Bronze is an alloy commonly made of copper and tin. It a strong, durable metal that has numerous applications, one being jewelry. Bronze has an attractive golden color and is often made into beautiful bangles, cuffs, pendants and necklaces.
Over time, as bronze is exposed to the elements, it loses its luster and becomes tarnished, developing a green patina which coats the surface of the bronze. While sometimes a patina can add depth and dimension to a piece of bronze jewelry, many people find it undesirable.
If you want your bronze to look sparkly and clean, keep reading for our top tips on how to clean your bronze jewelry.
Cleaning bronze jewelry
For a normal clean, nothing beats soap and water! Simply wash your bronze jewelry in warm water and soap, using a soft cloth to gently rub the dirt and grime off the piece. Make sure to rinse the soap off thoroughly before wiping and storing the bronze jewelry carefully.
Using a jewelry cleaning cloth to wipe the items after wearing will minimize tarnish and keep your bronze jewelry free from dirt and grime.
You can do this if you wish to keep the patina on your bronze jewelry. A patina is actually helpful in keeping your bronze jewelry from further corroding. The greenish layer can make your bronze jewelry look beautiful and add a vintage charm.
Removing the tarnish on bronze
If you want a deeper clean and to get rid of the tarnish on your bronze jewelry, it is not very difficult to achieve this.
You can clean the patina on your bronze jewelry by using a few simple ingredients sitting around in your kitchen. Lemon juice is highly effective in removing patina and so is vinegar. The acid in these ingredients assist in getting rid of the tarnish and making your bronze jewelry as good as new.
Make either a lemon or vinegar soak by putting this into a bowl and then submerging your bronze jewelry in it. Leave it for several minutes. Use a brush or a soft cloth to rub the bronze jewelry to get rid of the patina. Afterwards, give it a thorough rinse and dry completely.
Another effective method is to create a paste of equal parts of lemon juice and baking soda. Rub the bronze jewelry with this cleaning paste, using your fingers, a soft toothbrush or a soft cloth. Let the paste sit on the jewelry for several minutes before you wash it off. You may need to do this once or twice if the tarnish stubborn and does not come off easily.
When doing these home remedies, always take care if your bronze jewelry has any gemstones set into it as this can damage the stones. Rather, when cleaning your bronze jewelry, work around the gemstone carefully, targeting only the metal.
What about commercial bronze cleaners?
Some vendors sell commercial bronze cleaners created specifically to remove the tarnishing of bronze. These are often harsh and abrasive and can damage the surface of your bronze jewelry. Also, they are generally not any more effective than the home remedies and can be a waste of money.
Sealing Bronze Jewelry
You can seal your bronze jewelry to minimize the development of patina by coating it in clear nail polish, car wax or a commercial sealant.
Sealed bronze jewelry is easier to clean and maintain and tends not to develop a patina. Instead, the jewelry dulls and loses its luster with time. For sealed bronze jewelry, simply polishing with a jewelry cleaning cloth can make it shine as good as new.
Bronze jewelry and green stains on skin
Sometimes, the copper content in your bronze jewelry can react with your sweat, turning your skin green where the metal touches it. This is not known to be harmful but it is unsightly. It is not an allergic reaction and can happen to anyone without adverse effects. Because copper deficiency is a health issue, some people specifically wear jewelry with copper so their bodies can absorb the required mineral.
If your skin is stained, simply take off your bronze jewelry and wash the green skin with soap and water. It is not permanent and is very easy to get rid of. You can apply some clear nail polish or car wax where the bronze jewelry touches your skin, to prevent it from staining again.
Storing bronze jewelry
When storing your bronze jewelry, it is important that there is no moisture present. Always wipe any moisture off the jewelry and then store in an airtight container or bag. You can also use anti-tarnish paper to wrap the jewelry in before you store it.
Don’t expose bronze jewelry to chemicals such as chlorine or household detergents as this will damage the bronze. Excessive cleaning and polishing can also wear out your bronze jewelry and affect its durability so do this only when required. However, wiping your bronze jewelry before and after wearing is recommended as it cleans the piece without affecting its luster.