How to clean bronze is such a common question we get. Because let’s be honest, don’t you love the bronze décor in your living room? Yes, they indeed enhance the aesthetic value of your home. But after you leave them alone for a few months, you will often wonder and surf the internet for the most common question: “How to clean bronze?”
Well, we have formulated the best solution on how to clean bronze. Bronze is an age-old metal that has been used for making heavy machinery, tools, statues to delicate jewelry. It won’t be a surprise if you have some bronze jewelry in your closet. But do you go about cleaning bronze? If you do not want your bronze assets to lose the luster, you must know how to clean bronze easily and have their polished attractive shine back.
You may trace the existence of bronze to the Bronze Age (3300 – 600 BC). However, you have got the reference to the ancient bronze lying around the ruins of Rome or Constantinople. The primary reason behind this is that bronze undergoes oxidation with time leaving behind some green-tinted aspects (commonly known as patina).
In your history books, you must have read about the roofs and landscapes of old cities. What did they do when their bronze asset oxidized? They recycled the old bronze by melting and molding them to new objects. We do not deny that recycling is indeed very noble. But why not step up and learn how to clean bronze instead?
Here is the complete breakdown on how to clean bronze that gets tarnished, transforming it into a fresh, shiny, and beautiful asset for you.
Choose the right products for your bronzeware
The bronze vase you purchased a few months back was all shiny, but now it has a few stubborn greenish spots appearing. You may like the darker shade of your vase due to the layering of shades. But wouldn’t you want to remove the tarnish and get the best version of your bronze?
You don’t need to handle dangerous and harsh acid, ammonia or any harmful abrasive products. Here’s a quick and simple solution that involves ingredients from your pantry. This would indeed be the best treatment for your beautiful bronze décor.
You can make this simple polishing solution for cleaning bronze from simple household materials. Just mix a tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of lemon juice, and you are ready to go. Beware of using a lot of lemon juice if you don’t want excess moisture in the pieces. Let the solution sit on your bronze and the chemistry does its work in wearing off the green spots. Next up is the importance of cleaning cloth.
Choose a fabric that does not leave lint or scraps on your bronzeware. Do not get excited and use a random abrasive cloth that can heavily damage the beautiful metals.
The polishing cloth is the magical ingredient that is helpful for you to get rid of any tarnish on your bronze décor. Therefore, choose this cloth very wisely.
While our suggested solution works well on tarnished bronze, you must shop for a specialized polish cloth to clean up any badly stained bronze décor. The best cloth that can help you to clear up the greenish layer on the bronze is the brass polishing cloth coated with wax and protective chemicals.
Using a specialized polishing cloth like Champion Polishing Cloth helps you scrub off the green tint effectively without effort. While the wax coating on the cloth restores the shine, the protective chemicals ensure that the shine of your bronze décor is bright and shiny for a longer period of time. What makes this specific polishing cloth unique is that no liquid cleaning solution is required! The polishing solution is already part of the cloth itself!
Moreover, you may remove tarnish from silver, brass, wood, copper and other metals using this cloth. This nonabrasive cloth can help you save on polishing liquids as it requires no polishing liquid to clean up the whole décor.
Boiling and Soaking smaller bronze
If your mission is to learn how to clean bronze, especially small pieces such as coins, you may not need to use any product.
- Boil a pan of water and immerse the bronze piece into it. Soak it there for a few minutes.
- The piece will be hot, so use a tong to pick it up from the pan.
- Now simply dip a cloth into soapy water and then place the bronze onto the cloth.
- Rub it gently until all the tarnish is gone.
- We recommend using natural soaps for this method.
- Once you can see the bright shiny skin of your bronze, transfer it to a chamois leather cloth to dry.
- You may rub some oils on it or a specialized polishing cloth coated with waxes after it has dried.
This is indeed a very simple and safe process of cleaning bronze, but of course, you cannot use it for objects that are large and cannot fit into the pan.
Know what you are polishing
Not all bronze objects are meant to be shiny. Some of them already contain a protective coating layer to keep them from corroding.
If the instructions of your bronze substance already mention the presence of a coating layer, you must stick to less aggressive cleaning methods for them if do not want any damage.
No restless rubbing and scrubbing lest you want to wear off the coating. Some of these coating layers can be removed for polishing purposes, some not.
So, do not skip the lines written in the instruction manual of your bronze. You may find some crucial instructions specific to your bronze décor.
Some décor requires dissembling for cleaning them properly. So, just take them part by part and clean each and every corner of your décor with the specialized polishing cloth.
But do not rush to reassemble them after cleaning. Spread the path in an open space. Reassemble the pieces only when every part is dry. Any moisture left behind may lead your bronze object to further corrosion.
You’ll probably need a bunch of newspapers…
Cleaning up can be messy at times. Do you want to leave a stain on your carpet while cleaning up your bronze décor? If you’re a bit like me and want to get rid of stains on your carpet easily, follow this advice.
Cover your work surface area with newspapers to avoid staining your furniture. Through this easy method, you are secured from any spills of your polishing liquid or stains from the dirt you just dusted off your bronze.
While cleaning bronze objects, you must know the perfect workspace conditions to ensure that your object is cleaned properly and does not trap in excessive moisture. Avoid exposure to space having high humidity and dust for cleaning your objects.
Always use a dry and airy room to work. These ideal conditions ensure your object does not trap excess dust in the room, defeating your purpose of cleaning as well as dry up quickly to ensure moisture does not corrode them again within a few days.
Cleaning up tarnished bronze can take long hours of work. If you do not want to lose patience while cleaning them, our advice for you is to find a comfortable work position.
You do not want to end up hurting your legs or back. While a small piece may take up to 20 minutes for cleaning up, you must consider spreading the work over the weekend if you have a lot to clean.
You must set up your work station considering whether you will be working on them sitting or standing. Opting for a table and chair is the best option here as you have to remain in the position for hours while cleaning your treasured products.
Cut your cloth into smaller pieces
Even though you have bought a new specialized polishing cloth, and we are asking you to cut it. It may seem a tad scary to you now, but you will surely notice great results if you do so.
If you are cleaning up your bronze earring or necklace, you would not want dirt to cover the whole cloth. Therefore, for a smaller bronze object, cut the cloth into smaller pieces adequate to the size of your bronze.
However, you may require larger cloth for cleaning larger pieces of bronze-like musical instruments, sculpture or machine parts. If you are cleaning up dissembled pieces of a bronze artifact, cut the cloth into smaller pieces to clean each piece. Using a larger cloth for polishing all the pieces may lead to clumsier polishes and at worse scratches.
For regular maintenance, use this homemade mix
If you are already done with the deep cleaning, you can expect the life span of the shine on your bronze for a few days until the dust again settles down on it.
Regular maintenance can preserve and make your objects fresh and shiny forever. Moreover, you do not have to take the hassle of deep cleaning them every month.
You may use this simple solution to clean and maintain your bronze objects every now and then. It won’t take more than 5 minutes.
Just take a bowl and add a tablespoon of flour and salt (sodium chloride), along with some vinegar.
Viola! Your lightweight brass cleaning solution is ready.
You do not need to scrub in the solution, just dip a cloth into this solution and rub it on the exposed bronze surfaces. This simple trick can save you from hours of exercise of your elbow to deep clean the bronze décor.
Gently smear your preferred cleaning solution/paste
You know the components to use, but do you really know ‘how to clean bronze?’ The key to becoming a successful bronze cleaner is patience and gentleness.
You may end up with scratches on your bronze object if you are not gentle and patient enough to clean them. Another worst case scenario is ending up with a clumsier polish.
If you do not want to harm your dear bronze decor, you must be very careful when handling these objects.
The best way to achieve a smooth finish polish is to scrub with your polishing cloth thoroughly and equally around the object. If you have a highly tarnished bronze object, you may need to scrub strongly.
However, if your bronze is in good condition, just rub them lightly. Depending on your desired effect, use the cloth to scrub for a stronger polish.
Waiting is the most understated skill anyone can have. You must be patient enough when it comes to polishing bronze.
A polishing solution won’t work if you are too impatient to remove it in 5 minutes. Take a break after applying the polishing solution. Usually, it takes thirty minutes (for regular cleaning) to ninety minutes (for very corroded/discolored pieces) for your polishing solution to settle down and work effectively to produce the desired result.
Sit down, watch a movie, have a snack, and simply relax before removing the polishing solution. And remember, when using the Champion Polishing Cloth, no liquid polishing solution is required!
Wash it off or not?
Ah! A common dilemma that almost everyone faces after cleaning their bronze décor. Is a wash required after polishing? The effective answer depends on the quality of your bronze object.
You cannot trust internet strangers commenting on it without knowing the price range, quality, and durability of your bronze object. You will know about your bronze better than anyone.
A bronze piece having a low to moderate level of finery can undergo a wash without much thinking.
But if you are dealing with a delicate piece of bronze, a wash may probably wash off the polish. Therefore, use a damp cloth to wipe off the polish gently. This will definitely offer you a better result than a wash.
The final step that you must not forget is rubbing the object with a dry specialized polishing cloth, preferably coated with wax. This abrasive cloth wipe can be considered as the finishing touch of your polishing venture.
The decision to wash off the polish lies in your hands. So check out the quality of your bronze and make the final decision.
How To Clean Bronze That’s Tarnished
Once you know ‘how to clean bronze’, you must be looking for ways of perfecting the art of cleaning tarnished bronze.
The simple tips and use of specialized cloth will, of course, give you the desired results; however, you must not forget how to clean bronze regularly. Especially depending on the level of corrosion and your standard for shine. If wanting an additional shine, repeat
the previous steps would be enough to restore the fresh shiny look.
You may consider a level of wax coating after drying your rinsed metal.
A wax coating offers a lustrous look to your bronzeware as well as protects from corrosion for a long time. You can compare the wax coating to the roll of paint on your iron railings.
We would suggest you not to wash or wipe your bronze if you haven’t used a paste, or even better, a specialized polishing cloth. In case of using a liquid polishing solution, wipe it with a soft dry cloth and move to the final step of polishing, which is wax coating. However, you shouldn’t put on the wax coating if you have a plan to clean your bronzeware regularly.
Cleaning off the tarnish from your bronze is a great way to bring back life into your bronze. Nowadays, bronze is available in different shapes, sizes, objects, quality, and price range.
Knowing the standards of your bronze will help you to understand the best way to prevent tarnishing. Every bronze object is delicate and requires consistent care over the years.
So, if you are thinking of wrapping them in paper and storing them for preservation of the shine, you may be disappointed to find some stubborn green spots on them when you unwrap them after a few years.
If you really care for your bronze, the regular maintenance along with deep cleaning is the key for their longer life span.
In this article, we have suggested simple ways to help your question on ‘how to clean bronze?’. Hopefully, you will be happy with the results after following our tips.
Enjoy your newly bright bronzeware!
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