Cleaning and Caring for Real Bronze
The Real Bronze we supply goes by a variety of names:
Polished Gunmetal, Light Patina Bronze, Solid Bronze, Real Bronze Metal Antique, Tudor Bronze, Pewter Bronze, Marbled Bronze, Aged Bronze, Dark Bronze to name a few.
We always try to make it clear when something is made from Real Bronze, or if it is a Bronze finish on top of a different metal. But, if you have any doubts at all please do call us.
As with brass, our personal view is to go for good quality, ‘unlacquered’ bronze. It will stand the test of time and develop its own character over time. Surprisingly, natural Unlacquered bronze has a pale orangey pink colour, almost like a rose gold.
The Unlacquered Bronze collections we supply are: Polished Gunmetal Unlacquered, Light Patina Bronze and Solid Bronze Unlacquered. All of the other bronzes are applied finishes on real bronze - see below.
How will my bronze age?
In a very similar way to brass, once fitted, with touch, time and the environment your bronze will gradually and naturally wear and oxidise. This process will give your bronze a a very deep, dark patina resulting in natural character and elegance.
Generally, we would expect you to start to see the beginning of oxidisation within a few months, but this can be drastically increased depending upon where you live and your local atmospheric conditions. Check your bronze regularly after installation so that you can gauge how quickly it is ageing, this will help you decide how often you may need to clean and care for your bronze.
Even if you want your bronze to develop a really aged look that says it still needs care and maintenance to prolong its life and preserve its beauty.
To do this we recommend that you clean it with warm, soapy water with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. For Front Door furniture and other exterior fittings, you may wish to use a soft bristle nail brush or toothbrush to help lift some of the more stubborn deposits. Then give it a good wipe over with a lint free cloth to dry and reveal the natural lustre.
Unless you live in a particularly harsh environmental area, or in a Coastal location, you shouldn’t need to do this more frequently than every couple of months.
If you want to keep that beautiful orangey, pink lustre, or your bronze just hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you will need to clean it. Start by washing it, as described in the Regular care section above.
Once it is dry, you should use a good quality metal polish – we use Brasso wadding – and a soft, dry, non-abrasive cloth. If you are using a liquid or cream metal polish, please apply this sparingly, you can always go back for another round of cleaning if necessary.
Use gentle, circular movements. For a more authentic aged look, polish the raised or flatter surfaces a little more and leave any detailing or crevices alone. This will result in those detailed areas remaining dark.
Once you are happy with the level cleaning, make sure you remove any traces of the metal polish with a separate lint free, non-abrasive cloth. We tend to use an e-cloth or similar for this part of the cleaning process, as it removes the polish remnants and any smears too.
You may only need to do this a few times per year, this will depend on how quickly your bronze ages, your local atmospheric conditions and of course how much of that gorgeous lustre you want!
Bronze is a very robust material and will not rust, even in harsh environmental conditions. However, to help protect it against the elements we do recommend that occasionally it is treated with the application of a good quality wax polish. We tend to use Beeswax and a soft, lint free cloth. You could also use a good quality spray wax furniture polish or even WD40 or a good quality 3 in 1 oil.
But bronze can develop ‘Verdigris’ – a bright blueish-green encrustation. The severity of this does completely depend on both the copper content in your bronze and the local environmental conditions.
Most bronze, particularly when fitted indoors, will never show signs of Verdigris. In other instances, you may see a blueish-green tinge to your bronze, or small Verdigris spots forming.
Cleaning with a good quality metal polish, as described above, as soon as you notice this will remove it. You may need to apply the metal polish 2 or 3 times to remove it completely. It is better to do 2 or 3 gentle cleans than apply too much metal polish, or be tempted to leave it applied for long periods.
Applied Finishes on Real Bronze
Please see our separate guide on Caring for Applied Finishes on Real Bronze – click HERE.