Bronze bathroom fixtures aren't just a luxury; they're the only fixtures that will continually have their colors evolve as the bathroom gets used. Fascinating as they are to own, they are not the easiest fixtures to clean. Most regular cleaning products will damage or even destroy the patina. That's why it's good to research how to clean bronze fixtures before you get some in your home. We got the scoop on how to clean them best.
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When cleaning your faucets, the number one thing you need to focus on is gentleness. There are several methods that you can use, including:
- A Gentle Wipedown
- The Baking Soda Method
- The Flour Paste Method
When you're working with bronze, you need to make sure that you have a gentle cleaning method that is appropriate for bronze. Otherwise, you could easily remove your metal's finish. Continue reading to find out more about each cleaning method.
Three Easy Ways To Clean Bronze Fixtures
There are several ways that you can make bronze sparkle and shine, without ruining your coloration. Today, we're going to look at the three most common ways to keep your bronze looking sharp.
A Gentle Wipedown
If your bronze hasn't seen too much moisture, then your number one concern should be to just remove dust and debris from your fixture. Wiping your bronze down with a microfiber cloth will suffice in most cases. However, if you want to see your metal sparkle and shine, it's also good to give it a monthly treatment with a bronze polishing solution like the one below.
The Baking Soda Method
Baking soda isn't just a good way to clear out a clogged drain. It's a remarkably useful tool when it comes to making bronze sparkle. These steps below show you how to turn baking soda into the perfect bronze cleaner:
- Get a small rag and wipe down your bronze fixture, making sure to get rid of any dust that may have accumulated on it.
- Put 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl, and add enough lemon juice to make it a thick paste. If you see bubbling, don't panic, this is normal.
- Grab some lightweight work gloves and put them on. Dip a rag in the mixture and use the rag to wipe down your bronze.
The Flour Paste Method
Do you have a bronze sink that has seen its fair share of hard water? Not a problem. The flour paste method is a good choice if you have hard water stains or if you just want to change the patina's color a little bit. Here's how to do this:
- Mix a cup of white vinegar with a teaspoon of salt, then add flour until it turns into a paste.
- Apply this to the affected parts of your bronze fixture, then let the flour paste dry.
- Grab a flannel cloth and wet it with warm water. Use the cloth to remove the dried paste off the bronze fixture of your choice. If your fixture is a drain, you can also just let water rinse the paste away.
- Once the paste is off, wipe the fixture down with a dry microfiber towel.
How Do You Clean Antique Bronze?
Believe it or not, the greenish hue that antique bronze has is considered to be highly desirable among antiques. In most cases, the best way to clean old bronze items is to dust them off. If you need to remove hard water, using the flour paste method above is often the best pick.
When getting your bronze antiques cleaned, it's crucial to remember how delicate bronze really is. A rough pad will be enough to scratch the surface. That's why you should use a chamois cloth whenever you're wiping it down.
How Do You Restore Antique Bronze?
Restoring antique bronze is not the same as cleaning it. When you're restoring bronze, you're removing buildup, lime, and other oxidation from the surface of your bronze. It's a deeper process. Restoring your bronze will help reverse the damage done from neglect. Here's how to do it all, step by step:
- Start by putting on rubber gloves and dusting down the bronze. You need to wear gloves for this since the oil in your skin can interact poorly with aged bronze. You will need to remove any dust before you actively work to restore your bronze fixtures, so make sure that you give them a thorough wipedown.
- Next, dip a soft cloth in mineral spirits to remove any grease that accumulated on your bronze. Rub the bronze in small circles, and use a toothpick covered in spirits to get into any smaller crevices.
- Mix denatured alcohol and powdered chalk into a thick paste in a small bowl. Use a cloth to add this paste to the bronze item you want to refurbish.
- Rub the item using the paste, with a buffing motion. You'll start to see the oxidation buildup literally fall off.
- Continue to rub the item and then dry it off using a different cloth.
- After the bronze has been thoroughly rubbed down and the oxidation has been removed, you will need to rub the bronze item with some hard metal wax. The wax will help prevent further oxidation from occurring.
Should Bronze Be Polished?
Absolutely! Bronze needs to be regularly polished in order to retain its luster, and you actually should do it as soon as you notice it looking even slightly matte in texture. Unlike other metals that don't necessarily need to be polished, bronze can actually retain permanent damage if it's left unpolished for too long of a time.
Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to having bronze bathroom fixtures. The maintenance on bronze is far higher than glass, ceramic, or even other metals.
Why Shouldn't You Use A Coarse Sponge For Polishing Bronze?
Coarse sponges, steel wool, and even Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser are all too harsh to be used on bronze. If you use a sponge that's too coarse, you will scratch up your bronze fixture and potentially ruin the beautiful coloration it has developed. Moreover, scratches in bronze can cause your metal to tarnish faster and become more difficult to clean. So, stick to soft cloths if at all possible.
How Do You Keep Bronze From Tarnishing?
There are several ways to prevent your bronze from tarnishing, though not all of them can be a surefire shot in the bathroom. The most reliable way to prevent tarnishing on bronze fixtures is to have them in areas of low humidity and to avoid touching them with bare hands. Unfortunately, that doesn't really fit with bathroom life.
The best way to keep the bronze that you have in your bathroom from tarnishing is to seal it with a cream designed to protect bronze. This is something you will most likely need to do on a regular basis, but it works. (Believe it or not, this works well with most bronze bathroom accessories, too.)
If you have bronze fixtures in your bathroom, congratulations. Your home has a seriously luxurious touch, but unfortunately, that means you will need to take up a special cleaning routine to keep it looking great. Whether you use a gentle rag, some baking soda, or a paste made from flour doesn't matter. What matters is that you stick to a regular cleaning schedule.
Along with using the right paste to clean your bronze, you will need to make sure to polish it and seal it from time to time. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a situation where you may need to get a full restoration underway...and trust us, you don't want to do that.
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