If you are like me and spend time cooking, cleaning, working in the garden, and taking care of a home, your wedding ring is probably just as dirty as mine. Years after I got married, my mom looked at my ring one day and was appalled by what a mess it was. After explaining I didn’t have time to go in for a professional cleaning, she shared with me how to clean wedding ring at home. This method has been passed down from my grandmother, and it works!
Important Tips Before You Begin
Your wedding and engagement rings are probably two of your most prized possessions. Before we start this process, I want to give you some tips to prevent damage.
- Place the ring under a flashlight and inspect for loose stones or damage; if there is damage of any kind, don’t attempt to clean the ring at home; bring it to a professional
- Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach or acetone, as them can damage the finish on your diamond engagement rings and wedding bands
- Abrasive materials like toothpaste, powdered cleaners, or even a scrub brush can cause scratches
- Baking soda is known to be abrasive and can become a problem if used incorrectly, but I’ll show you how to use it the right way
- If you are cleaning wedding and engagement rings anywhere near your sink, put a stopper in the drain; trust me on this one!
Supplies and Tools
- Aluminum foil
- Baking soda
- Bowl with warm water
- Dry towel and a soft cloth
What Is the Best Way To Clean a Ring at Home?
The best way to clean a ring at home is to let your diamond ring soak in a baking soda and water solution while in an aluminum foil bowl. I know this may seem like an odd setup, but it works incredibly well and avoids a trip to the professional jeweler. Use this for diamond rings but do not put pearls, opals, and emeralds into the baking soda solution because of the alkaline properties of baking soda.
- Create a small bowl out of aluminum foil; I cut a sheet and then folded up the edges so the size of the bottom is about the size of a drinking glass
- Inside the aluminum foil, add about two tablespoons of baking soda, followed by two tablespoons of water
- Let the diamond ring soak in this solution overnight
- When you pull the clean diamond rings out the next morning, rinse them with cool water and then clean them with a cotton or linen cloth
- Let the ring air day
- If your ring was really dirty and the ring cleaning didn’t quite work, you can put it through another soak
The science behind the aluminum foil in this method is a chemical reaction called ion exchange. It happens when aluminum foil, baking soda, and water work together to remove tarnishes. It’s especially effective with silver, but can work with most metals, except gold, without damaging them.
What Else Can You Clean Your Wedding Ring With?
If you don’t have a diamond ring, or you feel like the baking soda method isn’t a fit for you, here are a few other ways to clean your engagement or wedding rings. Again, please follow my recommendations when it comes to gemstones and types of rings that would not work for each cleaning method.
Mild Dish Soap
Soap will break down oils and dirt and help clean your diamond ring. For this method, you need to apply the cleaning power of soap with a mild scrubbing motion and use a baby toothbrush with very soft bristles to avoid any damage.
- Fill a bowl with warm water, and add several drops of soap
- Let the rings sit in the solution
- Take a baby toothbrush and gently scrub the entire ring, including the stone and the band
- Run the ring through warm running water
- Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth
- Air dry
- Repeat the process if necessary
Commercial Jewelry Cleaner
The Weiman Fine Jewelry Cleaner is a great method for cleaning your wedding or engagement ring at home. This one gives you a little more of the power of professional cleaning with the convenience of household cleaners. The gentle formula helps to break down dirt and debris on the ring.
- Take the cap off of the Weiman Fine Jewelry Cleaner
- Place the ring inside the cleaning solution
- Let the ring sit for 20 to 30 minutes
- Use the included soft brush if necessary to remove any excess dirt or debris
- Rinse the ring under hot water
- Buff with a gentle cotton cloth
- Let the ring air dry
Interestingly, my mom, who taught me the baking soda method, just recently purchased an ultrasonic cleaner. I gave the cleaner a try, and within two to three hours, all of my jewelry was sparkling. These ultrasonic cleaners are a great solution for those that have a lot of jewelry and have a hard time keeping it all clean.
The Ultrasonic cleaner uses high-frequency sound waves to create bubbles. These bubbles work as tiny non-abrasive scrubbers to clean your engagement and wedding rings without damaging them.
The Magnasonic Cleaner that I have used has several settings making it easier to fine tune the cleaning to the type of jewelry you are working with.
- Read the instructions included on the Magnasonic Cleaner to get the proper setting and duration for your ring
- Complete the cleaning process according to the directions
- Remove and wipe the rings with a lint free cloth
- Repeat if necessary
How To Clean Different Types of Rings
The baking soda method to clean your engagement and wedding rings is my favorite. However, there are other options out there that are better if you don’t have a diamond engagement ring. Some gemstones are a bit more fragile yet just as susceptible to everyday wear.
- Dish soap and warm water: the soap breaks down any oil and grime left on the surface and makes it easier to wash away
- Baking soda solution: the alkaline properties and mild abrasive solution help to clean the intricate shaping of the diamond and ensure it is left sparkling
- Ammonia solution: the alkalinity of ammonia will dissolve things like oil and grease; gently brush with a soft bristled toothbrush when finished soaking
- Weiman Fine Jewelry Cleaner: mild solution combined with a brush similar to a soft toothbrush helps dissolve dirt, debris, oils, and grease and leaves you with a shiny ring
- Baking soda and water: the alkalinity of baking soda helps to break down tarnish on the exterior surface of the gold
- Connoisseurs Gold and Silver Jewelry Cleaner Wipes: the Connoisseurs Gold and Silver Jewelry Cleaner wipes dissolve tarnish and then provide a protective layer to give you more time between cleanings
- Aluminum foil baking soda and water soak: the chemical reaction that happens between the baking soda and aluminum foil removes tarnish and leaves your ring shiny and clean; dry with paper towels or a lint-free cloth
- Connoisseurs Gold and Silver Jewelry Cleaner Wipes: the Connoisseurs Gold and Silver Jewelry Cleaner wipes dissolve tarnish and then provide a protective layer
- Ammonia solution: alkaline properties of ammonia allow it to break down dirt, debris, and grime on the exterior of the platinum without causing damage
- Simple Shine Jewelry Cleaning Kit: the cleaning solution breaks down oils and dirt, while the brush and microfiber cloth help to polish and shine
- Mild dish soap and water: the dish soap will break down oil on and around the gemstone and loosen any dirt that can be then rinsed away
- Blitz Gem and Jewelry Cleaner: the Blitz Gem and Jewelry Cleaner is specifically formulated to work on gemstones like ruby, sapphire, and topaz; this is a concentrate that is used with an ultrasonic cleaner
Tips for Keeping Your Wedding Ring Shiny
Now that your engagement ring or wedding ring is clean let’s take a look at prevention and maintenance tips to help it stay this way. The cleaning process is not difficult, but it makes sense to try and keep the ring shiny for as long as you can.
- Plan on cleaning your ring at least once a month by staying up to date with cleaning your rings at home; you will spend much less on professional ring cleaning
- Before applying lotion and creams, make sure to take your rings off
- When doing things in the yard or garden, you will be subject to dirt build-up in and around the stone setting; take your rings off for this
- Rinse the rings regularly when you know that there is loose debris or oils that could have come into contact with the rings
Why Wedding Rings Need Regular Cleaning
Wedding rings are worn on a daily basis, and because of that, they accumulate quite a bit of dirt and grime. You may have things like soap and shampoo residue, oils from lotions and sunscreens, food grease, dust, dirt, and even dead skin cells all sitting on your ring right now.
In addition to making your ring look older and not nearly as shiny, you may be subjecting your ring to long term corrosion and scratching. To avoid having additional work done to your rings over time, regular cleaning is necessary.
Before you start this process of cleaning your ring at home, you have to know what type of ring you have. To restore shine and for you to feel confident you are not causing damage, make sure you follow the proper steps for the type of ring you own.
When To Seek Professional Cleaning for Your Wedding Rings?
I’ll admit that although I like to clean my ring at home myself, there are certain types of rings that create a breeding ground for dirt and debris, and the old dishwashing soap or baking soda method may not cut it.
- If you have a pave, cluster, or halo setting, you have likely dealt with trapped oil and dirt; the more complex your ring setting is, the more prone you are to built-up dirt and damage and even skin irritation. For deep cleans, a professional clean makes the most sense
- As I mentioned, opal, pearl, and emerald are some of the softest gemstones out there and don’t have the same hardness as diamonds; professional cleaners will have the best cleaning methods to avoid damage
- If you have an engraving that is intricate, you may have a hard time getting the dirt out of it without using professional equipment, the soap and water method with a soft bristle toothbrush is worth trying, but after that, a professional may be necessary
- Antique or vintage rings may have issues with damage that is not visible to the naked eye; if you give them a thorough clean, you may be unknowingly causing more damage
Professional cleaning for your wedding rings ranges from $25 to $75. If you purchased your ring from a jeweler, they may offer cleaning once per year as part of the purchase price. Always ask about a jeweler’s procedures for cleaning, and talk to friends and family about who they use.
Dropping your rings off, even just for cleaning, can leave you with an uneasy feeling; this is the time to seek out a true professional, read reviews, and make sure they know how to gently clean, remove dirt and polish your ring.