How To Clean Bronze Properly

If you have something made of bronze that's dull and discolored, don't get rid of it. Cleaning bronze is fast and easy, with amazing results.

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Next Project
Time

A few hours

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$10.00

Introduction

Bronze is an alloy made mostly of copper and a little tin. Once used around the world to forge weapons of war, bronze has long since been replaced by iron and steel for most practical projects. But it's still used today as the base for statues, artwork, decorations, coins and more.

Do you have a treasured bronze object sitting around you'd like to restore to its former glory? Keep reading for a detailed step-by-step guide on how to clean bronze.

Tools Required

  • Eye protection
  • Old toothbrush

Materials Required

  • Acetone
  • Brasso metal polish
  • Disposable shop towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray-on lacquer

After Robert MaxwellROBERT MAXWELL FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

Remove remnants of old varnish

  • Put on rubber gloves and eye protection.
  • Open the bottle of acetone and carefully pour a little on a clean disposable paper shop towel.
  • Rub all surfaces of your bronze object thoroughly with acetone, reloading your shop towel as needed.
    • The acetone will remove any remnant of old varnish, making your cleaning work much easier.
  • Wait two minutes or so for the acetone to evaporate.

1apply Acetone Robert MaxwellROBERT MAXWELL FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN

Step 2

Apply Brasso metal polish

  • Shake your bottle of Brasso for 20 seconds or so.
  • Get a fresh shop towel and squeeze a quarter-sized dab of Brasso onto one side.
  • Use the shop towel to methodically clean every surface. Ensure each area is clean and shiny before moving to a new spot.
  • Add more Brasso to the shop towel as needed. Make sure your entire bronze object is thoroughly coated in the abrasive residue and all areas, except tight hooks and crannies, are bronze-colored and shiny.

apply Brasso ROBERT MAXWELL FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN

Step 3

Clean the nooks and crannies

  • Dispense a small dab of Brasso onto the bristles of an old toothbrush.
  • Use the Brasso-laden brush to reach all the nooks and crannies of the object.
  • Continue scrubbing until all those tight areas are shiny and tarnish-free.

clean Nooks And Crannies ROBERT MAXWELL FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN

Step 4

Wipe clean

  • Use a clean shop towel to rub down and shine the object.
  • Be sure to rub in all the nooks and crannies, removing all traces of Brasso.
  • Swap out your shop towel for a fresh one if you notice the first one is too saturated with Brasso residue.

wipe cleanROBERT MAXWELL FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN

Step 5

Apply protective lacquer

  • Decide if you’d like to protect your object with lacquer. There’s no downside, and your bronze will look good for longer.
  • Apply spray-on lacquer according to the instructions on the can.
  • Allow the lacquer at least 12 hours to dry. Then enjoy your clean, shiny, well-protected bronze object.

Apply Lacquer ROBERT MAXWELL FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN