There is no question that the old-world charm of the oil-rubbed bronze hardware is what makes it one of the top three most popular finishes today. It originally became popular during the early 1990’s, replacing antique brass as the most popular finish in traditional style décor.
Part of the charm and what made it so popular was its “living finish” characteristic.
A living finish is what occurs when you have any metal (except stainless steel) that is not lacquered or protected by any other procedure. The finish will constantly evolve through exposure to the elements (also called an oxidation process), which varies in different metals.
Today we’re going to discuss how to properly clean and care for oil rubbed bronze hardware to keep it looking good for generations.
Cleaning Oil Rubbed Bronze Hardware
- Start with water. Wipe your oil rubbed bronze fixture with just water on a soft cloth. Often water is all that is needed to clean this type of finish. Because of its changing color and quality, oil rubbed bronze needs as little cleaning as possible to maintain its shined finish and natural patina with age. Try water first, and always test another cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of your fixture. Dry the fixture immediately with a clean, dry cloth.
- Use a non-abrasive sponge for light scrubbing. Dampen a soft sponge to remove hard water stains. Buff dry with a soft cloth. Don’t use steel wool or very scratchy, abrasive sponges or cloths. Also avoid bleach-based or other harsh cleaners. Observe your fixture after you have rubbed gently with a damp sponge and dried it. If spots reappear, repeat the process or consider a vinegar solution if the stains are very bad.
- Try a vinegar solution for stubborn stains. Mix one part vinegar with one part water for use on more difficult marks on your oil rubbed bronze hardware. Do this for any hard water deposits that just water won’t remove. Test the vinegar mixture on your fixture first by dipping a Q-tip into it and applying it to the metal to determine what effect it will have before you use it on the entire surface.
Maintaining Oil Rubbed Bronze Hardware
- Blot water away when you see it. Prevent hard water stains from forming by blotting your fixture dry whenever you see drops of water. Allowing water to evaporate on the surface is what leaves mineral deposits behind. Use a dry cloth or towel to absorb any moisture, without rubbing or buffing. Do this daily for faucets and other fixtures that are very frequently exposed to water.
- Use a high-quality wax. Apply a very thin layer of wax intended for metals to help maintain the shine and protect against water stains. Look for a high quality wax trusted for use on antique furniture. Apply the wax using a soft cloth, ensuring to the best of your ability that no excess builds up in cracks or other areas of the fixture, leaving a residue.
- Wipe down with oil. Use a very small amount of vegetable oil on your fixture every so often. Don’t use so much that it leaves a residue that will come off on your hands. Note that the oils from human hands on frequently touched areas will naturally add shine and create a lighter coloring on the bronze over time.
Ready to add oil rubbed bronze hardware to your home or business? Visit us online or give us a call today and we’ll be happy to discuss your designer hardware options!