Is Hand Sanitizer Safe For Jewelry?

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 at 10:16 am by Mike

In the retail jewelry business, our hand-to-hand contact is frequent–most days it occurs hourly! That’s why Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry in both Morgantown and Uniontown locations ALWAYS have hand sanitizer on every counter. 

With the current Coronavirus epidemic, Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry has been asked, “is hand sanitizer safe for jewelry?”

Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry owner Tom Liccardi breaks it down beginning with: “the CDC recommends using alcohol-based sanitizers that contain a minimum of 60% alcohol.” 

While alcohol effectively limits the growth of harmful bacteria, it also has a negative impact on your jewelry. You may notice the following reaction to your rings and bracelets:

  • Dullness in gemstone luster and metal shine
  • Loosened prongs
  • Buildup between gemstones and metalwork

Non–alcohol-based sanitizers typically use chlorine-based compounds as germicides that react with water and release free chlorine. Free chlorine radical is very reactive and could cause tarnishing of jewelry, especially if it is made of sterling silver. Also, halogens are known to cause stress corrosion cracking in low karat golds, in particular, nickel white golds.

Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry’s Safest Solution to Protect Your Jewelry When Using Hand Sanitizer

  • Remove your jewelry when you apply hand sanitizer or wash your hands. Wait for your hands and fingers to completely dry before replacing your jewelry.
  • Soak your engagement ring, wedding bands, and hand or finger jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner a few times a week. Or, soak these items in a bowl of warm water and fragrance-free soap or mild dishwashing soap.
  • Consider removing your jewelry until the Coronavirus epidemic is officially over. Bacteria can grow inside your jewelry. If you’re not going to clean your jewelry every day during the outbreak, it’s better to store the pieces safely until the virus passes.

As a rule of thumb, Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry recommends limiting your exposure to common chemicals, such as chlorine, bleach, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and creams, hair care products, perfumes and colognes. These products can break down the brilliance of precious metals and gems.

If you have questions about cleaning your jewelry or possible damage due to the use of hand sanitizer, please message us at (304) 519-4062 or on our website Chat, or please call Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry in Suncrest Towne Centre, Morgantown, W.Va. (304-599-6981) or our Uniontown, Pa. location on S. Mt. Vernon Avenue (724-323-0061). Private appointments are available outside of store hours.