We all want to know how to clean diamond rings because, really, there are few things more mesmerizing than watching your engagement ring sparkle and dance in the light after it's been freshly polished and cleaned. It's only natural to want to maintain that bling. And while you can always take it into a jeweler for a professional cleaning, can you give it a polish at home, too?
We talked to Mark Mann, the director of Global Jewelry Manufacturing Arts at the GIA, to find out exactly how to clean wedding rings, because in between professional cleanings from the jeweler, a girl's got to know how to clean her ring herself. Read on to learn how to maintain that optimal shine.
How to Clean Diamond Rings at Home
If your ring has been dirtied by common cosmetics—for example, hairspray, lotion, makeup, or perfume—a simple at-home cleaning will bring back its sparkle. "The best way to clean diamond rings is to make a solution with warm water (almost hot) and dishwashing soap. Soak your ring for about 20 to 40 minutes, gently brush the stone with a very soft toothbrush, and then rinse under warm running water. If needed, repeat."
In addition to dish soap, you can also use shampoo or body wash. But, whatever you choose as your ring cleaner, just avoid anything that is moisturizing. Products that moisturize tend to leave a film on the ring, which is exactly what you're trying to avoid. As for drying off your ring, avoid paper towels; they can actually scratch the metal. Instead, use a soft cloth made of cotton or let it air dry.
How Often Should I Clean My Ring?
To keep your ring looking its best, try to clean it once a week. That's enough to keep everyday oil and buildup at bay. About twice a year, however, it's good to take it to be cleaned at your jeweler—even more often if your ring has been exposed to a high level of debris. "If you're very active outdoors or in the kitchen and there's a hard compacted layer of oil or dirt, it's best to get it cleaned at the jewelers using professional-grade products that will restore the brilliance of the stone safely."
What Not to Use When Cleaning Your Diamond Ring
The only thing worse than a ring that has lost its luster is a ring that's damaged due to improper care. Mann advises that you never use any household cleaners such as bleach, chlorine, and acetone. "These harsh chemicals can break down some of the base metals in your ring. Also never use any kind of abrasive products such as toothpaste, baking soda, or any powdered cleaners, which can easily scratch metals, particularly gold."
Don't Use Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners at Home
What about those at-home ultrasonic jewelry cleaning machines? While ultrasonic jewelry cleaners do produce a sparkling result, the machine works by sending vibrations through the water and cleaning solution in a matter of minutes. All that vigorous movement can cause stones to become loose or even fall out in the machine. And while a professional jeweler can test the stones to see if they're all still intact (and secure them on the spot), you would never know at home if one of your pavé set stones became loose in the machine—unless, of course, it fell all the way out, in which case you'd have to go to the jeweler anyway.
"If one of the prongs is weakened or if there's the slightest error in workmanship, the vibrations from an ultrasonic machine can dislodge a stone," Mann explains. "Your safest bet for ultrasonic cleaning is to take it to the jeweler, where professionals can test the security of the settings first—or fix it should anything come loose."