Tips To Clean Up Your Outdoor Statues

From cherub statues to bird baths, there are a lot of ornamental options that may best accentuate your garden. After all, there are several reasons that one may choose to place outdoor lawn ornaments, statues, and water features — to memorialize a significant person such as with an angel statue, add character to your garden, or honor a cultural tradition, to name just a few examples. Unfortunately, these outdoor statues are also vulnerable to dirt, debris, and mold that can invade our lawns and gardens. Depending on what material your outdoor statues are made out of, however, there are a few ways to go about cleaning them to look as good as new. 

Since outdoor statues are made from a variety of materials, it's important to start by identifying yours to determine the best cleaning process. For example, stone-like figures are typically made from polyresin or cement, while wood is another option for outdoor pieces. While you may gently spray statues made of polyresin, cement, and wood with a garden hose to remove surface-level debris, marble and bronze statues are susceptible to damage if sprayed with a garden hose. Therefore, those materials require a much gentler protocol. While these outdoor statues can create a zen ambience in your yard, learning how to care for them is an essential part of maintaining their aesthetic. 

Clean the surface of outdoor statues with dish soap and water

You'll want to prepare for the job of cleaning outdoor statues by gathering the following materials: a garden hose, soft cloth, and dish soap. Depending on the statue's material, you may also want to use bleach, a soft bristle brush, and weatherproofing sealant. To start, use lukewarm water to spray or wipe the statue clean. Once you've removed any surface-level debris, apply a dollop of dish soap to the statue or rag to scrub off any lingering dirt. Be sure not to brush too harshly if you use a soft bristle brush — use a firm but gentle grip to make short strides across each section of the statue. 

If the weather is warm, you may allow the statue to air dry overnight. During colder weather, gently wipe the statue clean to ensure water droplets don't freeze overnight.

For mold and mildew (which outdoor statues are quick to harbor), the protocol is slightly different. For starters, you'll want to mix 3 quarts of warm water, 1 quart of bleach, and ⅓ cup of dish soap to create a sudsy solution that you'll use to wash the statue. Use your rag or soft bristle brush to make circular motions across the statue, opting for a toothbrush to reach delicate cracks and crevices. Once the statue has been cleaned, use a garden hose or wet rag to wash off any remaining soap.

Protect outdoor statues with weatherproofing sealant

Like most items around the outside of your home, outdoor statues require upkeep if you want to prevent future issues. One way to do this is by weatherproofing — the process of making certain materials resistant to water, rain, and any additional environmental damage. This is a great way to protect outdoor statues if there are often harsh weather conditions where you live.

Depending on the material your outdoor statue is made of, a concrete, marble, or wood sealant can help protect the product at hand. Wait until the statue is completely dry before going in with a coat of your selected sealant. Finish the project by rubbing a wax seal across the statue to prevent rust and add a shiny top coat. 

You'll want to keep an eye on your outdoor statues since it's natural for them to get dirty, rusty, and corroded over time. For example, start each season by inspecting the area around your outdoor decor and ensuring that there are no water, weeds, or debris collecting around the area. On days when the weather is unpredictable, placing a protective wrapping — such as burlap — on top of each statue will lessen the effects of rain, wind, and snow. As long as you remain vigilant, your outdoor statues shouldn't be cause for worry.