Exactly When You Should Take Off Your Engagement Ring (And Why)

Plus, how to keep it pristine for years to come.
by Sarah Hanlon

We get it—you never want to stop staring at your engagement ring. (Why would you?) But, believe it or not, knowing when to take off your engagement ring is vital for keeping it pristine and safe for years to come. You'll be wearing your wedding jewelry for the rest of your life, so it's important to know when it's best to keep it stored away. Not only will this ensure the safety of your prized possessions, it'll also help keep your jewelry clean while also preventing damages. 

Here, we explain exactly when to take off your engagement ring. Find the answers to your burning FAQs, and make sure to follow our top tips. That way, your rock will continue to be just as brilliant as the day you said "Yes." 

In this article: 

Exactly When to Take Off Your Engagement Ring

You might not want to, but occasionally taking off your engagement ring is a must. Below, we answer the most common questions about when to take off your engagement ring. 

Should you wear your engagement ring all the time?

In short, no. Your hands come in contact with plenty of surfaces and substances every day, which can potentially harm your engagement ring. While it's safe to keep it on for most activities, take it off when you know you'll be working heavily with your hands or if you could potentially expose it to harsh chemicals. 

Can you wear your engagement ring in the shower?

Scented soaps, along with hair and beauty products, can cause cloudy buildup on your stone, or worse, under your stone—which is much harder to clean. Avoid taking a shower with your engagement ring on, since it'll be exposed to products that can damage it over time. Wearing it once or twice won't cause any immediate problems, but keep in mind that long-term exposure can cause more damage than you might realize. The same goes for any lotions or beauty products you might put on your skin after a shower too. Play it safe and take your engagement ring off before getting it lathered up. 

What about at the gym? 

Wearing your ring during cardio activities won’t do it any harm, but weight lifting can take a toll. The pressure of the weight’s bars (or really, any amount of strong pressure) that’s applied to your band might bend it, which is especially bad for a pavé band because the smaller stones can fall out of their setting. In general, though, consider taking it off any time you hit the gym. Not only is this the safest option, you'll also avoid losing it if you happen to take it off. As for contact sports, definitely take off your engagement ring, or risk a serious injury like ring avulsion.

Should you take your engagement ring off to wash your hands?

Generally, you don't have to take off your engagement ring when you wash your hands. In fact, using gentle soap and water is the best way to clean an engagement ring at home, so washing your hands won't do any damage to your jewelry. If you have strong, scented soap, though, consider swapping it with a gentler formula just to be safe. 

What about hand sanitizer and engagement rings?

Over time, hand sanitizer can damage your engagement ring. The harsh chemicals in hand sanitizer (and other cleaning agents like chlorine, bleach, rubbing alcohol and antibacterial soaps) won't cause immediate damage, but over time will discolor your metal setting and dull your stone's sparkle. The worst part? Once your rock's shine is gone, you can't get it back. Hand sanitizer can also loosen the prongs on your ring setting, meaning your stone could pop out if it's not properly fastened. 

That's not to say you should stop using hand sanitizer. Instead, just take your rings off when using it, and place them back on once your hands are dry. 

Can you wear your engagement ring in the pool?

Just like hand sanitizer, chlorine can cause discoloration to your band and stone. In order to avoid having a cloudy diamond or a tarnished gold band, take your engagement ring off before going in a pool or hot tub. 

What about at the beach?

You should always avoid wearing your wedding jewelry at the beach for a few key reasons. First, rings can easily fall off in the ocean and get swept away. However, sand can also damage your engagement ring without you even realizing it. Small grains can get wedged in the setting of your engagement ring, which can loosen the prongs and make your rock susceptible to falling out. And, if you're using sunscreen, the product can cause build up on your diamond—just like the beauty products you use in the shower. Overall, it's best to avoid wearing your engagement ring at the beach. 

When You Travel?

If you're travelling to a new city (or a place that's underdeveloped) you might feel safest leaving your wedding jewelry at home. While the choice is up to your discretion, some prefer to leave their valuables at home to be safe. Or, if you're staying in a hotel room, leave your rings locked in a safe while you're out. That way, you'll avoid having it lost or stolen. No matter what, we advise that you treat your engagement ring like any other valuable possessions you have—especially while traveling. 

When to Take Off a Wedding Band

Not everyone has an engagement ring. If you only wear a wedding band, almost all of the same rules apply. Wedding bands are often made from a variety of materials, including platinum, sterling silver, tungsten, wood and even diamonds. No matter the kind you have, avoid exposing your wedding band to harsh chemicals, soaps and beauty products. You'll also want to avoid potential damage to your ring by taking it off at the gym and leaving it at home when you go to the beach or hit the pool. 

When It's OK to Leave Your Engagement Ring On

When you know your engagement ring won't be exposed to harsh chemicals or unnecessary pressure, it's okay to leave it on. Day-to-day activities won't harm your wedding jewelry, so go ahead and show off your bauble. You should only take it off when you know it'll be exposed to potentially harmful agents. 

Should you sleep with your engagement ring on?

Choosing whether or not you sleep with your engagement ring on comes down to your own personal preference. If you're a wild sleeper, you might want to leave it on your bedside table. There's a chance it could snag your pillow or sheets, or even worse—get caught in your hair. Or, if it were to slip off in the middle of the night, you might have trouble finding it in your covers the next day. 

Remember that your engagement ring is a valuable piece of fine jewelry, so you should treat it accordingly. Ultimately, though, the choice is yours when it comes to sleeping with your engagement ring on. 

Is it bad luck to take off your engagement ring?

Old superstitions might have claimed it was bad luck to take your engagement ring off. But, myths aside, it's better to take it off when appropriate to make sure your jewelry is clean and safe. Leaving your engagement ring or wedding band at home while you go to the gym isn't bad luck (nor is it a reflection of your relationship). Instead, making smart decisions will keep your valuables safe (and stunning) in the long run. 

How to Store Your Engagement Ring

The way you store your engagement ring and wedding jewelry is completely up to you. With so many ring boxes, dishes, pillows and trays on the market, you'll surely find one that you absolutely love. Keep a ring box or dish in a safe spot in your home, and get one that you can travel with too. Plus, most options are easily customizable, so you can personalize it with your monogram, your wedding date or your name.  No matter what option you choose, you should have at least one dish or box on hand. Because when it comes to jewelry, keeping it safe and clean will ensure that it retains its beauty for years to come.

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