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A Bronze Cleaning and Restoration Overview

Bronze restoration projects can often prove challenging for asset owners who do not have restoration experience. Due to bronze’s surface characteristics and countless variables that influence them, statues and other bronze items can have a large range in appearance. Before actual restoration begins, owners should consult with conservators/historic preservationists for help with achieving the desired result. The process involves verification, planning, testing, and execution. Some may prefer a “like new” substrate. Others may want the aged bronze patina left intact. In some cases, a wax, lanolin, or lacquer protective coating is applied or removed.

Options for cleaning bronze typically include chemical stripping, hand scraping, manual sanding, or Sponge Media micro-abrasion. Some restorations may use multiple methods to achieve the desired results. For large bronze monuments and statues, a structural reinforcement may be a necessary part of the restoration.

Cleaning Bronze with Sponge Media gives restoration specialists a solution that allows for a great deal of controlled cleaning. By changing sponge media and/or pressure a contractor can increase or decrease the rate of coating or sealant removal, as well as the amount of dirt, grime, and patina removed from the surface.

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Sponge-Jet was chosen as the cleaning solution for the United States Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. On this project, The Tradesmen Group cleaned and removed the degraded wax coating that had been previously applied to the Memorial’s bronze substrate. Tradesmen Group repaired failing welds, and then recoated the bronze with a new wax coating. Using Blue Sponge Media™, Tradesmen Group was able to remove all of the old wax while keeping the bronze patina intact. Tradesmen also used Sponge Media to clean mineral stains from the statue’s black granite base.

For more information on the USMC Memorial Restoration, visit

Globally, Sponge Media has been used on smaller scale bronze cleaning projects. Sponge-Jet has been specified for the cleaning of historic bronze plaques, doors, balustrades and other bronze items.




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