Garden cement art pieces add that fairy tale and whimsical aspect to your garden. Over time as the art piece is exposed to the outdoor elements, a vintage element can be added to the art piece. Sometimes though, cleaning the art piece is required to remove harmful elements that can seek to destroy its beauty instead of enhancing it.
Cleaning your cement garden art requires some elbow grease and time to get it right. With this in mind, the cleaning ingredients may vary depending on the current state, location of the art piece, what stained it, and what environment it is located in.
Places on the art piece may require a specific cleaning agent to remove and restore it to its former glory. The process may require a simple cleaning using only home kitchen soap and water; in other instances, the cleaning process may use concrete mold remover to extract the mold from the statue. You may also need to completely repaint or reseal the piece when cleaning and drying it.
Before embarking on cleaning the piece, assess the condition. This will allow you to gather the right ingredients and tools to do the job. It may seem like an extra step, but it will save you time to plan.
Below we will briefly describe the different scenarios you might be dealing with when cleaning your garden concrete pieces and give you a remedy for each situation.
How To Clean Moss and Mildew From Concrete Statues.
Cleaning the surface of the cement art piece is essential to remove any loose dirt, debris, mold, and mildew buildup from the piece. While cleaning, be gentle with the cement to avoid chipping, cracking, or even breaking. This is the opportunity to inspect your art piece for any cracks or breaks you need to repair later. Moss is typically on the surface and can be removed easily by following the steps below.
Use your garden hose to shower or mist the statue with water gently. Avoid using power washers due to the strength and power of the stream of water that can damage your piece.
Avoid using a harsh bristled brush when scrubbing the piece, as this will create small ridges or microcracks that will later result in a significant problem. Use a soft cloth or a sponge when cleaning the surface. You can use your hand to feel cracks and remove surface debris.
Mix the water with dish soap before scrubbing the surface to ensure an even consistency. Be careful not to use harsh soap that can harm your concrete. Your standard dish soap is sufficient to get the job done.
Once the scrubbing is done, ensure the soap is sufficiently removed from the surface, and no bubbles are left. Have the piece dry in a warm place for at least 24 hours. The concrete needs to be set on a dry surface, not on a wet surface where water can wick through the concrete on the bottom, up into the piece.
Once it is completely dry, you can assess if it needs to be cleaned more, repainted, or resealed.
How To Clean Concrete Statues Before Painting.
In certain instances, your cement art may need to have a new paint job. Over time the old paint may need to be touched up or replaced to restore the art piece to its original beauty.
Here are the steps to follow to remove old paint from your concrete art piece:
Use a coarse brush (Not coarse enough to scratch up your piece) to remove any loose bits of dirt or paint. You want the bristles to bend about halfway when wet. If they don’t turn, it is too coarse. If they bend entirely flat, it is too soft.
Next, use a soft, dry cloth to help remove any bits still stuck on. Microfiber works amazingly well, but you can also use soft, disposable shop towels or an old washcloth or t-shirt.
You then want to use a paint remover (Preferably soy based) on any parts you want to repaint/repair. Soy-based paint strippers are better at removing the paint while not compromising the concrete.
Make sure to slather it on; if you put it on too thinly, you will have to do this step again.
After your cleaner says to wait (Typically a few hours), use a throw-away rag to wipe down your piece.
Finally, wash your piece with water, a gentle soap, and a soft rag.
How To Clean Concrete Statues Before Repairing Cracks and Chipping.
When cleaning damaged pieces, you need to be extra careful not to make the damage worse. First, gently clean the entire piece with a bowl of water and gentle dish soap. Use a soft cloth to rub any loose pieces of dirt or paint off the piece.
Next, use a soft paintbrush to knock loose any pieces that will fall off in the near future. Rinse the entire piece until the water runs clear with no bubbles. If you need to use a mold remover, now is the time. Allow the piece to dry completely for 24 hours in a warm, dry place.
Check to see if you got all the loose pieces off. If not, then repeat the process.
When is the best time to clean your art?
There are several factors to consider when deciding when to clean your piece. If you see your piece needs to be cleaned when taking it out of storage in spring or when putting it away for the winter, you can clean it if you can keep it indoors for at least a week after washing it.
Water permeates the surface when you clean the statue, which can cause further damage if it is subjected to freezing temperatures. Since water expands when it freezes, it can break your piece from the inside out.
If you want to be able to clean your piece and leave it outside, then the middle of the summer, with a few days of no rain, is the best time. Make sure to clean it on a clean, solid surface and be able to move it to a warm, dry location to dry.
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