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What does Hand Sanitizer do to your Jewelry?



Because of the pandemic everyone has been more diligent with regards to hand sanitizing and hand washing. This is great news for keeping everyone safe and healthy, but will this have a negative impact on our jewelry?


Let me preface this quick article by saying that hand washing and sanitizing is very important and much more important than our jewelry. But let’s talk about how to keep that new engagement ring or that family heirloom safe during this pandemic.


Shan Aithil, a metallurgist says that hand sanitizer is not capable of removing the rhodium that is usually found on your jewelry. There are two types of hand sanitizer, alcohol based and chlorine based. The CDC recommends using the alcohol based sanitizer which is benign to jewelry items. It you end up using the chlorine based sanitizer it could tarnish jewelry if it not made of sterling silver. It can also cause cracking in low karat gold pieces, nickel and white gold.


The sanitizer can leave a filmy residue on diamonds and sapphires, however this is not permanent. A quick run through an ultrasonic machine can bring back the sparkle.

Pearls are a different story. Sanitized skin should not come in contact with pearls unless it is completely dry and evaporated. Keep pearls away from perfumes, and hairsprays. Remember with pearls they are the last thing you put on when you leave the house and the first thing you take off.


In the end you can feel confident that if you follow the CDC guidelines and use the alcohol based sanitizer and wash your hands with regular soap and water your jewelry will be relatively safe. And don’t be afraid, once things open up, to take those pieces to a jewelry store to have them professionally cleaned.

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