Caring for your wedding ring is a very simple process that can be done in the comfort of your home or or you can send it out to be professionally cleaned. This article outlines the steps we would recommend that you take to insure that your wedding ring looks great for years to come.
Now that you're married, you want to do all that you can to protect your wedding ring from damage and wear. Everything from household chemicals to simple daily exposure can affect the surface and settings of your ring, and you should follow the guidelines below to help keep your marriage memento shining and safe.
Store it Properly
Whenever you take your ring off, be sure that you are careful to place it somewhere that is safe from chemical exposure, dirt, and getting lost. Even other jewelry can damage your wedding ring-diamonds can scratch metal and chip softer gems, and hard edges on titanium or platinum jewelry can leave marks on softer metals. The safest way to store your wedding ring is wrapped in tissue or soft cloth, in a safe place in your jewelry box. It's also a good idea to have a designated place in your home-for instance the top drawer of your jewelry box on the right -hand side-where you put your ring every single time you take it off. Get into a habit, stick with it, and you'll never find yourself in the paranoid scramble to recall where you put your wedding ring.
Take it Off
A lot of newlyweds will tell you that they never take off their new ring because they're afraid of losing it. But leaving your wedding ring on 24/7 is just asking for trouble over time. Once you have a "safe spot" for your ring, be sure to take your ring off when exposing your hands to the following:
Chemicals: This may seem obvious, but be sure to keep your wedding ring away from harsh cleaning chemicals and abrasives. Remove it when doing housework that involves scrubbing, particularly if bleach-based products are in use, as bleach can discolor the setting and degrade the finish on the band. Another common chemical that can affect your ring is chlorine-so take it off before hopping in the pool.
Most soaps, lotions and cosmetics: Over time, beauty products like powders, lotions, and even some soaps can "gum up" your ring, sticking in the settings and marring the shine. This gunk can harden up, especially in crevices along the settings or engravings, and become extremely difficult to clean up. While not an explicitly bad idea to shower with your ring on, some conditioners and shampoos can cause the same damage-so bathe at your discretion. Even the chemicals and oils in make-up can dull your ring's shine, so it can be a good idea to put your ring on last when you're getting ready.
Chores and sports: Dirt, debris, and detritus can severely scuff up your wedding ring, and snags that tear out settings can easily happen when being active. Even when performing tasks with gloves on-yard work, for instance-it can be a good idea to remove your ring anyhow, just to be safe. Men and women both can improve the longevity of their rings' finish by taking it off during housework and chores. After all, it only takes one slip with an S.O.S. pad, sandpaper, or any shop tool to permanently deform or mar your wedding ring.
Keep it Clean
Frequent cleanings help to remove built-up dirt and oil that can dull your wedding ring's luster and stick in the settings. There are a few ways to help maintain its shine:
Clean it yourself: Don't use abrasives or hard-bristled brushes to clean your ring. Even soft toothbrushes can cause minute scratches in the surfaces of gold and silver jewelry in particular. The best way to keep your wedding ring clean yourself is to soak it overnight, about once a month, in any of the following solutions:
- A mix of 50% household ammonia and 50% water
- A diluted mixture of water and mild detergent
- Even a cup of clear alcohol such as vodka
These solutions will dissolve away dirt and built-up grime without scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly in clean water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. If you use jewelry cleaners, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
There are also very good "ultrasonic cleaning kits", which use plain tap water, as well as "home jewelry cleaning kits" that use specific solutions and small agitating machines.
Take it to a jeweler: No amount of self-cleaning can beat the care that a professional can provide for your ring. Once a year, take it in for an inspection and cleaning at a jeweler's. These annual inspections are normally adequate, but ask your jeweler about tips for your particular ring. And remember that if you ever feel that your settings are loose or your ring has been damaged, don't hesitate to take it straight to a professional-it's always better to be safe than sorry.
If you follow the steps outlined above and provide a little regular TLC for your ring, you can be sure to keep it shining and vibrant for all the happy years of your marriage.