How to Preserve Bronze with Wax


Teri asked: “Is there any type of oil that will protect the [bronze] finish? My bronze is on a patio and I live on the Gulf.

Bronze naturally develops a patina that some feel gives it character. Others find this change to be unsightly and work to remove it and restore the piece to its original shine. If you’d like to remove the patina, check out “How to Clean Bronze”. Once you have reached the desired look and level of shine, you can preserve the shine by applying a layer of wax. This method can keep your bronze looking great for up to several months, even outdoors and in high humidity areas like the Gulf.

You Will Need:

  • Wax – Here are some to consider:
    • Trewax Clear Paste Wax
    • Johnson’s Clear Paste Wax
    • Renaissance Wax
  • Soft cloth
  • New paintbrush
  • Clean shoe brush

The Application Process:

  1. Begin by cleaning your bronze piece until its reached your desired appearance.
  2. Allow the piece to dry completely as you don’t want to trap moisture under the wax.
  3. Use the soft cloth and/or paintbrush to apply a layer or wax to the piece following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Allow the wax to dry thoroughly. This typically takes 20-30 minutes.
  5. Buff with a soft cloth or shoe brush to desired shine.
  6. If your piece is outdoors, a second coat of wax may be necessary. Apply following steps 2-5.
  7. Buff the second coat to the desired shine.
  8. Most waxes will last for a few months before needing to be reapplied.
  9. Check the manufacturer’s directions to learn if the remains of the particular type of wax should be removed prior to reapplication.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • You may want to polish your piece prior to waxing, unless you have weathered bronze. This type of bronze undergoes a chemical process and polishing will remove the finish and expose the original bronze.
  • Waxing your bronze piece also helps protect against water spots that are a common problem on outdoor pieces.


  1. Jonathan says:

    I just came into proud possession of some nearly 100-year-old arts and crafts copper candlesticks and various copper and bronze bowls. Of course, I do NOT want to lose any of the original patination or patina rendered by time, but the pieces are a bit dull and could, I feel, use appropriate cleaning and preservation. Is there a product(s) designed for non-destructive beautification of these old metal objects?

  2. Victor says:

    I collect old and new bronze medallions. The old ones have a pleasant patina on them to make look old. Should I clean them or leave them as is?
    Thank you.

  3. Frank says:

    I have some antique bronze statues of Greek gods that I purchased while living in Italy. They have a great looking patina, but there are small spots on the statues that grow a white fungus or mold (not sure which) that looks like a small plant growing on the statue. I have cleaned it off numerous times and tried the cleaning methods you all recommend, but the white stuff keeps growing back. Do you have any idea what it might be or how to get rid of it for good?
    Thanks, Frank

  4. Melanie says:

    If the white stuff is a fungus (mold and mildew are both fungi), then you will need to clean it with an antifungal in order to kill the fungal spores. Use the Vinegar, Flour & Salt method in the How to Clean Bronze article. Vinegar is an antifungal, so that should do the trick.

  5. Ross says:

    By all means do not attempt to remove patina from old medals! To Numismatists, cleaning coins or medals is tantamount to ruining them. You could seriously impair their value and the results will no doubt be destructive, irreversible, and unattractive. To preserve patina on old bronze medals, a thin coat of Butchers Wax is acceptable and may protect them from further darkening or corrosion.

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