The coronavirus pandemic has seen an increased public awareness of the importance of handwashing, but how often does jewellery need to be cleaned and can it carry Covid-19?

UK-based pre-owned jeweller and watch specialist Est 1897 has conducted a survey that revealed that two out of three British jewellery owners have never cleaned their jewellery pieces.

In only one week, the company said, this can result in up to 428 times more bacteria than is present on a typical toilet seat.


The experiment found present on jewellery everything from the extremely dangerous Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) to Diptheria, food poisoning and bacterial colonies that can cause thrush.

Covid-19, also, can live on metal and glass for up to nine days, which Est 1897 said means jewellery cleaning should be a high priority at the moment.

While watches were found to carry the largest quantity of bacteria, rings actually haboured more dangerous species, with earrings ranking the least dangerous.

The bacteria on the ring included Bacillus species, Staphylococcus species, Micrococcus species, Black mould and Fungal species.

Exposure to black mould can cause dry scaly skin and skin rashes amongst other issues.

Discussing the cleaning process, 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 attaches itself 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.”

The company advises owners that cleaning at home can be done with warm water, a toothbrush and fairy liquid.

View Est 1897’s cleaning guide below: