More and more people are beginning to wear stainless steel jewelry because of affordability and the availability of high-quality designs.
As stainless steel becomes more popular in fashion, new owners need to know how this type of jewelry reacts with water. More specifically if it’s safe to wear stainless steel jewelry while swimming in a pool.
It is not recommended to swim in a pool while wearing stainless steel jewelry, especially chlorinated pools. Chlorine will break down the chromium barrier and exposes the metal to corrosion and damage. Pool water can permanently damage stainless steel jewelry.
One of the advantages of stainless-steel jewelry is its durability if looked after correctly. I absolutely love stainless steel jewelry because it is so affordable and durable.
But I’ve written this post to provide simple steps on how to avoid permanently damaging your stainless-steel jewelry, so it does last a lifetime.
If you forget and go for a swim with your stainless-steel jewelry on it’s unlikely to cause any permanent damage. You can simply wash it off thoroughly with mild soap and warm water and it should be good as new.
But you don’t want to expose any jewelry to pool water, whether chlorinated or saltwater, especially repeatedly or over any extended period of time. I understand how inconvenient it is to remove rings before swimming, but pool water will damage jewelry.
Overall, I recommend removing any type of jewelry before swimming in a pool. You don’t want your necklaces, bracelets, anklets, or rings falling or slipping off while you are swimming.
Jewelry can get swept up into the pool filter and lost forever, especially in large public pools. If your swimming in a residential pool you may be able to recover your jewelry, but recovery will be impossible in larger recreational pools.
Also, your fingers can shrink when your swimming and rings are prone to easily fall off. It is not uncommon for expensive engagement and wedding rings to be lost because of this. This is a definite day wrecker!
Some lower quality stainless steel jewelry will begin to corrode even after one exposure to a chlorinated or saltwater pool. This is one of the reasons why at Rebels Depot we only sell 316L medical grade stainless steel jewelry since it can endure limited exposure to pool water.
316L medical grade stainless steel is one of the most durable and safest grades of stainless steel while remaining affordable.
But, don’t forget that your jewelry may not just be made with high quality stainless steel, what about the clasps, settings, and closures? These are not necessarily made with stainless steel and are more prone to damage from pool water, especially repeated exposure.
In fact, some can be easily corroded by any exposure to water. Again, just don’t wear any form of jewelry when your swimming, it’s not worth taking the chance on damaging or even losing it.
As a side note, you don’t have to worry about sun lotions or sunscreens affecting stainless steel jewelry. These lotions do not contain any corrosive materials since you are putting them on your skin. So, they won’t cause any damage to your jewelry.
As I mentioned above, chlorine is especially hard on stainless steel jewelry. It is one of the few everyday chemicals you should always avoid exposing your jewelry to.
Chlorine is very hard on all types of jewelry and especially stainless-steel jewelry. A lower quality stainless steel will tarnish and ultimately be damaged faster than say a medical grade 316L stainless steel.
But even a high-quality stainless steel used for jewelry will eventually tarnish and get damaged from prolonged exposure to chlorine.
Now pool equipment, which is predominately made from stainless steel, doesn’t get damaged from chlorine. But the stainless steel used for pool equipment is not the same as what is used for making stainless steel jewelry. In fact, there is over 150 different variations of stainless steel manufactured today.
Stainless steel jewelry contains a protective chromium barrier in its alloy which prevents corrosion. Unfortunately, chlorine will break down and remove chromium leaving your stainless-steel jewelry prone to corrosion and damage.
Extended exposure of chlorine can your leave your stainless-steel jewelry feeling rough to the touch. Chlorine will cause pits in the metal where the chromium as been eaten away and will begin to corrode.
It is possible to wash or even buff out these rough spots, but you may need an experienced jeweler to repair your jewelry by buffing out the pits with a buffing compound. This can be a little harder to do yourself if you’re unfamiliar with the process.
Depending on the amount of damage to your jewelry, your best option may be to seek a jewelry experienced with repairing stainless steel jewelry. Of course, the quote to fix the jewelry might cost more than what you originally paid for the piece. In that case you’re better off to just buy a new one.
Again, you also need to be careful regarding the other metals that may or may not be used in your jewelry such as: settings, clasps, and other closures. Chlorine can easily degrade and corrode these materials and over time either break or permanently damage them.
If your looking for a metal that is more resistant to chlorine and widely used for jewelry, Titanium is a good choice. It’s quite a bit more expensive but it is highly resistant to chlorinated water.
It is safe to shower while wearing stainless steel jewelry. Exposure to soaps and washing gels will not harm the metal. But, if there is any other material contained in the jewelry, water and soap could cause rusting and rotting of that material.
Clasps, strings, or other mechanical parts that are part of the jewelry, and not stainless steel, could be damaged. You don’t want to trap moisture and water in the crevices of those parts.
There is a common myth that if you shower while wearing stainless steel jewelry your exposed skin will turn green. This doesn’t happen if your jewelry contains high quality stainless steel such as 316L. If your skin does turn green, then you’ve been sold something that is not stainless steel.
The only metals that will turn your skin green upon exposure to water are copper and bronze. Those metals should never be worn in the shower or exposed to water.
Most tap water doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals capable of tarnishing stainless steel. But it’s not recommended to leave your jewelry submerged under water for hours.
Can you where stainless steel jewelry in the ocean? Stainless steel jewelry can endure a small amount of exposure to salt water. A small amount of tarnishing can occur but that can easily be wiped off with fresh water. But it’s not recommended to wear any form of jewelry while swimming in the ocean.
Is stainless steel jewelry durable? Stainless steel jewelry is one of the most durable metals used for jewelry. It will not corrode, scratch, lose its luster, and lasts forever. The hard metal does not damage from everyday use or continual exposure to water. The metal is easily cleaned and ages so well to last a lifetime.
What is the difference between titanium and stainless steel jewelry? Titanium is a metallic element whereas stainless steel is an alloy. Since titanium is an element it is more expensive than stainless steel. Titanium appears a little darker and is also hypoallergenic, Stainless steel is shinier but can cause allergic reactions for people with severe nickel allergies.