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How to clean and care for your rings: Tips for gold, silver and platinum

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We all want our rings to sparkle but, without a proper cleaning and maintenance routine, it’s inevitable for them to become a little dull over time. While some people may always take their rings to a jeweller, you might prefer the convenience of being able to clean your rings at home. This doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, and we’re going to share some great tips to keep your precious jewellery looking greater for longer. We’ll cover:

What to know about precious metals

Before you can begin cleaning your rings, you need to establish the type of metal you’re working with. Typically, rings are made from either platinum, silver, or gold, as these materials are strong and durable enough to ensure your precious rings last a lifetime.

Each of these metals is usually combined with an alloy before it's used to make jewellery. This is because the pure forms, especially of gold and silver, can be quite soft, meaning they wouldn’t be practical for ring metals on their own. Gold is the softest metal in its purest form, so will typically require the most maintenance, while platinum is the strongest, meaning it shouldn't need too much attention at all.

The colour of gold can also be altered, depending on what kinds of alloys the metal is combined with. For example, pure gold can be mixed with copper to give us rose gold, or with light coloured metals like zinc and nickel to produce white gold.

The differences in the composition of platinum, gold, and silver also mean that the way they react to different chemicals can vary, so it’s important that you know what they can and can’t be cleaned with.

How to clean rings

Cleaning your jewellery can be nerve-wracking when you’re not an expert, but doing it at home can save you a lot of time and money. Knowing the type of metal you’re going to be cleaning is key, as each of these can react differently to cleaning chemicals and solutions. In this section, we will be covering how to clean rings, whether they’re platinum, silver, or gold, as well as if they have gemstones.

How to clean platinum rings

Although it’s especially durable, platinum can scratch, so you still need to be careful when cleaning your platinum rings. This is particularly important as once platinum gets scratched, pieces of the metal get displaced to other parts of your rings, giving them a worn, antique appearance.

Hand washes, hand creams, and general wear and tear can affect the condition of platinum rings and reduce their natural sheen. But luckily there is a multitude of cleaning options to keep your platinum rings looking newer for longer, all from the comfort of your own home.

1. Warm water and soap

The cheapest and easiest way to clean your platinum rings is by soaking them in a sudsy solution of warm water and a mild washing up liquid for around 30 minutes. This will lift any built-up grime and debris from your rings, effortlessly restoring their lustre.

Once you’ve removed your rings from the soapy solution, use a clean, soft toothbrush to gently buff your platinum rings — just make sure you plug any sinks you will be working over, as this mixture can make the rings slippery. Rinse your rings in cold water and dry using a lint-free cloth. Alternatively, you can leave your clean platinum rings to air-dry on top of the cloth.

How to clean silver rings

All types of silver will eventually react to the air and light, which can give the metal a tarnished appearance. Luckily, it’s quite easy to get your silver rings sparkling again if they’re looking dull or very worn. The cleaning process you choose will depend on the current condition of your rings, but here are your options:

1. Warm water and soap

If your silver rings are just starting to look a little dull and discoloured, a solution of warm water and washing up liquid will usually be enough to effectively remove dirt and grime that’s built up on your jewellery. All you’ll need to do is fill a bowl with warm water and some mild soap until it has created a sudsy solution. Dip a soft lint-free cloth into the mixture and rub this all over the jewellery. You should then place your silver rings in a bowl of clean, cool water and use a lint-free cloth to buff them dry.

2. Baking soda paste

If your silver rings look significantly tarnished, the above might not be enough to fix it. Instead, you could do with creating a baking soda paste that can be spread over your rings and buffed off. To do this, you’ll need to combine approximately three parts baking soda with one part water and mix until it forms a thick paste. Wet your silver rings and work the paste in using a lint-free cloth, being sure to get it into all of the crevices. Thoroughly rinse your silver rings and buff them dry with a clean, lint-free cloth. Again, remember to plug any sinks you’ll be working over.

3. Aluminium foil

If you’ve got a build up of stubborn dirt and debris stuck to your silver rings, you might need something a little more powerful to get it looking clean again. A little-known, but very effective, way of removing this is to boil one litre of water with a tablespoon of baking soda and place a medium-sized piece of aluminium foil in the boiling mixture. Once the water is fizzing, drop your rings into it. The baking powder will speed up the reaction between the aluminium foil and the sulphur that has built up and will be the best thing to clean silver jewellery with at home if you need to deal with hardened dirt. Remove your rings from the pan using kitchen tongs and buff them dry with a lint-free cloth or leave them to air dry.

How to clean gold rings

Gold rings can be a little more complicated to clean, as there are so many different types of gold out there. In general, gold has a high susceptibility to tarnish, so there are a few substances you will need to avoid: for example, body soaps and chlorine can create a film over your rings, making them appear worn and dirty. Below, we will be sharing how to clean gold jewellery at home.

1. Washing up liquid and water

Lightly-worn gold jewellery can be easily revitalised with a mixture of washing up liquid and warm water. The dish soap will easily lift grease, dirt, and debris off your gold rings, while the warm water will loosen any ingrained substances. If you think you need something a little more powerful than water, you can add soda water, as the carbonation will fizz, making it easier to loosen build ups.

After you’ve made your solution, you can soak your gold rings in it for around 15–30 minutes. Using a clean, soft toothbrush, gently scrub your gold rings, ensuring you get in all the nooks and crannies where loosened dirt may be. If you spot any patches of stubborn dirt that aren’t lifting off, try dampening a cotton bud with water and rubbing it along the section. You should then rinse your jewellery with warm running water, remembering to plug the sink, and dry these with a soft, lint-free cloth.

How to clean gemstone rings

There is no one-size-fits-all way of cleaning gemstones, as they can all react differently to heat, chemicals, and brushing, so you’ll need to establish the hardiness of your ring's stones before you select a cleaning method. You also need to be aware that a high hardiness doesn’t necessarily mean a gemstone is resistant to everything. For example, diamonds may rank at 10 on the MOHS scale, but substances such as chlorine, bleach, and toothpaste can all dull your diamond ring’s sparkle. Knowing what your gemstone is compatible with and what it isn’t will be key, so we recommend visiting the Gem Society’s guide to maintaining gemstones for further information.

1. Warm water and soap

A simple degreasing solution of mild washing up liquid and water can be effective at removing a build-up of dirt, while maintaining your diamond. All you have to do is fill a bowl with warm water and a few drops of the soap until it has created a sudsy solution. Submerge your diamond rings in the mixture for 15–30 minutes. You should then remove your rings and brush them with a soft, clean toothbrush to remove any dirt. Rinse the diamond rings with cool water and dry them with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Due to the hardiness of diamonds and the gentleness of this method, you can do this up to twice a week for your diamond rings. This can also be replicated for many other precious gems including amethyst, jade and opal, which we stock here at Ramsdens.

How to care for your rings

While frequent cleaning is a great step towards keeping your rings in top condition, you will also need to make sure you are caring for your jewellery between cleans. Luckily, there are some generic tips that can be applied to all gemstones to keep them sparkling all year round.

1. Remove before exercising

Exercising can put a strain on your ring, whether that’s through loosening the stones or disfiguring the band, so don’t be afraid to take it off when you’re working out to prevent this. We recommend storing it away in a special ring pouch or the box it came in to avoid it getting scratched or scraped in your bag.

2. Remove before cleaning

All metals and gemstones will react differently to various cleaning products. For example, common household cleaners that include bleach and chlorine can affect gold and cause stress corrosion, meaning your beautiful gold rings will soon begin to look worn and damaged. As a result, we would advise that you remove your rings and put them in a safe place while you clean. This will remove the chances of your jewellery coming into contact with any chemicals that could have a negative impact on the setting, gemstone, or metal.

3. Remove before showering or swimming

While the occasional shower or swim mightn’t affect your rings, water can cause lasting damage to your rings over time. This is because chemicals and contaminants in the water can cause your rings to become tarnished and dull as they can react with the metals your ring is composed of.

4. Don’t frequently resize

It’s normal for your fingers to change size throughout your lifetime, whether that’s down to weight fluctuations, outside temperatures, or travelling. But getting your ring frequently resized may make an already fragile ring even more frail and susceptible to irreversible damage. If you don't want to sacrifice your jewellery and think your fingers might have changed shape or width permanently, it’s best to speak to your jeweller to see if they think resizing is the way to go. Generally, I wouldn’t advise resizing your ring more than once to maintain its shape and condition.

5. Buy ring insurance

Any financial investment is worth insuring, so make sure you protect your ring against theft, misplacement, or damage. And, as the price of precious metals and diamonds goes up over time, it’s important to get your ring revalued every five years to make sure your insurance is covering it for the right value.

6. Store correctly

Storing your ring can protect it from damage, so finding the right place to keep them is important. We recommend storing it away in a fabric-lined ring box or in a jewellery box that has multiple compartments so you can keep it separate from your other pieces. It’ll also be good to have somewhere to keep them when you’re cooking. Investing in a ring tree or dish to put on your kitchen counter is a good idea, or you could just use a lidded container for a quick, simple way to keep your rings safe while you get hands-on in the kitchen.

7. Consult your jeweller

If you suspect something is wrong with your rings, or you want home cleaning and care advice for your specific jewellery, it’s best to consult the jeweller you bought them from. They will have the expert knowledge you need, or at least have the contacts to ask the manufacturer, so you will have tailored instructions as to how best to care for your particular rings.

When you’ve spent good money investing in a precious ring, it’s only natural that you’ll want to keep it in the best condition for as long as possible. While we advise taking it to your jeweller twice a year for a professional clean, it’s also possible to do it yourself. Hopefully this guide has shown you how you can clean your rings at home to keep them sparkling. Whether you’ve got platinum, silver, or gold rings, there’s a home cleaning technique that will help you look after your precious rings. For more helpful guides and inspiration articles, be sure to check out our blog.

If you’re after some new jewellery, check out our entire collection of rings here at Ramsdens Jewellery. We have plenty of styles, including diamond, platinum, silver and gold rings so, whatever you’re shopping for, you’re sure to find the perfect one. We offer free standard UK delivery on most orders, as well as a free click and collect service to any of our UK branches.

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