How to Clean and Maintain Garden Statues and Sculptures

Having a statue or sculpture in your yard or garden adds a whimsical and elegant touch to any outdoor area. The weathered appearance of statues over time adds a sense of establishment and vintage appeal, but there comes a time when statues need to be cleaned and taken care of. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor statue can help it to last longer and maintain its appearance.

Garden Statue

When Should I Clean My Statue?

It is important to regularly clean your outdoor sculpture. Cleaning your statues helps them to last longer and look nicer for many years. Some experts recommend that you clean your outdoor statue and perform maintenance every time you mow your lawn. Doing this helps you to build a yard care routine and ensures you get the most out of your outdoor statue. While cleaning your statue, be sure to check for cracks and imperfections that could cause larger issues, like mold growth or the sculpture to break.

Tips for Cleaning Different Types of Statues

Cleaning your outdoor statues should be an easy and routine part of your lawn maintenance. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when caring for your statues.

Be gentle with your statues as you scrub them. Too much pressure may cause them to crack, chip, or even break.

Use a garden hose with a gentle setting, like shower or mist, to rinse your statues. Never use a power washer. Power washers are too strong and can damage the detailing or break statues.

Although there are cleaning products made especially for statues, a more cost-effective option can be found in your home. Use household cleaners like dish soap to keep your statue looking new.

How you clean your statue depends on the type of material it is made from. Follow the steps below for each material type to ensure you properly clean your statue.

Polyresin

1) Rinse with hose on gentle spray setting.
2) Mix a little bit of dish soap into warm water.
3) Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the dirt and grime off the statue.
4) Rinse with hose again.
5) Use a soft cloth to dry the statue. This also prevents streak marks.

Concrete

1) Spray statue with water using a garden hose with a gentle setting.
2) Add a bit of dish soap to warm water and mix it.
3) Use a soft cloth or a sponge to gently scrub the surface.
4) Dry the statue with a clean towel or you can let it air dry if the temperature outside is warm and dry.

Wood

1) Rinse with garden hose on gentle setting.
2) Wash sculpture with a little bit of dish soap and warm water. Be sure to scrub in the direction of the wood grain.
3) Rinse with hose.
4) Wipe with towel to begin drying. It's better to raise the statue up in the air to fully dry.
5) Once the statue has completely dried, coat it with polyurethane or other protective finish to preserve and protect the wood.

Outdoor Angel Statue

Marble

1) Mix a bit of dish soap with hot water.
2) Use a soft cloth to wipe away dirt and other debris from the statue.
3) Rinse with a garden hose on a gentle setting.
4) Dry the statue with a clean, soft towel to prevent streak marks.

Bronze

1) Mix nonionic cleaner, water, and spot-free dishwasher soap together.
2) Use a soft cloth to wipe away the grime and dirt. If needed, use a non-wire scrub brush to clean hard-to-reach or difficult areas.
3) Let the soap sit on the statue for a few minutes. Use a garden hose to rinse statue.
4) Dry the statue with a clean, soft cloth. Let it dry for 2 days to ensure all moisture is gone.
5) Once dry, use a scrub brush to apply wax to the statue. Let the wax dry for 20 minutes before using a cloth to buff and shine the surface.

Removing Moss, Mold, and Mildew From Statues

Outdoor statues often promote the growth of moss, mildew, and mold due to the porous surface of most statue materials and the constant exposure to moisture and weather elements. Follow these steps to get rid of any mold, mildew, or moss and to refresh your outdoor sculpture.

  1. Mix 3 quarts of warm water, 1 quart of all-purpose bleach, 1/3 cup of mild dish detergent, and 2/3 cup of trisodium phosphate in a bucket.
  2. Use a stiff brush and quick, circular motions to scrub the mildew and mold from the statue. Don't let the surface you've scrubbed dry as you work. Use a toothbrush to clean the detailed parts of the statue.
  3. Rinse the cleaned sections with a garden hose on mist or shower setting. Continue this process until your sculpture is completely clean.
  4. Let the statue dry completely. You can coat the statue with zinc oxide primer or paint to prevent further mold, mildew, or moss growth once the statue is dry.

Sunnydaze Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil Frog Trio Statues

Protecting Your Statues and Sculptures From the Elements

All statues and sculptures deteriorate and dull over time due to constant exposure to the elements. The weathered look created by that exposure is desired by some landscape enthusiasts because it offers a vintage and timeless look to gardens, patios, and other outdoor spaces. However, too much weathering can cause the statue to crack, grow moss or mildew, change color, and deteriorate over time. To slow the weathering process down, applying a sealer on statues can help prolong and even prevent, if maintained consistently, damage caused by weathering. Before you apply a protective coating on your sculpture, be sure it is clean and completely dry. Use a soft brush or cloth to apply the sealer.

Keeping your outdoor garden statues clean will ensure their longevity. Maintaining the appearance of garden sculptures not only keeps your garden looking beautiful, but it also is required if you want your statue to last year after year. Check out this article for tips on how to maintain your outdoor fountains.

Outdoor living

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