If you've already started your spring cleaning for the new year, you might want to add your jewellery collection to the to-do list.
Yes, it's the perfect time to scrub your silver as reports prove that your favourite accessories can host hundreds, if not thousands, of bacterial colonies. Nasty.
An investigation from jewellery specialists Est1897 uncovered just how much bacteria can grow on our favourite jewellery pieces in just one week when we forget to clean them, and the results are... unpleasant.
While the bacteria that was discovered is generally harmless, if it's left on your jewellery for too long and comes in contact with any broken skin or is worn on the body while you're immunocompromised, they can quickly impact our health.
Some of the bacteria found could cause food poisoning, Diphtheria, MRSA, thrush, pneumonia or even meningitis if ingested by touching your nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Coming in at number one for the most bacteria-ridden jewellery we own are our rings.
With five different bacteria types living on our rings, they reportedly grew 504 different bacterial colonies, one fungus colony, and one black mould colony in the space of just one week.
If you're not washing your jewellery regularly then you can just imagine how many colonies might live there now.
The next accessory to add to your must-clean list is your watch.
Watches reportedly carried four different types of bacteria and, according to the report, grew a whopping 20,000 bacterial colonies in the space of just one week.
We can definitely see how a watch is one you would overlook, but we'll be sure to give ours a wipe-down ASAP.
Finally, the report found that the third-filthiest accessories in our jewellery box are our earrings.
In just one week, 485 bacterial colonies developed, according to Est1897's report, with four different bacteria types found.
While giving your jewellery a once-over with some washing up liquid can reduce the number of potentially harmful bacterial colonies on your jewellery, it often isn't enough.
To give your jewellery a thorough clean, follow these steps:
- Create a cleaning solution with washing up liquid and warm water, and soak your jewellery in it for up to 30 minutes.
- Gently scrub each solution-soaked piece with a toothbrush, reaching into all corners, holes, and engravings.
- Rinse your jewellery with cold water to remove all suds and soapy residue.
- Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
- Finally, steam each piece by holding it carefully over boiling water with a tweezers.
Here are some bonus tips to keep your jewellery germ-free for longer.
- Always remember to remove it while washing your hands, cleaning, applying makeup, or swimming.
- Wear your silver more often to keep it shiny, and store it in an anti-tarnish bag when you're not.
- Buff pearls and jewels with a soft cloth to remove body oils and prevent them from losing their shine.
- Get your jewellery from reputable, good-value jewellers to ensure that any jewels or gem stones are secure.