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How to Clean Bronze Trophies & Awards

Congratulations! You’ve been awarded a gorgeous trophy to recognise your achievements. You want to show it off in pride of place; the mantelpiece, perhaps? Of course the mantelpiece. Every glance fills you with a sense of pride, but as weeks pass and dust gathers you wonder – ‘How do I clean this trophy?’

Taking Care of your Bronzeware

Bronze is a copper alloy that, in modern standards, consists of 88% copper and 12% tin. It is widely used across a wide range of industries; from trophies and musical instruments to electrical components and ship propellers. Polishing your bronzeware correctly will keep it looking pristine for many years. Neglected, you run the risk of it becoming tarnished and stained. The exact way you clean your bronze will depend on whether it is safe to submerge in water:

Bronze Trophies & Awards

Cleaning Bronze with Water

This method is for bronze trophies and awards and that are pure bronze, with no other elements. If your trophy has a base, plinth, placard or other adornments, it may not be safe to fully submerge it in a water-based cleaning solution: in which case, you should clean it without water.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 clean cloth
  • 1 soft-bristled toothbrush
  • ½ cup plain soap
  • Calcium carbonate (white chalk)
  • Distilled water
  • Ethanol
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bowl/Bucket
  • Cotton buds, cotton balls or 100% cotton cloth.
  • Chamois cloth.

Once you have everything you need, you can put your gloves on and start cleaning.

Method:

  1. To remove dust, wipe down your trophy with a clean cloth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean small nooks and crannies.
  2. Mix plain soap with warm water and wait for it do fully dissolve.
  3. Dip your trophy into the solution to rinse and remove surface stains. Be sure to only dip the bronze elements of the trophy, so as not to damage any other more delicate components (e.g. wooden plinths/placards).
  4. Rub your trophy with a clean cloth until it is completely dry.
  5. Mix 1part calcium carbonate, 1 part ethanol and 1 part distilled water in a bowl or bucket.
  6. Dip a cotton ball/bud/cloth in the solution. Rub gently across the surface in a circulate motion. Use cotton buds to reach more intricate areas.
  7. Finally, dry off with a clean chamois cloth.

Cleaning Bronze without Water

This option is preferred for multi-material pieces where you need be careful of the parts that are exposed to the cleaning solution. It also works better for smaller bronze awards, like medals or other jewellery.

What You Will Need:

  • Salt
  • White Vinegar
  • Flour
  • Warm Water
  • 3 Clean Cloths

Method:

  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white vinegar. Mix in flour until it creates a paste.
    (Larger trophies may require more paste. Increase measurements proportionally as needed.)
  2. Apply the paste with a clean, soft cloth to cover the desired surfaces.
  3. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 to 60 minutes.
  4. Dab a clean cloth in water and wipe away the paste until it is completely removed.
  5. Finally, dry and polish the surface with a clean, dry cloth.

We have our own range of bronze trophies and awards that are ideal for a wide range of different sports, events and celebrations. You can explore our full range of trophies and awards by browsing the Silver Trophy store. We hope that you will use these methods to keep your trophies and awards looking fantastic for years to come.

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