How to Clean Garden Statues

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When the once-attractive, weathered patina on your garden statues begins to look like plain old dirt, it's time to give them a cleaning. To protect the statues' surfaces, always start with the simplest, most gentle approach: spray the statues with clean water from the hose. Use gentle soaps, soft cloths or scrub brushes only if needed. Routine preventive care and gentle, regular cleaning can help combat the ravages of weather and keep your statuary looking better, longer.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Soft cloth
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Gentle liquid dish detergent
  • Clear paste wax
  • Wire brush
  • Paintbrush
  • Sealant (optional)
  • Paint (optional)
Clean your garden statues to keep them looking their best.
Clean your garden statues to keep them looking their best.

Stone Statues

Step 1

Spray stone statues with a garden hose. This will remove all but the most stubborn algae or moss and should remove most bird droppings.

Spray stone statues with water to remove loose dirt.
Spray stone statues with water to remove loose dirt.

Step 2

Wipe the statue with a damp, soft cloth or use a gentle scrub brush with some liquid dish washing detergent for more resistant organic materials. Rub the soiled areas with the cloth until the dirt is removed; then rinse with a strong stream from the hose.

Wipe or scrub surface dirt off using a soft cloth.
Wipe or scrub surface dirt off using a soft cloth.

Step 3

Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub dirt from nooks and crannies. Rinse the statue after using the toothbrush.

Work soft toothbrush bristles into areas you can't reach with a cloth.
Work soft toothbrush bristles into areas you can't reach with a cloth.

Bronze Statues

Step 1

Spray a bronze statue with a hose to remove dirt. Then use a gentle cloth and liquid soap if necessary. Do not use harsh products or special cleansers, which could damage the bronze surface. Clean bronze statues only after the original wax coating begins to disappear, typically after about three months outdoors.

Rinse a bronze statue with water to dislodge loose dirt.
Rinse a bronze statue with water to dislodge loose dirt.

Step 2

Rinse the statue thoroughly after cleaning and allow it to dry completely.

After carefully cleaning the surface, rinse the statue again and allow it to air-dry.
After carefully cleaning the surface, rinse the statue again and allow it to air-dry.

Step 3

Apply a new coat of plain paste wax during the warmest part of the day. Allow the wax to dry completely -- at least 20 minutes.

Apply wax finishes while temperatures are at their warmest.
Apply wax finishes while temperatures are at their warmest.

Step 4

Buff the dried wax off the statue with a soft, clean, dry cloth.

When the wax is dry, buff it off with a clean cloth.
When the wax is dry, buff it off with a clean cloth.

Step 5

Repeat the waxing and buffing procedure a second time to provide additional protection to outdoor bronze statues.

Wax and buff again for additional protection against the elements.
Wax and buff again for additional protection against the elements.

Iron Statues

Step 1

Scrub iron statues with a stiff wire brush to remove dirt, rust or flaking paint.

Remove dirt, rust and paint flakes from iron statues with a stiff wire brush.
Remove dirt, rust and paint flakes from iron statues with a stiff wire brush.

Step 2

Apply a sealant or washable paint with a paintbrush. Allow the sealant or paint to dry completely.

Apply sealant or paint to the surface and allow to dry.
Apply sealant or paint to the surface and allow to dry.

Step 3

Spray painted or coated iron items with a hose to wash them off when they get dirty. Use a damp cloth and liquid soap to rub away more stubborn soil from sealed or painted iron statues.

Clean painted iron statues with water and mild soap, if necessary.
Clean painted iron statues with water and mild soap, if necessary.

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