Metal care tips for bronze

Metal care tips for bronze

Bronze forms a patina (green color) that is protective to the metal and is often seen on artwork. Reproduced, it is called Verde Solid.

Bronze often is lacquered (at the factory) to protect the finish. Lacquered bronze only needs dusting and an occasional wiping with a damp cloth. Have the lacquer replaced if it cracks or peels.

Keep bronze pieces as clean as possible. Accumulations of dust and dirt can eat into the metal surface. Dust regularly using a soft cloth. Do not rub too vigorously, especially on any protruding parts. If a bronze piece has been neglected for a long time and is covered with grime, thoroughly clean it with a soft brush. Remove all dust from crevices and notches and then lightly rub the entire surface with a soft flannel cloth. For a more thorough cleaning, carefully wash with a solution of 1 tablespoon of salt mixed in to 3 quarts of water. Rinse well.


Wash the piece in repeated changes of boiling hot, distilled water, usually can stop “Bronze Disease”. You may have to soak the object for a week or more in distilled water. If this treatment does not work, consult a museum expert about using a strong solution of sodium sesqui-carbonate or have your piece treated by a professional.

A good household general-purpose bronze cleaner can be created. Use salt, vinegar, and flour. Dissolve 1teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste. Apply the paste to the bronze and let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse with clean, warm water, and polish dry.


Polish with copper polish followed by glass wax. If a high polish is required dip a cloth into liquid wax and apply to the piece. When the piece is dry, buff lightly to a high gloss. This wax treatment also may be given to bronze pieces that are kept outdoors. Weathered bronze usually darkens; however, this is natural and does not harm the piece

What not to do

Do not use heavy abrasives to clean bronze, or most metal pieces.