Engagement Ring Care 101: When to Take Off or Keep On Your Bling

Ensure your most treasured piece of jewelry can go the distance, remaining pristine for years to come.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Oct 27, 2023

They've finally put a ring on it and you can't stop staring at your megawatt diamond. We get it, but what about engagement ring care? These things don't take care of themselves and while not the sexiest part of your journey to the aisle, knowing when to take off your engagement ring is vital for keeping it in tip-top shape 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, but it will also help keep your jewelry clean while preventing damage. Here you'll find the answers to your burning questions. By heeding our advice you can ensure that your rock will remain just as brilliant as the day you said "Yes."

In this article:

Should you wear your engagement ring all the time?

Do you wear your engagement ring every day? Unless you seldom have to lift a finger, please think twice about doing that. The Knot and your ring will thank you. Think about it: Your hands come in contact with plenty of surfaces and substances every day, which weren't made for precious stones and metals. While it's safe to keep your ring on for most daily activities, do take it off when you know you'll be working heavily with your hands or if you could potentially expose it to harsh chemicals.

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.

Exactly When to Take Off Your Engagement Ring

You might not want to (and we can't exactly blame you) but occasionally removing your precious engagement ring is a must. Below, we answer the most common questions about when to take off your engagement ring.

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.

Do you wear your engagement ring to the gym?

Wearing your engagement 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.

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 as it can add an undesirable tinge to lighter hair colors, chlorine can cause discoloration to both 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. This should go without saying, but having a secure place to store it is a must as rings can get knocked about in one's bag. If you do happen to go for a dip with your ring, don't panic: A quick plunge into a product such as Diamond Drunk—a clean, non-toxic, and vegan jewelry cleaner—will help neutralize things.

Should I wear my engagement ring to the beach?

You should always avoid wearing your engagement ring 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 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 take your engagement ring off when you 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.

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.

Should you wear your engagement ring when you travel?

If you're traveling to an unfamiliar city 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.

How to Store Your Engagement Ring

Can't find your keys? Imagine if you'd misplaced your engagement ring. Don't be that partner. Instead, spring for a beautiful box in which to store one of your most prized possessions or a strategically placed dish so you always know where it is.

Store your engagement ring in a box.

You remember what it felt like when they first surprised you with the ring. Keep it looking as new as it did then with a beautiful box (perhaps one that can be personalized with your initials) that will ward off scratches whether you're at home or on the road.

Ring Box in Panama Leather

Ring Box in Panama Leather
Photo: Smythson

While best known for stationery, Smythson's commitment to quality extends to leather goods and has earned the London-based firm several royal warrants. Be sure to take advantage of the personalization service to ensure that your box is as unique as the ring it holds.

Tasseled Velvet Jewelry Box

Tasseled Velvet Jewelry Box
Photo: Moda Operandi

In sunny velvet, jewelry designer Sophie Bille Brahe's whimsical jewelry box is certain to brighten up any space while keeping your bling secure.

Small Jewelry Ring Box in Leather

Small Jewelry Ring Box in Leather
Photo: Leatherology

Perfect for travel, Leatherology's zip case can handle your precious engagement ring and then some. Available in several colors, the brand's offerings can be customized with your personal monogram or any message you might like.

Store your engagement ring in a ring dish or tray.

When you simply must remove your ring but still want to admire it, a decorative tray is the perfect solution. Choose a minimalist vessel if you don't wish to detract from your engagement ring or simply choose something in line with your home decor. Ring dishes are always welcome by the sink, whether you're washing dishes or doing your evening beauty routine.

Soleil d'Hermès Tray

Soleil d'Hermès Tray
Photo: Hermès

The French firm beloved for its handbags also boasts a stellar line of decorative items that would add a welcome pop of color next to a sink or atop a vanity (and make it easy to spot your ring amid a sea of cosmetics).

Elsa Peretti Thumbprint Dish

Elsa Peretti Thumbprint Dish
Photo: Tiffany & Co.

Perfect for minimalists, Elsa Peretti's Venetian glass dish offers an artful take on "something blue" with the designer's iconic thumbprint design.

Daisy Small Decorative Bowl

Daisy Small Decorative Bowl
Photo: Neiman Marcus

The storied Milanese house renders several beguiling blooms and leaves with lifelike detail in the form of sterling silver bowls. Which will you pick?

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