The current state of affairs is quite stressful. Though social distancing guidelines have drastically decreased potential interaction with the virus, grocery store runs and pharmacy visits still open up the possibility of exposure, which means face coverings, hand washing, and changing out of your street clothes as soon as you get home are all necessary measures to take. However, one small aspect you may not have thought about that warrants consideration is how to clean your jewelry properly during the coronavirus crisis.
The CDC's website states that "some studies have shown that skin underneath rings contains more germs than comparable areas of skin on fingers without rings" but that further research is needed to determine whether wearing rings increases the spread of deadly germs. Dr. Zach Hager at the Duke University School of Medicine shares with TZR that "according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the coronavirus can survive for varying lengths of time on surfaces. It seems to survive the shortest on copper (decays in a matter of four hours or so) while surviving much longer on plastic and stainless steel (decay takes up to three days)."
With this information in mind, it seems there are two sensible routes to go. First, wear less jewelry. "I think wearing less jewelry is a very wise recommendation, particularly hand and wrist jewelry," Hager says. "When washing your hands, you don’t want any surface on your hands to have inadequate soap contact (like under tight-fitting rings or bracelets)." As for earrings and necklaces, as long as you avoid touching them during times when you might risk cross-contamination, there's no need to care for them more than you might normally. Avoid fidgeting if you're out grabbing groceries or on a run.
If you do want to give pieces an extra clean, "the general advice for cleaning any kind of jewelry is warm water and mild dish soap [for at least 30 seconds]," Simon G. Jewelry CEO Zaven Ghanimian explains to TZR. "If there is visible dirt or grime, Ghanimian adds that you can "use an old toothbrush or jewelry cleaning brush to get in all the nooks and crannies."
Jewelry Designer Sophie Ratner adds that most metal and diamond jewelry is safe to be washed in warm water and soap "but if you're nervous about specific stones, I would take a little hand sanitizer and cloth and gently clean the piece." She also suggests removing jewelry prior to washing your hands " if the jewelry has pearls or any of these stones which are not water friendly: amber, turquoise, red coral, fire opal, moonstone, calcite, kyanite, kunzite, angelite, azurite, selenite."
If you're still unsure about how to broach whether or not to wear jewelry during this global pandemic, Dr. Hager concludes with the advice that "if you have jewelry that you cannot wash in soapy water, leave it in the jewelry box [for the time being]."
Ahead, shop from small jewelry brands that offer beautifully-crafted pieces you'll wear for yourself now, and show off once this is all over.
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If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.