In humid places, moss as well as mold often forms over various surfaces. Since cement garden statues and bird baths are exposed to elements as well outdoor weather conditions, moss and mildew are bound to build up on these already weathered structures.
How to Clean Cement Garden Statues?
An outdoor garden statue can be cleaned once a week if the area you reside in isn’t too dusty or polluted otherwise the statue might need more frequent cleaning (such as twice or thrice a week)
1- Plastic sheets or Tarp
2- Paint brush / Soft brush
3- Spray bottle
5- Mug+Bucket or Garden hose
6- Dish soap
7- Chlorine bleach (1 cup) or Mold Remover or Vinegar or Washing Soda
8- Sponge (Optional)
9- Outdoor concrete Sealer (Optional)
If it rained recently or for some other reasons, the statue is wet, wait until it is dry.
STEP 1- Before beginning, inspect the whole statues thoroughly for any damages (such as fractures). If you find any make a mental note of them as you would need to be extra gentle while cleaning those parts.
STEP 2- This is an optional step but use it if you want to save your grass or vegetation that is in immediate vicinity of your garden statue.
If the statue is small enough to be carried, take it to some place such as your garage or a bricked surface, for cleaning.
If it is not possible to carry the statues, lay plastic sheets or tarp on the ground encircling the statue. Spread the sheets as far as you think the water can go while rinsing.
STEP 3- Use a dry paint brush or any soft brush to clean the surface dust, debris, loose bird droppings and dead leaves from the statue.
However, those dusting brushes for indoor statues are usually quite small and fine to be used on small statues but if your garden statues are big in size, a bigger sized brush is needed to get the surface dust off.
STEP 4- Fill a spray bottle with clean water and wet the statue with this. We’re not using any pressure washer here as cement statues can be delicate and easily crack or break the fine detailing of your cement statue.
You can also simply pour water (gently) using a mug drawn from a bucket or use garden hose with a gentle shower until the statue is completely drenched.
STEP 5- Mix 1 cup of dish soap (such as dawn) and half a cup of household bleach in a bowl of hot water and mix the solution thoroughly.
Note: You only need to use bleach is there is evidence of mold & moss on the cement statue, otherwise add a cup of vinegar or 4 tablespoons of washing soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the dish soap. However, there is mold sometimes on the surface that cannot be easily seen with the eyes.
Alternatively, you can also use a mold remover (that works on concrete surfaces) or a concrete cleaner (that kills mold and mildew).
Here is a summary:
|Mold Present||Mold Not Present|
|Option 1- Dish soap (1 cup) + Chlorine bleach (1 cup)|
Option 2- Mold Remover for Concrete
|Option 1- Dish soap (1 cup) + Vinegar (1 cup)|
Option 2- Dish soap (1 cup) + 4 tablespoons of Washing Soda
STEP 6- Use soft brush to apply this soapy bleach solution or mold remover to the cement garden statue. Scrub as thoroughly (but not too hard) as you can. You can use a sponge to scrub as well. A sponge does not get into the crevices and detailings of the statue; there toothbrush is more useful.
STEP 7- Let the solution sit on the statue for 2-3 minutes (or as per the recommended time of the manufacturer, if using a mold remover) and then pour some clean water to rinse down the soap. Give a final scrub before rinsing fully.
STEP 8- Finally, use a garden hose (gentle spray) or water drawn from a bucket to rinse the soapy bleachy solution / mold remover off the cement statue. You should keep rinsing the statue until you can smell bleach.
Caution: If the garden statue is placed directly over the grass or amid plants, any bleach that comes in contact with the vegetation will kill it.
STEP 9- After the smell of chlorine is gone, you can let the statue to air dry naturally.
Optional Step- To protect the outdoor cement statue from cracking in winters and from other deteriorating effects of weather (such as chipping or breaking), you need to seal the statue with an outdoor concrete sealer.
These sealers are designed to penetrate the pores of cement and prevent moisture from entering inside and freezing (this freezing is the actual cause of the cement expanding and cracking). Moss will also grow less on the sealed cement surface.
1- The ideal time for deep cleaning your garden statues is when it isn’t cold outside. In cold temperatures, the moisture from cleaning will get into the cement statue and freeze, causing expansion of statue and resultant cracking.
2- You should never use metallic brushes on cement statues as those will leave residues in the material which will later rust. Another reason of not using these brushes is that they can easily scratch and damage the statue. In the colder months, you can move the statue inside to prevent it from the cracking.