Hand washing is the most critical step people can take to try and stop the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak. Your ring and watch that you are used to wearing every day could be spreading germs unintentionally.
A Georgia State University study that was conducted in 2018 found that health care workers who wore rings on the job, where the rings sat on their skin provided “a protected area in which bacteria can flourish,” Workers who did not wear rings, we able to keep their hands cleaner than those who did not.
A 2003 study measured that bacterial nurses’ hands who applied hand sanitizers, used sanitizer wipes or used anti-microbial soap. Nurses who wore rings had more bacteria on their hands than those workers who did not wear rings but used the same products to wash their hands.
“If rings are contaminated and you pop them back on after washing your hands, you’ve recontaminated your hands,” Lucy Wilson, a professor in the department of emergency health services at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, told HuffPost “If you’re not going to disinfect your rings, you shouldn’t be taking them off and putting them back on.”
Moisturizing is also an important part of making sure hands stay clean. If your hands are cracked or dry, they lose their safety barrier, making it hard for the hand to absorb the antibacterial benefits. But, lotion can be bad for rings. Rings that have stones can collect lotion behind the stones, that build up can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Decreased airflow behind the stone can trap moisture, which can lead to unnecessary wear and loosening of the prongs.
Hand sanitizer may ruin some pieces. Organic gems, like coral or pearls, can be damaged. The alcohol in the sanitizer can dry out the gems and cause them to crack. When in doubt, it’s best to use soap and water
If you must wear your ring, take off the ring and wash with hot and soapy water to disinfect the pieces without ruining them. Wash your hands and place the ring back on your finger.