What to Do If Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucet Is Turning Green


There are many possibilities of why oil rubbed bronze faucet is turning green. Some possibilities include the oxidization of copper, intrusion of other metals, and contact with acidic water or biological matter.

The key reason for the oil-rubbed bronze faucets turning green might be hard water. If there is frequent contact with water, oil-rubbed bronzes could have a tendency to turn greenish.

So, can you fix the discolored faucet? Yes, you can easily fix this and bring back the original finish.

Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucet Is Turning Green

4 Reasons Why Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets Is Turning Green

There can be many reasons why oil-rubbed bronze faucets can pick up that green color. It is also known as patina.

The first thing to know, it doesn’t harm the bronze material, it just changes the premium appearance. The main reasons you might experience this issue can be as stated:

1. The faucet stays wet too long

This is the most common issue because faucets aren’t typically dried manually and they can stay wet for a long time. This creates an ideal environment for copper oxidation.

Copper oxidation is the main reason for its greenish discoloring.

As copper makes up about half of the bronze, it’s easy to oxidate. Most commonly it makes the bronze look green. But it can also make them black or darker.

2. Not cleaning the faucet regularly

Without regular cleaning, bronze picks up moisture and oxidizes very easily. The whole process will happen again and again after a certain time as it is a natural one.

There is no permanent solution to this issue. If you don’t clean up your bronze faucets regularly, they will eventually turn green again.

3. The faucet is in a salty and humid area

Here’s one type of corrosion that isn’t harmless. A salty environment causes active corrosion which can damage the bronze faucet rather than protect it. This phenomenon is called “Bronze disease” and it is undesirable.

4. Presence of other chemical ingredients in the air

Various other ingredients can trigger copper oxidation and make them green. It can happen in contact with ammonia, which can form inside bathrooms most commonly.

We must prevent any material to come in contact with the copper faucet that can cause copper oxidation.

These are the most common reasons for the bronze faucet turning green. We can bypass this issue by simply avoiding these materials and their direct contact with the faucet.

Preventing any chemical reactions will keep those faucets shiny for a long time.

How to Clean Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucet?

Collect the following items:

  • Paper towel
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Bucket/container
  • Soft cloth
  • Vinegar

Step 1: Water Application

Water Application on faucet

Only a soft cloth with clean water is required for the major part of the cleaning. The most important thing to note while maintaining the appearance of the faucet is to minimize the cleaning.

If you keep cleaning it vigorously, especially with harsh chemicals, it will cause the faucet to wear out quickly.

So you must clean the faucet gently using the appropriate cleanser to maintain the color. After you have used the cloth to wipe the faucet, you must dry it quickly to avoid spots of water.

Step 2: Scouring the faucet

Scouring bronze faucet

If there are any stains or dirt like calcium stains, mineral deposits, or soap scum that cannot be removed only with water, you can apply little content of elbow grease. And you can also use water and a non-abrasive sponge to scrub the tap.

The aforementioned items can be efficient and go a long way in removing the stubborn stains on the surface of the faucet. You must not use abrasives such as steel wool, because it will only scratch the surface of the bronze.

Step 3: Applying vinegar

Applying vinegar on bronze faucet

You can apply a white vinegar cleaning solution if the stubborn dirt persists even after you have scoured the surface with a non-abrasive sponge. Mix the vinegar directly with water and apply it to the stubborn stains.

Once the vinegar mixture is ready, soak a soft fabric in the mixture and rub it on the surface or fixture. You can also use a paper cloth with the vinegar solution and sit it on the fixture for about 10 minutes.

Then, use clean water and soft fabric to remove the vinegar. Make sure the water is warm. Hopefully, in this way, the oil-rubbed bronze faucet will be clean and look like new.

Are Oil Rubbed Faucets Hard to Keep Clean?

No, it is not challenging to keep clean the oil-rubbed bronze faucet. They must be sanitized so that they can be free from dirt. You can use a soft fabric and water to clean it especially if it does not have hard or difficult stains. Vinegar solution is also recommended for use where the stain or dirt is stubborn.

You must be careful while cleaning the oil-rubbed bronze fixtures, careless cleaning can cause scratches and fades on the faucet. You must not use alcohol-based solutions or bleach cleaners because they will only discolor the tap rather than clean it.

Before the application of any solvent, it must not contain these elements:

  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Phosphoric acid

What Should Avoid When Cleaning an Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucet?

Cleaning an oil-rubbed bronze faucet is fun when you have the right ingredients. But certain elements might damage the faucet instead of helping.

Strong Chemicals

If conventional natural ingredients don’t work, you can opt for metal cleaners found in the market.

Chemicals are great for restoring the oil-rubbed bronze finish. They’re a bit stronger than natural ones and are more effective. But very strong chemicals can damage the structure rather than clean it.

They can accelerate oxidation and erode the materials too, like bleaching. Avoid these and go for the mild ones.

Rough and Abrasive Cleaners

During cleansing, always use soft clothes to swipe and dry the faucet. If you use something abrasive or with metal flakes for cleaning, they might scratch the faucet surface and damage it. Scratched bronze won’t look good and they’re hard to fix using wax and other agents.

Cleaning with Hard Water

Hard water will cause calcium deposits and corrosion. Moreover, it causes green patina to oil-rubbed bronze fixtures. Hard water is typically found in many natural water sources. Use filtered water to prolong the lifespan of your kitchen appliances including bronze faucets.

How to Remove Green from Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets?

How to Remove Green from Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets

Green is the most abundant form of bronze, but it’s not the only one. Bronze faucets can turn into chocolate color, golden, reddish-brown, and even pink.

As a very common issue, we can deal with it very easily. There are many ways to remove it from bronze faucets. It depends on how deep the oxidation has formed.

From mild to deep, we can apply certain methods like these: All these are cheap household ingredients commonly found in the kitchen.

Step 1: Using Tomato Ketchup

The easiest way to remove the green patina from bronze faucets is to apply ketchup. You don’t need to mix it with anything. Just collect some tomato ketchup, and cover the green area of the faucet with it.

Then, wait for half an hour and wash it away. Be sure to dry the faucet with a clean soft cloth. Tomato ketchup contains salt and vinegar that deoxidizes the patina, but it’s not very strong.

Step 2: Using salts and vinegar separately

For a better reaction, you can separately use flour, salt, and vinegar instead of using ketchup. This can be done when ketchup isn’t enough. You need to create a paste-like mixture with flour, salt, and vinegar.

Then, apply the paste over the green patina. The rest is the same, just wait for half an hour and wash, dry the faucet.

Salt is often used to clean metal stains anyway and it helps in this case. Applying vinegar directly might cause trouble but it can also be used when diluted with water.

Step 3: Using Soda and lemon

If you still find out that the stain is present, you can make another type of paste with lemon juice and baking soda. This will create a strong paste that’ll wipe out the patina. Again, apply the paste and wait then wash away.

Alternatively, if you don’t have soda, you can use salt. Just mix the lemon juice with salt. For more potency, mix cream of tartar with the mixture.

It contains potassium bitartrate. This new mixture will be able to remove the green patina from the oil-rubbed bronze fixture more effectively if you apply it for over an hour. Apply the mixture and use a brush to clean up the green more effectively.

Step 4: Using boiled water

At this stage, almost all the green patina should go away if you followed the instructions. But, if they don’t, you can use boiling water.

You’ll need to unscrew and remove the faucet from the holder for this one. Place it inside a boiling water jar. The high temperature will remove oxidation.

Keep it inside as long as all the patina has vanished. This is the last resort as it involves opening up the hardware and doing some extra work.

Final Step: Wash & Dry

No matter what you apply to the faucet, you must wash it away and clean the faucet. Without cleaning, your faucet may pick up other types of corrosion which will do irreversible damage.

Also, be sure to dry the faucet by rubbing it with a dry soft cloth. Wet faucets will easily pick up oxidation. These are the steps of cleaning oil-rubbed bronze fixtures.

And now, your oil-rubbed bronze faucet should be clean and back to its original color.

How to Maintain Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucets?

The guide above shows you how to clean your faucet weekly or after several days when you have used it. If you want to maintain a shiny new look as if you have just purchased it, then you must clean it more frequently. Preferably, after each use. There are a few steps to follow to maintain your oil-rubbed faucet.

Step 1: Always clean every drop of water

Stains caused by water are very difficult to remove when it remains on the faucet for more than a day. Failure to clean the water before it dries will leave a stubborn stain on the faucet.

So, to avoid this, the best remedy is to clean every drop of water on the faucet after use. You only have to keep a clean towel or cloth close to the faucet.

Step 2: Apply faucet wax

A faucet wax is highly recommended in preventing stubborn stains on the faucet and it also keeps the faucet shiny. There are different wax you can find in the market made of different materials.

Make sure you pick the one specifically made for oil-rubbed bronze faucets. An example of this type of wax is flitz faucet wax. Flitz wax will maintain the shiny color of your faucet and at the same time prevent stains.

Ensure to use a soft cloth with the wax during application. When applying wax, use a soft dry cloth, and apply a thin layer, but be careful not to build up in areas like cracks. There may be wax residue left on the faucet.

Also, you can use the wax on scratches caused by an abrasive or harsh sponge on the faucet. You won’t see any scratches once you use the wax, and you can also use the wax when your faucet begins to fade.

Step 3: Apply oil

After you have applied the wax, you should use the oil for proper maintenance. Just apply a little quantity of oil around the faucet with your fingers.

The application of oil will keep the faucet in its shiny color. It is important that after cleaning, you refinish the faucet to retain its glow.

How to Remove Calcium Deposits from Bronze Faucet?

How to Remove Calcium Deposits from Bronze Faucet

Hard water has a high calcium concentration. Therefore, during evaporation, limescale will remain on the tap, leading to corrosion and fading.

This, in turn, makes the crane terrifying. It also blocks the faucet and slows down the flow of water. Any white substance you see on the faucet is caused by calcium.

We will highlight the steps on how you can remove calcium residues from your oil-rubbed faucet.

Step 1: Remove the stains

You should use a dry soft fabric to wipe away dust and water from the oil-rubbed faucet.

Step 2: Use vinegar for cleaning

This step requires you to mix a cup of vinegar with water equally. Then dip a dry fabric into this mix and leave it until it is soaked completely. Now use the soaked cloth to wrap the tap completely, and leave it for at least 60 minutes or as long as 90 minutes.

You have to wrap the faucet for as long as that so that the solution will soften the dirt or calcium deposits, and you can remove it easily.

Step 3: Scour the calcium deposit

You can use a scrubbing sponge or toothbrush to scour the oil-rubbed faucet to remove all the calcium residues.

Step 4: Prepare a Cleaning Paste

In this step, you will need a clean dry bowl, one cup of vinegar, flour, and one teaspoon of salt. The work of the cleaning paste is mainly to wipe any scale deposit remnant in the cracks that have formed in the faucet.

Make sure that the paste is thick, meaning that an excessive quantity of flour will be needed, apply the paste on the tap and leave it for 60 minutes.

Step 5: Scouring

Before flushing the faucet, use a towel paper to wipe off the paste. Then rinse the faucet with warm water.

Wipe off-scale deposits with a soft fabric. Ensure that you have cleaned the faucet properly.

Step 6: Repaint the faucet

If the faucet has lost its color as a result of calcium deposit build-up, then you must repaint the faucet.

Before painting the faucet, ensure that it has dried completely. After using the paint, allow the paint to dry for at least 10 minutes.

Key Takeaway

While the greenish color doesn’t look good, it’s not harmful to the faucet itself. Under bad conditions, copper oxidation automatically creates a protective green layer. This layer protects the bronze from further mechanical damage and is triggered naturally. It is harmless if you can tolerate that green patina. Sometimes people find it attractive rather than disturbing.

Copper oxidation happens in bronze finishes. The green patina is sometimes a choice but very often a burden. As for other oxidation materials, copper is moderately active.

To clean oil rubbed bronze faucet that turns green, you can use any of the methods we described. It’s recommended to start with the least strong materials as they’ll have the least chance to damage your faucet.

But if the green patina has formed for a long period, it might be harder to remove entirely. That’s why we’ve provided other stronger options to go for.

Ensure to always clean the bronze fixture to avoid turning green and retain its color. The oil-rubbed bronze faucet is easy to clean. So do it regularly.

It is important to disinfect your oil-scrubbing faucet once you have cleaned it so that you can protect it and extend its life span as indicated above. Refinishing the faucet occasionally is also important to maintain its shine and color.

Lisa Burks

This is Lisa Burks, the Author. I provide free informative sink and faucet guides. I hope you love your time here.

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