The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of keeping hands and our personal items washed and clean.
But as research shows the virus can live on metal or glass for up to nine days, are we thinking enough about our jewellery and what other dirt may potentially be lurking on there?
Each day our hands come into contact with numerous objects, which could be carrying harmful bacteria.
Pre-owned jewellery specialists Est1897 were curious about how much grime our jewellery accumulates during regular wear, so they conducted a study to find out.
According to their results, your jewellery could be holding up to 428 times more germs than a toilet seat from just one week's worth of wear.
As part of the experiment, experts took swabs from a ring, a watch and a pair of earrings after they had been worn regularly for one week.
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They found that around 21,000 growths of bacteria manifest on jewellery every week - everything from the extremely dangerous Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) to Diptheria, food poisoning and bacterial colonies that can cause thrush.
Following these results, Est1897 are now encouraging people to be more vigilant with taking care of their jewellery.
As such they've shared a four-step cleaning hack video for people to follow, which uses just one household ingredient to help keep jewellery sparkling clean and safe.
But which piece of jewellery holds the most bacteria?
After just one week of wearing, the ring collected the most nasties, as five bacterial species were found on the piece. A total of 504 bacterial colonies, one fungus colony and one black mould colony were found on the ring.
The watch was the second-worst offender. Four types of bacteria were found on the watch piece, but more shockingly after just one week of wearing, a whopping 20,020 bacterial colonies were found on the watch - most likely as bacteria can catch on links and a watch isn't included in active hand washing.
Meanwhile, 485 bacterial colonies were found on the earrings.
Ben Jarrett from Est1897 commented "This study has brought some interesting things to light and the results are astounding. Although it's important to keep your jewellery pristine to savour its value, it's also duly important to regularly scrub and soak your pieces to keep them safe and clean.
"There are plenty of myths to cleaning jewellery and although they can restore shine to a degree, using things like coca-cola to clean your jewellery won't remove the bacteria that gets attached and could cause more harm than good.
"As pre-owned jewellery specialists we deep clean all jewellery we receive in-house and we've replicated our internal process which can be used by anyone to easily professionally clean their personal pieces at home."
How can you ensure your jewellery is properly clean?
Est1897 also shared a simple four-step process for cleaning the contents of your jewellery box.
Here's how it's done...
To start, you’re going to need to create a cleaning solution. Mix a few drops of dish washing liquid with warm water. You will want to mix it into a dish or plastic pot of some kind which is big enough to fit a toothbrush in. To start, soak the jewellery in the solution for 30 minutes.
Take your toothbrush and swill it around in the solution, ensuring that the bristles are wet. Then, gently scrub around the piece of jewellery using the brush, making sure to get into all of the engravings and corners. Once you are happy that you’ve scrubbed each area of the piece, you will need to rinse with cool, clean water. Try to make sure that you rinse off all of the suds so that no soapy residue is left over.
Once thoroughly rinsed, use a dry soft cloth which is preferably lint-free to polish your jewellery piece. For extra dirty pieces, create a fresh cleaning solution and use a new cloth dipped in the solution to damp polish each surface. You should repeat this process regularly for best results.
To finish, boil your kettle. Using a pair of long-stemmed tweezers hold your jewellery carefully and at a safe distance from the spout as it comes to the boil to give your piece a steam finish.