In the last week, we’ve had several customers reach out to us wondering if Lavish is anti-bacterial. The answer is no, we do not make any claims that Lavish Jewelry Cleaner is either anti-bacterial or anti-microbial. However, this doesn’t discount the fact that good jewelry hygiene can play an important role in the defense against germs, viruses, and other gross things. This is especially true as reports show that Coronavirus can live on metallic surfaces for up to 72 hours. Over the years I’ve personally experienced and have heard many a tale from jewelers about how nasty it can be to clean customer’s jewelry. I think most jewelers would agree that their customers’ jewelry is often surprisingly filthy. As an industry, we’ve been telling customers for decades to bring their rings in every 6 months for a cleaning and to have the prongs checked. Let that sink in…every SIX MONTHS – no wonder we cringe when we see them lick their finger, or better yet, stick their whole finger and ring in their mouth to get a little extra lubrication to slide that filthy ring off and hand it to you for its 6 month checkup. That’s 6 months worth of lotion, perfume, makeup, cookie dough, burger grease, ranch dressing... and of course bacteria.
Tips for jewelers
1) Pre-clean jewelry with Lavish Jewelry Cleaning foam, or another jewelry cleaning foam, before putting it in your ultrasonic or using the steamer.
2) Use gloves and/or tongs when handling customers jewelry.
3) Change your ultrasonic solution more frequently.
4) Limit the use of steamer.
Pre-clean with foam.
Jewelers – Our suggestion, pre-clean your customer's jewelry with Lavish Foam or another foam cleaner before putting it in your ultrasonic or using your steam cleaner. Why use foam as a pre-cleaner you ask? We created the foam jewelry cleaner for 2 reasons. One, the delivery of concentrated cleaner in the form of foam is incredibly efficient. The surface area of the cleaner increases as it forms a bubble so that it can disperse over a greater area without slipping off the piece of jewelry. The second and maybe at this time more important reason we developed the foam cleaner is that we believe that using the foam is like taking a shower, whereas using the traditional dip and dunk jar is like taking a bath in the same bathwater over and over and over again. Kinda gross when you think about it that way, huh? Additionally, we don't recommend using spray cleaners as they have the potential of aerosolizing the biofilm on the jewelry. This is a particularly relevant concern as we face a lot of anxiety about germs and how easily the coronavirus can be transmitted via air. Having said that, good jewelry hygiene practices can go a long way to preventing the spread of germs.
Use gloves and/or tongs.
This one is pretty obvious. When handling or cleaning a customer's dirty jewelry use gloves or tongs to minimize skin contact. Some customers will appreciate the extra care you're taking to handle their jewelry cleanly and carefully. If you feel it might seem awkward or offensive to use gloves or tongs when accepting a piece of jewelry from a customer, you could have them place their jewelry on an attractive and easily cleanable tray. If done right, this can convey a higher level of "white glove" service to your customers. Make sure the tray is easily cleanable and won't scratch or damage the jewelry.
Change your ultrasonic bath.
Ultrasonics: if you’re like most jewelers, you change out your ultrasonic solution daily – this means that every piece of jewelry that goes in the ultrasonic leaves behind most of what gunk and grossness was on it. All day long you’re creating a special cocktail of biofilm and bacteria that is very happy at the elevated temperatures of the ultrasonic bath. Change your bath more frequently to minimize cross contamination. Ultrasonic waves also aerosolize biofilm in the solution and deposits it on surrounding surfaces.
Limit steamer use.
Steamers: The problem with steamers is that they violently aerosolize the biofilm that is on every piece of jewelry, creating a cloud of bacteria to breathe in and land on our mucous membranes (think eyes, nose mouth). Reports show that the coronavirus can remain viable as an aerosol for up to 3 hours, and aerosol appears to be the number one form of transmission. The particles also land and deposit throughout the room. Our mucous membranes are vulnerable to bacteria, so the steamer may actually spread bacteria and virus very effectively. You might be thinking, ok, but steam is very hot so it must kill off the bacteria – nope. As an example, according to Dentistry IQ, steam sterilization of instruments via autoclave requires temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit under a pressure of 20psi and an extended period of exposure of 20-40 minutes to meet minimum standards. You can use goggles and masks, but the reality is, most goggles and masks aren't adequate to fully protect you from the aerosol germ dispersion.
Tips for consumers and jewelry wearers
Consider not wearing rings, bracelets and watches right now
For a couple of reasons, I would recommend not wearing jewelry in this time of increased hand washing and hand sanitizer. One, you should be taking your rings off when you wash your hands or using sanitizer. When washing your hands throughout the day, your chances of misplacing your rings is heightened. Two, as I mentioned earlier, the nooks and crannies in dirty jewelry are prime real estate for harboring bacteria. Also, according to a recent article from MSN, a 2018 study from researchers at Georgia State University, the area where rings sit on your skin provide a "protected area where bacteria can flourish." The article also references a 2003 study that found that "nurses who wore rings and applied hand sanitizer, used sanitizer wipes, or washed their hands with antimicrobial soap had more bacteria on their hands afterwards than those who didn't wear rings and did the same hygiene procedures." So, if you're going to continue wearing your jewelry, please clean your rings, watches and bracelets thoroughly as often as you do your hands to make sure you’re not compromising all the hand washing we are all doing right now.
Don't use disinfectants with bleach or peroxides on your jewelry!
Don't use disinfectants that contain bleaches or peroxides on your jewelry. Bleaches and peroxides can not only damage many delicate stones, but they can cause premature wear and damage to precious metals and platings.
Please note that good jewelry hygiene should be practiced every day, not just during times that we are in the midst of a pandemic.