a bad idea to take off your rings at the end of the day and give them a quick clean with rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth, for good measure.

 

SOAP AND WATER

Classics are classic for a reason. The effectiveness of soap and water cannot be denied! Soaking your rings in a solution of warm water and mild soap or washing-up liquid for around 10 minutes can help to loosen all sorts of debris. The coronavirus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus instantly falls apart and dies. Once your rings are sufficiently soaked, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently work the solution away. (Top tip: Children’s toothbrushes tend to have the gentlest stubble!) A gentle rub with a soft cloth will dry the rings off.

 

AMMONIA

Though not registered a disinfectant, ammonia is a powerful cleaner that can remove the layers of film left behind by hand soaps, alcoholic gel and cleaning products, leaving your jewels sparkling like new. To loosen dirt and grime, soak your rings for 10 minutes in a solution that’s one part ammonia, two parts warm water. Then, when you’ve removed them from the solution, gently wipe them clean with a soft cloth and leave them to dry. Ammonia is the chemical used in our ultrasonic jewellery cleaner – so this DIY method is your chance to apply the professional jewellers’ touch from home!

 

LOOK AFTER YOUR HANDS

We know your hands are bearing the brunt of this scary moment in time. If you look down at your paws and see scales and cracks, you’re not alone. Whilst it’s imperative that we keep our hands clean, it’s also important to take care of them. Hand soaps in public places are often industrial and not kind on our hands. Make sure that you take a moment to thoroughly dry underneath your rings when you’ve finished washing; constant humidity can irritate the skin.

Whichever method you use to clean your rings, make sure they’re completely dry before slipping them back on – these substances are tough on skin.