How to Clean and Polish Bronze

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Things You'll Need

  • Lemon

  • Baking soda

  • Small dish

  • Soft cloth (like an old cotton T-shirt)

  • Gloves

  • White vinegar

  • Flour

  • Salt

  • Soft cloth

Tip

If you want your bronze pieces always shiny, you'll want to clean and polish them as soon as they start losing their luster. The sooner you repolish, the easier it is to make them shine. You will need to repeatedly rub the paste on the bronze to clean off the patina. Patience is key. Use a soft toothbrush to rub the paste into tight corners and deep crevices. The recommended method of cleaning bronze is by using all natural, universal cleaning agents like lemon or vinegar. However, if you desire a high luster effect, you may need to use commercially prepared metal cleaners that have chemicals specifically formulated to remove patina. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use chemical metal cleaners only in well-ventilated areas. These methods of cleaning and polishing bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) are also effective on brass (an alloy of copper and zinc).

Warning

Gloves are recommended, especially if you have several bronze pieces to clean, because prolonged contact with the acid of the lemon is not good for your hands. Bronze tends to wear away if polishing is done frequently. Consider using commercially available metal wax or lacquer to preserve the shine.

Clean and Polish Bronze

How to Clean and Polish Bronze. Almost everyone has bronze décor pieces in their home. These metal artifacts may have looked shiny and new when you bought them, but the longer they are exposed to air and moisture, the greener and duller they become. Bronze reacts with moisture (oxidation) to form a greenish layer on its surface, called patina. Some homeowners appreciate the darkened finish because it adds character to the metal, but many prefer their bronze clean and shiny. Here are a couple of natural ways to clean and polish your bronze treasures.

How to Use Lemon

Step 1

Gather the bronze items you want to clean. Clean only a few pieces at a time because the task requires a good amount of elbow grease.

Step 2

Pour a tablespoon of baking soda into a small dish and squeeze some lemon juice over it. The pasty mixture will bubble, but will quickly settle down.

Step 3

Use a small piece of soft cloth to rub this paste onto your bronze piece. Rub until you're satisfied with the clean. You can leave the mixture on the item while you work on the other pieces.

Step 4

Wash the mixture off under running water, then dry and buff with a clean soft cloth.

Gather your bronze pieces.
Mix baking soda and lemon juice.
Rub the paste on the bronze.

How to Use Vinegar

Step 1

Combine equal amounts of flour and salt in a small dish, then add enough vinegar to make a paste.

Step 2

Smear the paste onto the bronze pieces and let stand for about 30 minutes.

Step 3

Wash the paste off under running water, then dry and buff with a clean soft cloth.

Mix flour, vinegar and salt.
Smear paste onto the bronze.