Whether You Should Remove Your Rings When Applying Lotion Or Soap Is Actually Complicated

Rings are one of the most versatile and meaningful accessories found in jewelry boxes. Many rings are sentimental in nature because they've been given as gifts from loved ones, passed down through generations as family heirlooms, or represent intimate commitments with sparkling diamonds and uniquely designed engagement rings. Other rings push the boundaries of fashion, like large cocktail rings with elaborate designs or rings that span multiple fingers. And then there are rings that are simply fun or practical to wear — such as silicone rings in place of expensive alternatives while you're working out, or rings purchased for everyday wear simply because you love the way they look.

Since rings can tell entire narratives of our lives, such as a connection to a family member, an academic accomplishment depicted through a class ring, or a commitment made to a loving partnership, these items of jewelry are important to maintain. Keeping deluxe diamond and gemstone rings in top form is generally desired, but a ring doesn't have to possess a high price tag to be valuable to its owner. Whether you have a coveted ring that's a staple in your daily wardrobe or a ring with a sentimental story behind it, protecting it is equally as important as protecting diamond engagement rings and other expensive accessories. Lotion and soap are two everyday solutions that have the potential of damaging rings. Here's what to know.

Be extremely aware of situations involving drains

Living in a post-quarantine world following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the practices of washing our hands and constantly utilizing hand sanitizer have become more persistent in daily life than ever before. With frequent hand washing comes the increased likelihood of dry skin — therefore creating the need for regular use of lotion and hand creams to moisturize the skin on our hands and fingers. And given that we wear rings on our fingers, the question of whether or not to remove the coveted bijouterie when washing our hands, applying hand sanitizer, or rubbing in lotion is extremely relevant. However, the answer isn't as simple as a mere yes or no.

According to fine jewelers 12 Fifteen, there are several reasons why you may want to avoid wearing your rings while washing your hands or applying products like lotion. For hand washing (and any other activity involving a sink or drain, including bathtubs and showers), pay extra attention to how slippery the combination of soap and water can become. The last thing you want to experience is your ring falling down the drain and getting lost. So whether you're taking your morning shower, washing your hands in a public restroom, or scrubbing up before cooking dinner, you'll want to be hyper-aware of any rings you're wearing. Basic hand or dishwashing soap itself won't damage rings, though. Soap is a substance that's actually recommended for cleaning diamond engagement rings, per Sotheby's.

Lotions and cosmetics come with risks to rings

Unlike soaps that are generally safe for rings, lotions and moisturizers aren't quite as straightforward. This is where the question about removing rings before applying cosmetics gets a little murky. If you apply lotion to your hands, figuring out how to approach jewelry has some layers to it. The majority of rings are susceptible to lotions and hand creams, which can cultivate a potential buildup of dirty goo within the settings. Particularly for diamond rings, lotions can leave film-like residues that are likely to dull the stone's sparkle over time. Blue Nile reports that for rings with gemstones, there's a risk of damage to the integrity of stones upon exposure to lotions, body oils, and cosmetics, including scented soaps.

When in doubt, the best advice is to always remove rings before applying lotions and other cosmetics to your hands, including running your hands through your hair to apply product to your locks. It also takes some savvy to determine how long you should wait before putting rings back on after using a moisturizer or other maquillage. Since lotion can make your hands just as slippery as soap does, remain attentive to the presence of your ring after using a lotion-based product. Though some products may take longer to dry, always wait for your skin to fully absorb lotion before placing your ring back on.

Invest in a ring dish or pouch

You can make a big difference in protecting your rings by making a small investment. Buy a beautiful ring dish and place it by sinks and lotion bottles. There are specially designed ring dishes you can purchase, or you can go the DIY route by using any small bowl, plate, or container. Since items that sit in the same spot for long periods of time can collect dust, dirt, and generally become a little grimy, a good thing to consider when choosing a container to serve as a ring dish is whether or not it's washable (or even dishwasher safe). Many custom ring dishes are made from ceramic materials or include detailed hand-painted acrylics, which may not make them easy to wash. If your ring dish builds up a layer of dust, then you may be putting your rings at risk of collecting dirt, hair, and dander when you place them on the dish. Just like how you care for your rings by keeping them clean, be certain to keep your ring dishes clean, too.

When you're out in public, at work, or otherwise away from your trustworthy ring dish, a good tip is to keep a small pouch with you to place your rings in before washing your hands or applying products. This way you'll reduce your risk of losing your favorite ring in a public restroom — and protect it from making the one-way journey down a drain.