How to Clean Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets

Last Updated On July 14, 2024

Updated on May 16, 2022



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How to Clean Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets

Do you have stains on your old rubbed bronze faucet? Whether it’s a bathtub faucet, bronze bathroom faucet, kitchen faucet, or shower head, you’ll need to clean it properly.

Follow our guide so your bronze finish will look as great as it did when you first got it without causing any permanent damage. 

Don’t let your concern of cleaning oil rubbed bronze the wrong way keep you from sprucing up these beautiful fixtures in your home.

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • Why does my oil rubbed faucet have water spots?
  • How to clean bronze faucets the right way
  • Supplies you’ll need to clean bronze faucets

What's In This Guide?

      Why Does My Oil Rubbed Faucet Have Water Spots?

      Water spots on your faucet develop as a result of hard water. Hard water refers to water high in mineral content. Do you have hard water? Water with mineral content between 121 – 180  mg/L is considered “hard” and water with mineral content 181 mg/L+ is considered “very hard.”

      If you allow water to remain on the faucet, the minerals in the water will stick to the faucet once it dries and this causes water spots. The water spots appear as discoloration to the bronze finish. 

      Over time, the mineral deposits can accumulate into noticeable and unsightly white sediment buildup on your oil rubbed bronze faucet. Since the mineral deposits require more effort to clean later on, you should clean the water spots as soon as you notice them. 

      What is Bronze Disease?

      If you let the bronze finish go without cleaning it for too long, the material may experience what’s known as “bronze disease”. Bronze disease is a form of corrosion that happens to bronze fixtures. It makes the material turn green (and other colors) due to chemical reactions that actually prevent the material from deteriorating. 

      See the video below to see how bronze disease can affect artifacts after years so that you don’t let your faucet get to that point. 

      Why Choose Bronze Fixtures?

      The two main reasons people choose bronze fixtures are that they are attractive, and they are strong/long-lasting. 

      Bronze quickly lends itself to a classic aesthetic that reminds people of ancient Greece and ancient Rome. A bronze bathroom, in particular, creates the image of luxury and classic elegance. This “romantic” feel is still very popular.

      There are different types of bronze finishes that all look similar but have minor differences. The different types of bronze finished include:

      • Oil rubbed bronze finish
      • Venetian bronze finish
      • Mediterranean bronze finish
      • Tuscan bronze finish

      When choosing bronze fixtures, it’s best to select the same shade throughout the room of different fixtures and hardware that you want to match. Although, confident interior decorators should feel free to mix and match as they see fit. Some people even mix bronze with brushed gold bathroom faucets, so don’t feel limited. 🙂

      did you know How to Clean Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets

      Don’t limit bronze to classic styles. A sleek design can bring bronze faucets into a modern design aesthetic with a shocking color outside of the standard nickel, stainless steel, or chrome. 

      While bronze allows manufacturers to mold the material better than stainless steel, it’s still rather strong and long-lasting, even if it can lose its shape after time. 

      Another reason bronze makes a great choice is that it doesn’t corrode like other materials. It will react to natural occurrences, as we explained when we talked about bronze disease.

      However, while the corrosion may cause other materials to deteriorate (and cause expensive leaks), bronze maintains its structure, even if it turns green and other colors. 

      You will need to keep up on each bronze fixture to prevent hard water spots and eventual discoloration. While it requires a little more maintenance than other materials, most people think it’s worth it.

      How To Clean Bronze Faucets The Right Way

      Step One: Keep up with regular maintenance 

      The first step in keeping your bronze faucets looking their best is regular light cleaning every day.  

      Do keep a soft and clean cloth near your faucet so that you can wipe the faucet down with a conservative amount of warm water after brushing your teeth and washing your hands. 

      Do dry thoroughly. This is extremely important since if you don’t dry the water away, you will leave the minerals to stick to the faucet and increase in numbers over time. 

      Do not use a scouring pad, steel wool, or an abrasive sponge when wiping down your faucet. Harsh materials can cause permanent damage to the faucet. 

      Step Two: Clean with a cleanser weekly

      You should use a mixture of water and dish soap or water and vinegar to clean your faucet about once a week.

      Do use a mild cleanser when cleaning your bronze faucet. 

      Do not use a strong cleanser that contains harsh chemicals, such as acid, alcohol, and bleach (ex. CLR). An abrasive cleaner can damage bronze. 

      Step Three: Deep clean your faucet once or twice a year

      You should take time about twice a year to deep clean the faucet by cleaning the aerator inside and the faucet handle. 

      Do remove the faucet aerator and clean inside the faucet. The aerator regulates water flow, and you can locate it at the end of the spout. Take the aerator out and wash it separately before replacing it. 

      Do use a natural drain cleaner about once or twice a year made from natural enzymes to ensure you have clean supply lines and drains. 

      Do not use strong drain cleaners that incorporate caustic chemicals. These materials can damage plastic piping and even damage any seals in your faucet.

      Supplies You’ll Need to Clean Bronze Faucets

      You can clean your bronze faucet with items around your house.

      Things you may want to use include:

      • Microfiber cloth
      • Distilled white vinegar
      • Gentle cleanser

      Fast FAQs For Cleaning Bronze Faucets

      Will vinegar damage a bronze faucet?

      Vinegar will not damage a bronze faucet as long as you rinse the vinegar off of the faucet thoroughly. 

      You can use vinegar to clean oil-rubbed bronze. However, you want to ensure that you limit the amount of time that you leave the vinegar on your faucet. After about 10 – 15 minutes, you should remove the vinegar from the faucet thoroughly and dry thoroughly. 

      Will CLR damage oil rubbed bronze fixtures?

      Yes! CLR can be used on polished chrome and stainless steel, but it can’t be used on oil rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, brass, or copper. CLR can potentially damage your bronze fixtures because it contains harsh chemicals.  

      How should I clean Venetian bronze faucets?

      In order to clean a Venetian bronze faucet, start with regular maintenance by wiping down your faucet with a microfiber cloth about once a day after use to ensure that you pick up any oils or water that remain on the faucet. When you first start to notice water spots, wash them with warm water and a gentle cleanser once a week. If you start to get calcium deposits, use vinegar or something a little stronger to attack the problem. 

      How should I clean Moen oil rubbed bronze faucets?

      Cleaning a Moen oil rubbed bronze faucet is similar to cleaning any bronze faucet. You should wipe it down daily if it experiences high traffic. You should also clean it with a gentle cleanser about once a week. Always wipe off all cleansers thoroughly and dry thoroughly.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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