Bronze is a metal that develops a patina over time -- it usually darkens over time, something many appreciate as a marker of the passage of time. But others prefer the look of the original bronze. Basic cleaning of a bronze grave marker removes debris but allows the patina to develop over time. If you are looking to have a bronze grave marker restored to its original condition, a professional refinishing may be required.
Sweep away any leaves, grass clippings and other debris if the marker is placed horizontally in the ground.
Wet the marker with water. Scrub gently with a soft-bristled brush on large flat areas and with a toothbrush around and between letters or raised decorations. Rinse frequently to remove any debris you loosen.
Mix and apply non-ionic soap according to package directions. Scrub the bronze with whichever brush works best if areas of the marker are stained or have resistant debris that elbow grease and water alone isn't removing.
Rinse very well with clean water, and dry the marker. Check for any areas that may need a touch up. Give them another scrub, rinse and dry the area.
Items you will need
Non-ionic soap or detergent
Soft cloths or paper towels
If your bronze grave marker is mounted on a stone marker, any of the cleaning methods used on the bronze will be fine to use on the stone. Granite and marble will withstand some scrubbing, but if the bronze is mounted on limestone, be gentle. Limestone is very porous and soft and can be easily scratched.
Avoid most household cleansers, detergents, soaps, and particularly bleach or ammonia, which can permanently damage the bronze. Bleach and ammonia can also kill the grass or plantings around the marker. Also avoid shaving cream, which is sometimes touted as a magic cleaner for grave markers, cleaning them instantly. It does do that, but it's acidic in nature and leaves behind a residue that can cause permanent damage.
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