How to Clean and Store Bronze Jewelry

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.

If you want your bronze to look sparkly and clean, keep reading for our top tips on how to clean your bronze jewelry.

Is Patina Good or Bad?

copper cuff bracelet with patina
Cuff bracelet with patina added to it. See this here.

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.

Some people prefer to keep the patina on their bronze jewelry. A patina can be helpful in keeping your bronze jewelry from further corroding, and at the same time, the greenish layer can make your bronze jewelry look beautiful with a vintage charm.

Some designers add patina onto the finished piece to give it unique designs.

While sometimes a patina can add depth and dimension to a piece of bronze jewelry, many people find it undesirable and wish to remove it.

Easiest Way to Clean 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, like this one, to wipe the items after wearing will minimize tarnish and keep your bronze jewelry free from dirt and grime.

But if you have tougher tarnish on the bronze jewelry, then you’ll need to follow one of the steps below to remove the tarnish.

Removing Bronze Tarnish

You can clean the patina on your bronze jewelry by using a few simple ingredients sitting around in your kitchen. 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.

Lemon Juice or Vinegar

lemon for copper cleaning

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.

Lemon Juice/Vinegar and Baking Soda

bicarbonate of soda and vinegar for cleaning

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.

What About Commercial Bronze Cleaners?

Some vendors sell commercial bronze cleaners, like this one, 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.

How to Seal Bronze Jewelry

clear nail polish to seal 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 the 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.

How to Store Bronze Jewelry

pink jewelry box with jewelry
Store bronze jewelry in a jewelry box like this one.

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.

Wrapping Up

Bronze has a distinctive gleam and hue that makes it stand out from other types of metals. By following the above steps, you can ensure that your bronze jewelry remains lustrous and gleaming for longer. For pieces that are heavily tarnished, you may have to repeat the cleaning steps a few times, but you should be able to remove the stains and marks on the pieces.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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