Why Clean A Wedding Band?
The answer is exactly the same as it would be for any piece of jewelry. Your wedding band, by its very nature, collects dirt very quickly. Your hands work harder than any other part of your body, and everything you touch is almost guaranteed to be teeming with grease and dirt. Over time, the accumulation of dirt not only dulls the shine on jewelry, but can also cause permanent scratching.
You clean your house because you want to take care of it, and to keep it looking great. You clean your car for the same reason. Why not afford the same consideration for your wedding band?
How Wedding Bands Have Changed
Until recently, almost all wedding bands were quite plain in terms of having little or no decoration. It was also unlikely that they would have gemstones or other added elements. As simple gold bands, it meant cleaning was usually pretty straightforward, but we now often see far more intricate examples. Designers and makers use metals other than gold, and there may be diamonds or other stones set into the band itself.
Cleaning a wedding band then becomes much more of a planned process. The materials or stones that are used may react to chemicals, for example. Or it may be that decorated bands are more fragile and susceptible to damage. Whatever the design, a quick rinse in a bit of warm soapy water may no longer be likely to get the job done.
What Exactly Is On Your Wedding Band?
You work, you play, you clean, and you live. You also come into contact with a ton of dirt, grease, oils, lotions and potions, powders and chowders. Every one of these leaves something physical on you, even if you don’t see it. Whilst most dirt will wash off, some will stick around and even collect a little more over time. When you apply products for your daily beauty regime, if you do so wearing your wedding band, some will become firmly attached. As you do it every day, it doesn’t take long for the appearance of your wedding band to be affected.
If you have stones set into your wedding band, the news is even worse. The setting of each stone has enough nooks and crannies to trap a ton of stuff, and the longer you wait to clean it, the worse it gets. Leave it long enough and there will be enough pressure under the stone for it to pop right out.
Cleaning A Plain Wedding Band
If you have any doubts about any of the methods here, you should ask a jeweler to clean your rings and other jewelry.
If you do have a plain wedding band, it is more than likely to be gold or platinum, and this method can be used for either. Fortunately, this makes it really quite simple to clean. All you will need is a small glass of hand-hot water and a few drops of regular liquid dish-washing soap.
Simply add the soap to the water and give it a quick stir to activate the detergent properties. Put your wedding band in the soapy water and leave for about 30-40 minutes. Take the ring out, rinse it under warm running eater (watch the drain!) and wipe it all over with a soft, lint-free cloth. That should be enough to bring the band back to something like its original glory. If not, repeat with fresh soap and water.
The water needs to be hand-hot in order to release some of the stickier stuff on your wedding band. If it is too cool the cleaning won’t be as effective.
Finally, leave the clean band to one side for a short time to finish air-drying.
This process is so simple and quick that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it weekly. Do it whilst you cook dinner or even when watching TV. There’s no work involved beyond turning on a tap and using a cloth to dry your ring, so there’s no excuse!
Cleaning An Engraved Wedding Band
The process for cleaning a wedding band that has decorative engraving is almost identical to that for a plain band. The only difference is that some dirt may need encouragement to release from within the engraving. You should use this method even if the engraving itself is only names and a date on the inside of the band.
Leave the band to soak as in the above method for a plain band, and then use a very soft (think baby-soft) toothbrush to gently run round the engraving. Don’t scrub, as both gold and platinum are soft enough to scratch with even the gentlest action. Simply run the bristles of the brush along the general direction of the engraving.
Rinse, and then repeat just for good measure. Again, it’s such a simple process that there’s no reason why you can’t do it every week.
Cleaning A Wedding Band With Stones Set
Things now start to get a little more complicated. Stones set in a wedding band need a lot more care during cleaning so as to avoid loosening or damaging them. In fact, if your ring has anything other than diamonds, sapphires or rubies, then forget about cleaning it yourself and take it to a jeweler. Other gemstones are either too soft or they are porous, meaning even hard water can damage them.
Assuming you don’t have other stones, this method should work perfectly well. First, never leave any band that has stones set in water for even a short time. Heat and hot water can loosen a set stone very quickly, so we need to use a different method. The equipment is actually just as simple as for other wedding bands. All you need is hand-hot water, dishwashing soap and a very soft toothbrush.
Dampen the toothbrush and apply a drop or two of the soap to the bristles. Gently work the soapy tips of the bristles in and around the stones, and along the band generally. Don’t use any kind of force, to avoid the stones suddenly pinging out. Rinse the ring and brush and repeat the process until the wedding band is clean.
Dry with a lint-free cloth and allow some time to finish air-drying.
What Not To Do
Despite what you may read elsewhere, never use things like toothpaste to clean your wedding band. By the nature of what they are designed to do, toothpastes are abrasive and can damage the base metal at the very least.
Windex is an oft-quoted wonder-cleaner for jewelry, and it does work. However, given the usually plain nature of wedding bands, it is probably unnecessary. If you can avoid using chemicals or acids of any kind, you should. The risk is actually very slight, but if you can clean your ring without such products, why not do so?
Don’t use ultrasonic jewelry cleaners if your wedding band has any kind of setting. Ultrasonic machines use sound waves to create tiny vibrations to shake the dirt loose, and the same will happen to your diamonds and sapphires.
Don’t leave your wedding band soaking overnight, no matter how dirty it may be. If it really is that dirty, take it to a professional and then pick up the weekly regime from that point. Otherwise, just repeat the simple method(s) above until the band is clean again.
Treasure Your Wedding Band
Your wedding band won’t be the most expensive and probably not the most spectacular ring you’ll ever wear, but it’s not about that. It has a cultural and spiritual significance that other rings just don’t have. That, alone, makes it worth the very slight effort it takes to keep it clean.
Click here to learn how to clean your earrings.
Click here to learn how to clean your engagement ring.