Bronze Hardware Care
Bronze is a Living Finish
Bronze is an old world material that does not deteriorate in coastal or other regions. However, bronze is a living finish, meaning that the finish will change color over time. When bronze is exposed to air it will quickly darken and brown. When bronze is exposed to exterior elements it will often turn green. This condition is known as “patina” and is considered desirable by most people. The changing finish is part of the natural beauty of bronze and is not considered a defect.
Care for Bronze Hardware
All bronze darkens with age, however, waxing may slow the process of oxidation. To apply the wax, you need two 1” to 2” inch paint brushes that will be used only for cleaning your bronze. Do not use brushes that you have used for other purposes as chemicals may remain in the bristles and if transferred to the patina finish, may cause permanent discoloration. Never use spray or liquid furniture polishes to clean your bronze hardware. These polishes may contain oils which could damage the original patina finish.
Start by applying a protective circle of tape around the metal ferrules that hold the bristles in the brushes you are using. This will help prevent scratching of the surface when applying the wax and when dusting.
Wipe your bronze free of any dust and fingerprints using a clean, dry, cotton cloth. Use one of the brushes to remove dust from small crevasses or hard to reach places.
Use Renaissance wax, or another microcrystalline wax in most cases, because it is inert and will not yellow over time. Apply to the second brush, use three or four, back and forth, sweeping strokes. Do not dab your brush in the wax. This could cause an abundance of wax to be applied to the bronze that could actually harm the patina surface. Dab your brush on the lid of the wax can to remove any excess wax. Lightly apply a super thin coat of wax to the surface of the bronze using gentle sweeping motions. Apply more wax to the brush as described, working it down into crevices.
Caution: Using too much wax may remove previous layers of wax. It is very important not to apply too much wax or work it into the surface to vigorously. Cover the entire surface with wax and let it dry according to the directions on the container.
Never use spray or liquid furniture polishes to clean your bronze hardware. These polishes may contain oils which could damage the original patina finish.
In climates with higher humidity, or if you live where there is a higher concentration of airborne pollutants, cleaning and waxing may be needed twice a year. Bronze hardware used outside will also need more frequent maintenance.
Keep your brushes separately in labeled bags, free from other contaminants, for future use. Using a clean, dry, cotton cloth, gently rub in a circular motion, the dried wax from the bronze surface until you achieve the desired shine. To achieve a dull surface, do not rub the surface after waxing.
To achieve a better protective coating, you may want to re-apply a second coat using the same technique.
Brass Hardware Care
Overtime brass can become tarnished and dull. Oftentimes, this antiquated appearance is desired, although many prefer the look of shiny brass. If you’d like to keep your brass hardware looking bright and new, follow the steps below.
Before beginning the polishing process, it’s very important to check your hardware for two things. The first is to make sure your hardware is solid brass. The easiest way to check this is to use a magnet. Hold the magnet up toyour hardware. If the magnet doesn’t stick, the hardware is most likely solid brass. If the magnet does stick, the hardware is plated brass (most likely over steel or zinc.). The second thing you will need to verify is if your hardware is lacquered. If you see your brass hardware tarnishing, chances are the hardware is not lacquered. However, if you see a thin coating that is flaking or chipping off, then your hardware has a lacquer. If this is the case, your hardware needs to be taken to a metal refinisher.
Once you have verified that your hardware is unlacquered solid brass, you may begin the polishing process. To do this, you will need a good quality polish such as Brasso. Use a soft terry cloth and follow the directions on the bottle. Your hardware should be looking new in no time!
Stainless Steel Hardware Care
Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel can stain and rust.However, it is fairly easy to maintain stainless steel and prevent staining and rusting from happening.
More often than not, dirt, grime, and dust can be quickly cleaned with a mixture of hot water and mild soap. Simply wet a soft cloth with the soapy water and wipe the hardware in the direction of the brushing to clean. Follow with a dry soft cloth to prevent leaving watermarks. If your hardware has stubborn stains or light scratches, a stainless steel cleaner may help, although we recommend testing it somewhere inconspicuous.
If your stainless steel hardware has rust spots, you can use a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 2 cups water. Rub the solution onto your hardware with a clean, soft rag, taking care to rub in the direction of the grain. Then, rinse and wipe the area with another soft rag.