The recent scares about Ebola here in our home state of Texas have resulted in a lot of extra hand washing and hand sanitizer about my office and in public areas (like at the last two weekend’s ACL festival). Because of all this frantic cleansing, friends have complained about dry skin or irritation from the area where their rings contact the skin, cleanser and water. That led to a number of conversations and tips around hand washing in general and what to do with your ring specifically.

To take the ring off or not?

Based on my very unscientific poll of about 25 gals and guys in our social circle, it seems to be roughly a toss up on washing while wearing a ring, with women far more likely to remove their rings to clean up. Many of the ring-removers said that they also remove their ring when showering and doing dishes, which means they take their rings off up between 6-10 times per day (wow).

I personally don’t take off my engagement ring when washing up, mostly because it’s so snug it’s nearly impossible to remove. That said, I did have an early experience with my engagement ring and band that led to water buildup between them and irritation on my ring finger - which is why I now wear my band on my RingSafe (but I digress).

Netting it out, it’s better for your skin, the shine of your ring and overall cleanliness to remove your ring when you wash up, but depending on your situation, that may not outweigh the risk of misplacing your ring.

Where to put the ring while you wash?

Unsurprisingly, there were a few very common places people put their wedding rings or bands when they are washing up. Unfortunately, most of them are prone to loss or misplacement of that very precious ring. The top contenders are:

  • On the ledge of the sink or tub
    • Pros: Easy, consistent behavior makes it memorable
    • Cons: Risky, can easily fall into the drain or onto the dirty floor, can easily be forgotten, especially in a public restroom, may be dirty and defeat the purpose of washing your hands
  • In your pocket
    • Pros: Easy, on your person even if you forget to put it on immediately
    • Cons: If you have an outfit with no pockets - you risk forgetting a new habit, forgetting and washing clothes with the ring on could lead to loss or damage
  • Between the wearers’ teeth
    • Pros: Hard to forget, you know where your mouth has been
    • Cons: Easy to drop, awkward, may chip a tooth, cleaner than the counter, but still not ‘clean’
  • On my RingSafe (OK, only two of us answered that way - but we aim to grow that number!)
    • Pros: Easy, always at hand, clean, stylish, with you if you forget to put it on right away
    • Cons: Need to wear RingSafe consistently, need to buy a RingSafe

People in certain professions may be more inclined to remove their rings (hand washers in medical or food-service for instance) as well as mom’s who are dealing with kids messes. Regardless of your day to day routine, if you do take off your ring, come up with a plan to keep it safe so you aren’t stuck having one of those tough conversations with your spouse.

Do you take your ring off? If yes, what do you do with it?