The day you received your shiny engagement ring, one of the first things you likely noticed was its sparkle. Whether or not your engagement ring features a center stone, the shine of the ring is one of the main characteristics of an engagement ring.
But, as you gaze at your beautiful ring (that you never take off) day after day, you may notice it is starting to lose some of its beloved shine.
Don’t fret! This is a common occurrence with jewelry you wear every day. In most cases, the ring isn’t damaged, just dirty. Dust, grime, oils, lotions, soap, you name it, all of the things your hands encounter on a daily basis can leave your engagement ring needing a little TLC.
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to secure a free cleaning with a ring purchase. Still, usually, this is only an annual cleaning and inspection and often isn’t for a lifetime. This means now and again, you’ll need to know how to clean your diamond ring.
Thankfully, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to show you how to do just that!
Before You Begin
Before you begin cleaning your engagement ring, there are a few things you need to consider.
While diamonds are the most popular stone for engagement rings, that doesn’t mean they are the only option. Some gemstones may be heat sensitive while others may react with chemicals. Pearls and amber are especially delicate and have reactions to chemicals such as ammonia.
While most gemstones can be cleaned as described below, take extra care when cleaning rings set with pearls, turquoise, and coral. Wipe these stones with a damp cloth and be sure to dry them thoroughly. Moisture or debris from the cleaning solution trapped in the drill holes of pearls can create discoloration.
Even if your ring includes the heartier stones—diamonds, rubies, and sapphires—we still suggest you are gentle while cleaning. You don’t want to end up with a loose stone.
A few homemade solutions are possibilities, depending on the type of metal used in your ring. Because each solution is specific to a kind of metal, we usually advise trying soap and water first.
- Silver or Gold Diamond Ring. Soak your ring for 10-15 minutes in a solution of 50% Windex and 50% hydrogen peroxide. Rinse and then dry.
- Silver Diamond Ring. Soak your ring in a ½ cup of vinegar solution with two tablespoons of baking soda. Make sure the baking soda is dissolved. Let it soak for 2-3 hours before rinsing and drying.
- Solid Gold Ring. Moisten a soft cloth with beer (avoiding dark ale) and rub only the metal of your ring, not the gemstones. Rinse and dry.
You might have heard that ketchup can be used to clean a silver ring. While the acid in ketchup can help remove tarnish from a silver ring, it can also be too strong.
You should not let the ketchup sit on your ring for longer than a few minutes. Because this method can go wrong so easily, we’re not huge fans of trying it at home.
How to Clean Your Diamond Ring
The key to cleaning your engagement ring is safely removing built-up dirt and oils without harming the diamond or the metal setting and band.
Gather Your Materials
You’ll need a bowl, preferably glass or ceramic, dish soap, a soft toothbrush, and a soft cloth. We suggest not using an old toothbrush because its bristles likely have broken down, and it may contain toothpaste and other materials that could scratch your ring.
Instead, it’s wise to purchase a soft toothbrush you plan to use only for cleaning jewelry.
Fill the Bowl with Warm Water
Not lukewarm or blazing hot, but very warm. The temperature of the water should help to loosen any stuck particles and begin to break down things like hairspray, cosmetics, or moisturizers.
Add Dish Soap
Use your typical, gentle dish soap. You don’t need to find one with harsh chemicals that promises to remove oil in under thirty seconds, as these can be too abrasive for soft metals. Shampoo or body wash will work, too, if you’re in a pinch.
However, don’t use products that advertise their moisturizing capabilities. Usually, this means they’ll just add a film to your ring.
Perhaps the easiest part is sitting back and letting your ring soak. Twenty to forty minutes is generally enough time to let the soap and water do their work.
Using your soft toothbrush, rub slow and gentle circles to remove residue. Pay attention to places dirt can get trapped, such as around the prongs holding the gemstone. Don’t scrub too harshly.
Rinse & Dry
Once you are done brushing, rinse your ring under warm running water. It’s a good idea to plug the drain or insert a catch before you start rinsing, just in case you drop your jewelry.
If your ring still looks dirty, you may want to place it back in the soapy water and scrub some more with a paper towel. A clean ring, however, can be dried with a soft cloth, like a dishtowel.
What About Commercial Jewelry Cleaners?
You have probably seen jewelry cleaners that contain chemicals in a bottle that you either rub on your ring or let your diamond ring soak in.
Some of these are great, but it can be tricky to know which ones. You need to research that they’re non-abrasive and free of chemicals, or you risk discoloring or damaging your engagement ring.
What Not to Use When Cleaning Your Diamond Ring
We love the soap and water method because it’s the safest. Diamonds are pretty hard but can be scratched and discolored. Metal, on the other hand, especially gold, can be soft and prone to scratches and discoloration.
For these reasons, you never want to use abrasive chemicals like acetone, bleach, or chlorine. Even toothpaste and non-diluted baking soda can be too abrasive for softer metals like gold.
And avoid brushes with stiff or metal bristles. For example, you never want to take that stainless-steel Scotch Brite pad to your diamond ring.
How Often Should I Clean My Diamond Ring?
Aside from a professional annual cleaning, you can remove buildup and grime from your ring with weekly at-home cleaning. A once-a-week washing is often enough to remove your everyday lotions, soaps, and makeup.
However, suppose you find your ring getting really grimy, such as after digging in the garden or being compacted with the dough from the kitchen. In that case, you’ll want to let the experts handle it. A jewelry cleaner can often clean your ring much more thoroughly and safely.
As Clean as the Day You Slipped It On
Think of all the things your hands do in a day. Your diamond ring experiences a lot! Thankfully, most rings are designed to be durable enough for everyday wear. Though they may get dirty, they’re resistant to damage.
This means all they require is a gentle weekly cleaning and a thorough annual cleaning to look just as brilliant and beautiful as the day your partner proposed!