May 6, 2020 @ 7:37 PM

I sent out an email March 17th on my thoughts of handling customers jewelry during this pandemic.

I have since received some very good suggestions by you, jewelers on doing a better job and want to share these with you. Also, I found some places for you to order hand sanitizer/face masks and alcohol.

The best and easiest solution to start is an item you can hardly find: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.
Being they are so difficult to find and we need even better cleaning solutions we’ll go this route:

I had recommended some cleaning solutions for the front counter:

  • Barbicide
  • UV cleaning machine
  • Alcohol

I want to make some changes.  

I recently received a very detailed emailed from a jeweler named Annie who was originally trained as a nail technician. I looked it up and you do have to go through training and a state licensing test. Who knew? Her email was quite detailed, so I believe and recommend what she’s said. I am not going to copy and paste but will tell you below.


Barbicide was invented in 1947 for the barber and hair stylus industry. When you get your hair done next to the mirror is a tall bar of blue or green fluid of which combs and brushes sit in for cleaning. This fluid will kill all viruses including Covid-19. Because this kills everything, I had recommended it to dip jewelry and thought a “quick dip” would do it. You buy it by the gallon at Amazon and Wal-Mart



Annie’s email:  

  1. It’s not a quick dip, must stay in for at least 10 seconds to work which is not that long but also
  2. The item must be cleaned FIRST. So extra work.

So, this is no longer a first choice for me. Still good but not my first choice.


UV Sanitizer Machine

A jeweler told me last me he had found a UV sanitizer machine for jewelry. I had recommended one that’s made for cell phones that should work. UV sanitizers are actually used for hospital medical equipment and to sanitize rooms. I had found a machine that had the UV sanitizer along with steamer and ultrasonic. It’s a home unit so not industrial strength. Trioshine.



Annie’s email:

  1. The UV light must hit every spot to be cleaned directly. So it won’t affect underneath rings, behind stores, etc.
  2. To be effective the light must be directed to the object for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Unlike the $199 Trioshine, a very good UV cleaning machine is thousands of dollars, not hundreds.

So this is off my list altogether.



This is the ticket! Your mom and your doctor used alcohol on cuts and scrapes. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol is the way to go. 70% concentration is what it takes to kill microbes. At least a 10 second dunk is all it needs and is safe for almost all jewelry. 10 seconds.

This is my vote to use at the counter.


I had read that 60% alcohol and some water mixed in would do the job but that turned out to be false information. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol

If you can find it in local stores-BUY IT

Here are a few sites I found that sell it by the gallon. Amazon had it but sold out, click these links:

Ebay      $38 to $70 plus shipping

Uline:   Four 1 gallon containers $88.00 plus shipping

Sam’s Nail Supply:          $27.00 + Shipping. “Free Shipping” if over $100
                Plus Sam’s has masks & latex gloves!


I’ve had many people ask me about cleaning watches, most likely for battery replacement. My suggestion would be to soak a paper towel with alcohol and rub over the watch case/crystal and band as well as possible. Once you open the case, I don’t see a problem inside of the watch. I’d for sure wash my hands after handing the watch back to the customer. Sam’s nail supply above sells latex gloves you could use, and I’ve taken here at home to using the rubber gloves we use to wash dishes with. Durable and reusable. So, after we handle things with these gloves we use soap and water and clean the gloves just like it was our skin.


Ultrasonic Machine

Let’s not forget our trusty ultrasonic machine. I always used L&R ammoniated ultrasonic solution in our shop in the ultrasonic. I received an email from a jeweler who sent me this link that shows no matter what solution is inside of the machine the actual ultrasonic waves themselves kills viruses.

Here’s the whole link to the article but I have copied and pasted the most important paragraph below. The thing is you have to take the jewelry to the ultrasonic machine. If the item can be placed inside your ultrasonic and steam cleaned, you could bypass the alcohol, just lay on a towel/plate, take to ultrasonic, use tweezers to insert and then steam and feel confident.


Ultrasonic cleaners use sound waves produced at frequencies higher than our ears can perceive. The process involves the use of a generator, called a transducer, in a water tank, which creates high-frequency sound waves. As the sound waves move through the liquid they create compression waves that “tear” the liquid apart, leaving behind many millions of microscopic voids or partial vacuum bubbles. (The technical name for this effect is cavitation.) These small bubbles expand and eventually implode when they strike an object, and this energy dislodges contaminants even from intricately shaped surfaces.


I’d still recommend a dip in the alcohol pool first.


  1. A jeweler’s pickle pot will of course kill viruses but it’s nasty and not usually used by the sales staff. This is a bench jeweler item.
  2. For an easy take in I would suggest having the small zip lock bags we use, open it up and allow the customer to drop the item in there. If all you need to do is look
    through a scope of loupe and write instructions this would work
     just fine and the jeweler can do the cleaning.



I received an email today from this company that they have masks and hand sanitizer which is 70% Isopropyl Alcohol




They have plenty in stock



Again, it’s hard to find disinfectant to use and here’s a company that stepped up to the plate and make’s this stuff:

DetraPel ecoCleaner & Disinfectant makes other products and started making this Disinfectant and should have some available now.




Thanks you to all who have emailed me but especially a big shout out to Annie for her valuable tips.

Lastly many stores across the country are starting to open; some have to wait until middle or end of May. Reports I received are of course mixed. Many bridal stores are doing terrific as well as custom jewelers. It will just take a while.

This said how ever you market I’d recommend marketing/advertising for customers to get their “yukky, gross/dirty/germ laden jewelry” cleaned at your store immediately.

My book suggests charging for complete refinishing. Maybe for this time we would do much of this at no charge to

  • Get store traffic
  • Do something nice for our fellow humans
  • Maybe get some repairs from inspecting


Here’s wishing you the best


David Geller

To print this as a PDF file click here