Hand sanitizer comes in two forms:
- Alcohol based – mixed with isopropyl or ethyl alcohol, water, glycerin, and some type of fragrance
- Alcohol Free – usually made up of an antibacterial, triclosan, an antiseptic like povidone-iodine, and a chloride cleaning agent.
The goal of hand sanitizer is to kill bacteria and prevent the growth of microorganisms, like viruses.
While sanitizing our hands is very important, it may be having a negative impact on your jewelry,
Are you noticing:
- Lack of shine on your metal?
- Dulled luster on your gemstones?
- Overall diminished brilliance?
If you have jewelry with pearls or opals, the alcohol in the hand sanitizer may damage them. The additional ingredients in hand sanitizer will dull the shine.
Chrissy Winslow, senior retail sales associate for N. Fox Jewelers, suggests erring more on the side of caution when it comes to pearls. “Sanitized skin should not come into contact with your pearls until completely dry and evaporated—I recommend waiting about five minutes before putting on your pearls,” says Winslow. “As with perfumes and hairspray, the alcohol in the hand sanitizer can change the surface of the pearl, resulting in a loss of luster and a change in color—white pearls, for example, will become yellowed if repeatedly exposed to such chemicals. Pearl rings should be removed when applying hand sanitizer, but because they have a mounting which separates them from direct contact with the chemicals, it is safe to put rings back on after a few minutes.”
What about my diamonds and sapphires?
While soap won’t damage them it can leave a filmy residue on the stones over time, dulling the sparkle. The dulling effect is not permanent, nothing a quick soak in an ultrasonic can’t fix.
To keep jewelry looking its best, people should be cleaning their jewelry more,” says Winslow “Hand sanitizer kills germs and shouldn’t have any detrimental effects on your gemstones. But, if you’re worried, rinse and dry once a day before you go to bed.