Many of the sculpture awards that we sell – both stock and custom - are cast in bronze, and we often get questions about how to care for these awards. Proper care of your sculpture awards can help maintain their original look and luster for many, many years.
When discussing the care and cleaning of bronze sculpture awards, it is important to differentiate between the two types of finishes that may be applied to these sculptures. Some bronze sculptures are high polished, meaning that their surface is buffed and polished until it becomes a shiny, glossy golden color. Other bronze sculptures may have a patina applied to them. During the patina process, chemicals are applied to the surface of these bronze sculptures which, when combined with natural atmospheric conditions, create unique colors on the surface of the bronze.
For both of these types of sculptures, the first course of action in their care is to regularly dust and clean them. Dusting and some mild soap and water can do wonders in terms of the maintaining the look of your bronze awards over time. In lieu of soap and water, a mild, non-abrasive cleaner such as Dri Wash ‘n Guard can be applied.
In some cases, however, bronze sculptures require a bit more aggressive cleaning. The need for this can vary based on geographical location, humidity levels, whether the sculpture is displayed indoors or outdoors, the type of finish that is applied to the sculpture, etc.
A certain level of oxidation occurs with all bronze sculptures. In some patinaed sculptures, this can actually be a desired effect, and it adds to the personality and uniqueness of the sculpture. In other cases, however, particularly those involving high polished sculptures, this oxidation can occur at unnaturally high rates, and create corrosion on the surface of the sculpture. This is often seen in high humidity areas and/or locations close to the ocean.
For high polished sculptures, mild corrosion can be addressed through a little elbow grease and the application of a premium metal polish such as Wenol or Blue Magic Metal Polish. If the oxidation is severe, these sculptures can be reconditioned by re-buffing and re-polishing them, and then applying a clear protective coating to the newly polished surface.
Note, however, that metal polishes should never be applied to patinaed surfaces. For these surfaces, a thorough cleaning using mild soap and water, followed by the application of a fresh coat of oil-free clear paste wax, is the preferred “deep cleaning” method. When cleaning, applying the wax, and removing the wax, make sure to use clean, soft, non-abrasive cloths or brushes.