Professor Sacha Stelzer-Braid (pictured) from the University of New South Wales told FEMAIL the virus can remain on jewellery even after you’ve washed your hands
Medical experts are urging people to wash their hands in warm soapy water for 20 seconds to slow the spread of coronavirus in every country.
The chemicals within hand soap ‘loosen’ the proteins and lipids connection that exist within the virus, breaking them down and ‘killing’ the virus.
But Professor Sacha Stelzer-Braid from the University of New South Wales told FEMAIL the virus can still remain on your jewellery even after you’ve washed your hands, particularly if you’re not being thorough enough.
The Australian virologist, who specialises in respiratory viruses, said that if you’re wearing a ring or a collection of them, you need to move them up and down your finger each time you wash your hands with soap
The Australian virologist, who specialises in respiratory viruses, said that if you’re wearing a ring or a collection of them, you need to move them up and down your finger each time you wash your hands with soap.
‘It’s not enough to do a quick rinse. There needs to be lots of soap and lots of water. Get the soap between and under your rings. Rub the back of your hands and nails as well,’ she said.
‘You need to do it properly to avoid the virus carrying further.’
How does soap destroy the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
Most viruses consist of three key building blocks: ribonucleic acid (RNA), proteins and lipids.
The fat-like substances in soap ‘loosens’ the connections between these three building blocks, breaking them down and ‘killing’ the virus – or rendering it inactive.
Just washing with water isn’t strong enough to loosen the connections, which is why soap is such a useful protector.
While the easiest method to avoid transmitting COVID-19 through your jewellery is to take it off for the time being, Professor Stelzer-Braid said you can leave them on as long as you’re diligent.
‘We’ve known that viruses can exist on jewellery before the coronavirus and we know it now. Proper hand washing technique will be enough to disinfect your rings.’
She said watches and bracelets were less of an issue because they tend to be higher up your arm and come into contact with surfaces less.
If you do decide to remove your rings for a day ensure they are well washed with soap and disinfected before putting them away, because you’ll only re-infect your hands if you put them on a day later.
And be careful with organic gems and hand sanitiser – the alcohol in the sanitiser can dry out the gems, leading to cracking.