If you’re newly engaged, the novelty of your sparkler probably hasn’t worn off yet — you still love to show it off to everyone who asks. Even if you’ve been engaged a little while now, I bet that you still find yourself checking out your finger bling when you think no one’s looking. But you might have noticed that it’s not looking quite as sparkly as it did when it was first presented to you. So how do you make sure that your ring stays looking fabulous until your wedding day (and beyond)? There are two main things to think about: avoiding damaging the ring, and keeping it clean so that it sparkles brilliantly.

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Avoiding Damage

Preventing damage to your ring means being smart about your day-to-day activities. Here are a few occasions when it pays to be just a little bit more careful with your ring.

The Gym: Whether you’re hitting the weights or taking a class, it’s best to leave your ring in the locker. The knurled metal handles on freeweights and many machines are great for grip but will scratch the bottom of your ring like a proverbial hot knife. And if you’re getting active in a class, then your ring could easily get caught on your clothing, which can bend the fragile prongs that hold your center stone in place and make the stone fall out. Disaster!

Tip: If you don’t want to be without your ring, then thread it through a chain to wear around your neck and tuck it inside your gym top to keep it close to you at all times.

Swimming: Leave your ring on dry land while you’re swimming, whether in a pool or in the sea. Precious metals, especially gold, don’t like harsh chemicals, and the chlorine used in swimming pools can tarnish your ring setting and affect the solder used to hold everything in place. Another danger is “shrinkage” — your fingers may shrink a little in the water, making it more likely that your ring could slip off your finger.

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Getting ready: Moisturizer, perfume, and hair products can coat your ring in a layer of chemicals and oil and eliminate its incredible sparkle. When you’re getting your primp on, it’s best to take off your ring.

Tip: If you’re taking your ring off in the bathroom, never leave it on the edge of the sink. You’d be surprised at how many plumber callouts are to retrieve rings from plugholes!

Chores: When you’re cleaning the house or tending the garden, it’s always safest to take your ring off to avoid damage. Whether it’s the harsh chemicals used in cleaning products or the potential for scratching the metal from garden tools, rocks, or even just soil, your ring won’t react well to any of it.

Cleaning Your Ring

Removing the ring: When you’re taking your ring off, always make sure that you pull the band rather than your center stone. This will prevent the prongs from getting bent out of shape and your center stone from being covered in oil from your fingers and losing its brilliant sparkle.

Cleaning at home: Cleaning your ring at home is as simple as washing it in a bowl of warm water with a squeeze of dish soap in it. Give it a scrub with a soft toothbrush to remove any oil and grime, rinse off the suds, allow it to air dry, and then give it a polish with a polishing cloth. You can also soak the ring in one part ammonia to four parts water solution for around 20 minutes before washing it to loosen the grime if it’s really grubby.

Tip: When you’re washing you ring, always fill a bowl with warm water rather than using the sink. This will prevent any potential plughole-related predicaments.

Professional cleaning: Many jewelers offer free cleaning and check-ups on engagement rings, and it’s a good idea to take them up on this. They have ultrasonic cleaning machines, which will leave your rings looking as good as new. Jewelers will also check your ring to ensure that the prongs aren’t bent and that pavé diamonds, if your ring has any, are still secure. It’s a good idea to have your ring checked every six months to ensure that everything is as it should be.

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Unfortunately, some small scratches are inevitable — the only way to keep your engagement ring looking absolutely perfect would be to never wear it. But by following these tips, you should be able to keep your bling looking beautiful up until your big day and beyond.