Photo: Priscilla Thomas Photography
You wear your engagement ring basically 24/7, and while there’s no shame in flaunting that sparkler (unless you’re doing these activities), the daily buildup of dirt, beauty products and yes, even food will make it look a little less than brilliant. If you’re wondering how to clean an engagement ring, the best and safest way is by taking it to a wedding jeweler where it can be steam cleaned, inspected and repaired if necessary. Ideally, you should do this about twice a year. Most jewelers will offer cleanings as complimentary or discounted service if you purchased the ring from them, but sometimes you just need a quick fix. So whether you’re simply looking to freshen up your bling at home or have suddenly discovered that whoops, there’s a chunk of dried avocado stuck in the prongs (believe us, crazier things have happened!), we’re here to help.
Here’s exactly how to clean an engagement ring at home.
What you’ll need:
- Basic dishwashing soap (do not use any formulas with lotion or skin-softening moisturizers)
- A clean, soft-bristle toothbrush (baby toothbrushes are a good option)
- A small bowl for soaking and/or rinsing your ring
- A lint-free or microfiber cloth (similar to a cloth for eyeglasses or camera lenses)
The first rule of thumb for how to clean an engagement ring at home is to proceed with caution. Remember: this doesn’t have to be a deep, intensive clean — that’s what your professional jeweler is for. Using warm or hot (but not boiling) water, soak your ring in a soapy solution for up to 30 minutes. This softens any contaminants like hairspray, lotion, dirt, food, or dust that are stuck to your ring.
Remove the ring from the water. If you’re working above a sink, remember to close the drain first! Take the soft-bristle toothbrush and gently scrub the ring — don’t use a lot of force or else you’ll risk scratching the stone and/or metal. If you still see dirt lodged in the ring after brushing, carefully use a toothpick to try and loosen the debris.
Photo: Mallori Ma Photography
With the sink drain closed, run the ring under cool water to wash off the soap. Be sure to hold the ring upside down to rinse it from all angles and allow the water to flow through any openings in the setting. Alternatively, you can fill a bowl with water and rinse the ring off with your hands.
Gently dry your ring using a lint-free cloth. Avoid using paper towels or regular bath towels, since they can leave microscopic scratches or fuzz on your ring. If you have extra time, you can let the ring air dry on a ring dish or jewelry holder. Voilà! Your ring is now ready for its closeup. Snap an engagement ring selfie to show it off.
Things to avoid
When cleaning an engagement ring, don’t use any abrasive substances, including toothpaste, bleach, baking soda, window cleaner, or acetone. These are harmful to diamonds but especially to colored gems, like morganite and other rare stones. Also try to avoid using standard gold and silver polishes — these may work well on your silverware and vases, but not all formulas are suitable for the metal bands on engagement rings. Lastly, you might think that ultrasonic devices are a foolproof solution for how to clean an engagement ring at home, but the tiny vibrations can sometimes loosen rings with delicate stones and pavé settings.