You might be noticing your once beautiful and glamorous bronze garden sculpture is no longer as brilliant as when you first purchased it. Don’t worry! There is a simple solution. Some dealers out there will recommend a complex cleaning process or try to sell you severely marked up cleaning solutions. We’re here to share with you an approach on how to clean outdoor bronze sculptures that is much easier and much less costly.
Before we get into that, it is important to know that most bronze sculptures will come with a wax or polish of some kind already on it. This wax should protect the bronze sculpture for about three to five months, sometimes even longer.
A key thing to check for (if your bronze isn’t covered with bird poop or other debris) is if water still beads off the sculpture. If it does, your outdoor bronze sculpture is not in need of cleaning quite yet. If water doesn’t bead off your outdoor bronze sculpture, it’s time to clean!
The best cleaning solution to use for your cleaning your outdoor bronze sculpture is (drumroll please) … soap and water. That’s right: just use a tiny bit of dish soap in a clean bucket with a clean rag. Don’t use too much soap or else it may leave a residue.
You’ll want to avoid any bleach-based products or scented options. Dip a clean rag into your soapy water and get to wiping. If your outdoor bronze sculpture has numerous tight spaces, use a soft toothbrush. This toothbrush can also be helpful for getting the hard-to-remove debris off such as bird poop.
Once you get your sculpture washed, rinse the rag out and run clean water over your sculpture. Give it one last wipe down and let the sculpture dry. It is really important to let the piece dry completely because the next stage is waxing. Waxing with water still on the surface can trap the moisture, which is not good.
Now you can add wax and polish. One rule — no car wax! Often this will dry white, which looks terrible. It can also contain cleaning agents harmful to bronze. The best wax to use is simple, clear paste wax. Brands such as Trewax (for lighter colored sculptures) or Johnson’s (for darker colored sculptures) will work fine. Apply using a soft rag and give the sculpture a light coating. Let that dry and then apply one more coating.
After that, you’re all done. Not so bad. Stand back and admire your freshly cleaned and re-protected outdoor bronze sculpture.