Cleaning Garden Statuary

Category Miscellaneous
The elements can take a toll on your garden decorations. This is a page about cleaning garden statuary.


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February 21, 2008

Whether the focal point in your garden is a Roman god, masterfully hand-crafted from Italian marble, or a pink flamingo lovingly manufactured from recycled plastic, years of exposure to weather and airborne particulates can leave them looking shabby and worn out. Here are some easy (and eco-friendly) ways to freshen up your garden statuary this season.

Waxes and Cleaners


General Cleaning Tips

How dirty something is, is subjective, so before getting started, assess whether cleaning your statuary will actually do it more harm than good. For example, if you have a stone statue showing signs of deterioration like chipping or flaking, you're probably better off leaving it alone, or calling in local restoration experts. On the one hand, dirt and wear from the elements can serve to enhance the appearance of a piece over time, turning your statuary into a relic of antiquity. On the other hand, dirt may be all that is holding it together.

Determine what type of material (limestone, marble, iron, bronze, wood, aluminum, plastic, etc.) your statuary is made from in order to determine the best methods for cleaning it. Remember that different metals and different types of stone may each react differently to the same types of cleaning compounds. Always start by using the most gentle tools and non-aggressive cleaning solutions you possibly can to avoid harming statuary surfaces. If necessary, gradually move toward more abrasive tools and stronger cleaning solutions.

Before using tools or applying cleaners to any statuary, completely saturate the surfaces to be cleaned with water. Use a garden hose instead of a bucket filled with water when washing or rinsing. Applying the water with a rag or brush simply returns dirty water back into the bucket where it contaminates the clean water and ends up right back on your statuary.

Scrub stone and metal in a soft circular motion to avoid streaking or eroding the surface. When washing wood, simply follow the grain. Soft-bristled toothbrushes, and bottlebrushes are great for getting into that hard-to-reach spot or cleaning areas with intricate details.

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I have a three foot plaster (of Paris?) column and it has a strong, "soft" odor. It was outside in the past and it is now in my home. I feel like I'm breathing in spores. It has some black "stuff" in crevices and the start of patina green. Any advice?
Thanks in advance.


January 4, 20170 found this helpful

The black stuff is mold. A diluted solution of bleach will kill it.

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January 4, 20170 found this helpful

Mold. Plaster retains moisture so it will be difficult to get rid of. Use a mold killer or bleach on it and keep in a dry wel ventilated area. You may also need to treat it several times or use a kilz type of paint on it as well.

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January 5, 20170 found this helpful

What you have is black mold.Clorox will help,but the best way to kill it is with vinegar.Black mold is very dangerous! Put a mask on ,then put the vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the stand outside.Scrub it down with a small brush.If this does not kill it ,then spray it down again!Do not get this mold on you,as I said,it is very dangerous!

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January 5, 20170 found this helpful

Any solution would be a lot safer if you were able to take the column back outside to clean.
If it is in your house you will have to determine what might/can be ruined if a bleach solution is used.

A lot of people use a bleach solution (generally 1/2 cup to a gallon of water) but you should only use this in a well ventilated area, using gloves and also a mask would be safer. If necessary, a stronger solution (1 cup bleach to a gallon of water) can be used but the milder solution would probably work.

Let the solution remain for at least 15 minutes before rinsing with a water and maybe Dawn mixture.

I definitely prefer vinegar (same mixture (1/2 cup to gallon water) as there are no toxic fumes and will not ruin anything it touches.

A good rinse and use sunlight to finish the job.

It would be safer to get rid of this item If one of these methods does not completely remove the mold.

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January 6, 20170 found this helpful


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January 14, 20170 found this helpful

Odoban would take care of the mold, bacteria and odor in a less toxic way. It's around $6 at lowes or Walmart.

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