When you hear the term metal sculptures, images of an art museum or classic architecture like the Roman Coliseum probably come to mind. Surprisingly, these pieces of decor are becoming more and more popular outside the average American home. While they don’t need to be cleaned on an everyday basis, they do collect dust, dirt, and other debris overtime. Here’s a brief overview of how to keep your own sculptures looking clean and well-maintained.
Tools Needed to Clean Metal Sculptures
- Bucket of Water
- Dish Soap
- Scrubbing Brush
- Brillo Brush
- Dry Washcloth
- Baking Soda
- Lemon Juice
Remove All Dust and Debris
If you are preparing to clean metal sculptures that sit outdoors (and are doing it yourself, instead of hiring a maid service of some sort), you will probably encounter bird and animal droppings, erosion from weather, and maybe even sticky residues like tree sap and gum.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of cleaning, you will want to wet your dry washcloth with water and add few drops of dish soap into the mix. Believe it or not, this simple solution is great at breaking down build ups of grime and gunk, and is also non-abrasive, ensuring that your metal sculptures keep their original look and color.
Rinse and Cleanse
Once the major buildup is removed, it’s time to give the entire sculpture a rinse and cleanse. Wet the same wash cloth, and now slowly wipe down the metal sculptures, making sure to get inside all of the nooks, cracks, and crannies that are notorious for collecting additional dust and pollen.
Remember to take your time and to do a thorough job. This isn’t a race, and dedicating at least 15 – 20 minutes (depending on the size of the sculpture) will ensure that you clean up even the toughest, dirtiest spots.
Time for a Polish
With the rinse and cleanse complete, it’s now time to give those metal sculptures a beautiful, non-damaging polish. Depending on the metal that your sculpture is made out of, there are a few options. You can purchase an over-the-counter cleaner like Wright’s Brass Polish, or you can opt for the non-toxic, high-end maid service option aka: lemon juice and baking soda.
Start by taking two tablespoons of baking soda, and placing them in a bowl or small dish. Now add a few drops of lemon juice and mix together. The baking soda and lemon juice combo should turn into a paste-like consistency. Now, take one of your scrubbing sponges and dip a corner into the polish solution.
Slowly but surely work your way around every part of your metal sculptures, from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes. Move your sponge in small circular motions, and pay careful attention to get every inch of the statue. Once all of your metal sculptures are covered in the paste solution, you’ll want to wait 20 – 30 minutes letting the baking soda work its magic. Finished waiting? It’s time for the final rinse!
Grab another bucket of warm water, and now rinse off the metal sculptures that you’ve been cleaning. Next, take a dry towel and wipe off any remaining drops or pools of water. This simple process should remove any leftover rusting, patina, or gunk that’s collected overtime, but if you still notice places that aren’t fully clean, go ahead and complete the polishing steps again. You can also softly utilize a Brillo brush on particularly sticky areas, but if you aren’t careful, this can lead to scratching or structural damage, make sure to do so at your own caution.
Depending on the size of your metal sculptures, this cleaning process can take a lot of time, but, if you’re tight on funds and can’t afford a professional maid service, following these easy steps should do an adequate job.
Such a great article I have a metal sculpture outside of my house that always has my neighbors and visitors impressed. However, after it has been outside for a couple of years it has begun to start attracting dirt and rust. I’m going to try some of the methods used in this post to bring the sculpture back to life.