How To Darken Oil Rubbed Bronze In Multiple Ways?

Oil-rubbed bronze has been a popular finish for furniture for many years. It’s offered in many products and there are many ways to apply it. One of the most popular applications is a spray-on product that creates a dark, metallic finish.

But over time, this finish can become dull and lose its sheen. This blog will give you tips and techniques to restore the luster of a dull oil-rubbed finish.

This blog is going to look at the different ways in which an oil rubbed bronze finish can be darkened. Oil rubbed bronze is a very classic finish, but it can look a bit too shiny.

Fortunately, we can darken it after we have put it on. Here is a list of the different ways in which we can darken the oil rubbed bronze finish.

Preparing and Cleaning:

Before applying any method on bronze, make sure to dip it in lacquer thinner for some minutes, which ensures even coating and even darkening of bronze.

Most of the darkening products do not work on lacquered bronze; this is why you should always use unlacquered it before applying any aging method on bronze so that it works effectively. Read these steps carefully on how to unlacquered bronze.

Step 1:

If possible, detach the pieces of bronze from furniture, etc. Then take them to an open place where you can perform the upcoming processes efficiently.

Step 2:

Now, prepare the lacquer thinner according to the given directions if it is not ready to use the formula. Soak the bronze in this solution for one to two hours.

If the bronze object is more significant and cannot be dipped, then dip some clothes/rags in this solution and wrap them around the big bronze object, securing them pp with tapes.

Step 3:

Take the bronze pieces out of the lacquer thinner and start scrubbing them until they are clean. Rinse them with water and let them dry. After this, choose the darkening method of your choice. Chemical and natural/household methods are both given in this article.

Chemical Methods To Darken Bronze

Following are some chemical methods of darkening oil rubbed bronze. These bronze aging products can be found at local stores and online stores.

1- Metal Darkener

Metal darkener is an easy-to-go option for giving your bronze that classic-aged look. It comes in different colors, which provide different looks to the bronze.

You can easily choose the color of your desire with a metal darkener. This process is quick and easy and promises a good result! Follow the steps carefully for a 100% result.

Step 1:

Read the package directions carefully and apply the metal darkener on your bronze according to your desired color for bronze. a. Brown color produces a subtle look, while black gives a rusty look.

Step 2:

After the first coat is dried, keep applying more coats until you get your desired color. You can buff the bronze between the coats with steel wool or stiff brush if mentioned in the package’s directions.

Step 3:

In the final step, clean the bronze with a damp cloth to remove dust, etc. Then, for protecting the new finish, apply a thin layer of polyurethane; this also gives a nice shine to your bronze. Now, let it dry completely. After drying, you can finally move your bronze.

2- Oil Rubbed Bronze Touch Up Paint

It helps to hide the scratches and other flaws on bronze and gives you a pleasant and dark finish. You can paint this on bronze or only the faded/faulty areas of bronze to make it darker.

There are a lot of oil-rubbed touch-up paints in the market. Before buying, make sure to do your proper research, as the quality of bronze differs from product to product.

Follow the simple steps to get that dark-colored bronze.

Step 1:

Firstly, take a cloth and damp it slightly. Now, rub this damp cloth on bronze thoroughly to get off the dust particles. Then let it dry.

Step 2:

Ensure to wear gloves before doing this process so that your skin is safe from the harshness of the chemicals used in paint.

Step 3:

Open the touch-up paint. And paint the bronze with its built-in paintbrush built in the lid. Apply a thin layer because that is enough for a dark color. Now let it dry, and it will take no more time than 10-12 minutes.

Step 4:

Once when it is dried, it is ready to be used!

3- Bronze aging solution

If you are looking for something practical yet reusable, then the bronze aging solution can be your best choice! Read the steps to find out how?

Step 1:

Most of the directions on the package state that it can only work on unlacquered metals. Make sure to put it in lacquered thinner for some minutes. Then dry, and your bronze is ready to be dipped in bronze aging solution.

Step 1:

Start with wearing gloves as the chemicals are very harsh.

Step 2:

Now, find a large glass or plastic container for pouring the aging solution into. Please do not use a metal container because the metal can react with the key and go wrong.

Step 3:

Pour enough of the solution into the container and put the bronze in it.

Step 4:

Now, grab some non-metallic thing to move the bronze around so that it has darkened evenly. Let it darken a little more than you desire because it lightens in the next step.

Step 5:

Now take the bronze out of the solution and wash it with cold water to stop the process. This step lightens the bronze a little.

Step 6:

Grab some mineral oil and rub it over the freshly darkened bronze to give it a shiny look.

Step 7:

In the end, pour back the solution in its bottle because it can be reused.

If you choose an excellent bronze aging solution, the dark bronze can last for years.

4- Selenious acid:

Another chemical method of darkening oil rubbed bronze effectively is using selenious acid. Selenious acid is used to darken brass, copper, and bronze. It is crystalline solid, white sand-like.


Make sure to put the bronze in lacquer thinner for some time so that the chemical can work well on it.

It is a very harsh acid, so make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves while handling it. And be very careful in the whole procedure.

Use a glass container because a metal container can react with the acid.

Dilute the acid as per the package’s direction if needed.

Using concentrated selenious acid to darken oil rubbed bronze can be harsh on the metal. After your desired color of bronze is achieved, let it air dry, and then you can use it.

Home Remedies For Darkening Oil Rubbed Bronze

Were you looking for tips and tricks to darken oil-rubbed bronze with home ingredients? If yes, then the method below will definitely help you. Be sure to read all the steps carefully and always use gloves while doing the process. You can select any method of your choice.

Cleaning And Preparing:

The first step is to clean the bronze thoroughly so that our home remedies for making oil-rubbed bronze can work effectively on it.

  • Wear gloves before you hold bronze. This will prevent the oils etc., from your fingers to reach bronze and preventing corrosion. Some metals are already waxed at the time of manufacturing, but you still need to be careful with handling them.
  • Clean the bronze thoroughly with a soft cloth to avoid dust or debris on bronze.
  • Pour mineral spirit on a clean cloth and rub it over bronze. Keep massaging in a circular motion so that if there is any grease, it gets removed. For narrow parts of the bronze, wrap the mineral spirit cloth over a toothpick and clean. Now let this dry.

Another vital point to keep in mind is that if your bronze is lacquered, this trick will not work on it. So make sure to put it in lacquer thinner for some minutes before further steps.

Vinegar And Salt Solution

This is a straightforward yet effective method. These ingredients are in every kitchen, so let’s get started!

The list of things that you’ll need for darkening bronze are:

  • Household vinegar, white, red wine, white wine, or even apple cider vinegar, they’ll all work just fine!
  • Salt
  • Container with a tight lid
  • Paintbrush
  • Steel/wire cloth


Step 1:

Pour the vinegar Into your container. Try to use plastic or glass containers.

Step 2:

Add some pinches of salt. There’s no exact measurement for the salt and just add a few bits. Now stir it with something until the salt dissolves in vinegar.

Step 3:

Now, dip the paintbrush in the solution of vinegar and salt and brush it over the bronze that you want to darken.

Step 4:

Once the bronze object is painted with the solution, put it in the container where the answer is and cover it with its tight lid.

Step 5:

Please keep it for some hours in the solution, and our recommendation will be to keep changing the sides so that it darkens evenly and one area is not darker than the other.

Step 6:

Keep checking for the desired color. According to your wish, take it out of the container when it is dark enough.

Step 7:

Rinse it thoroughly under cold water and let it dry. If you are unhappy with some areas turning very dark, give a buff with a wire brush or wire wool.

Vinegar, Lemon Juice, and Household Bleach Solution:

This remedy is also straightforward to follow and gives a promising result. Read the steps and directions carefully for getting guaranteed results.

Things you’ll need for this remedy:

  1. Vinegar (dilute the vinegar with a little bit of water if it is solid)
  2. Lemon juice
  3. Household bleach
  4. Salt
  5. A tight lid container
  6. Stiff brush/steel wool
  7. Polyurethane


Step 1:

Wear safety gloves as a precaution before doing this process, as household bleach may harm your skin.

Step 2:

Next, mix an equal amount of vinegar, household bleach, and lemon juice. If you mix 2 ounces of vinegar, 2 ounces of household bleach, and 2 ounces of lemon juice, add one tablespoon of salt.

Similarly, if you take 4 ounces of each (lemon juice, vinegar, and household bleach), this makes 12 ounces, and you have to use two tablespoons of salt. And repeat the same measurement if you intend to make a greater amount.

Step 3:

Try to use a plastic or glass container for this procedure. The container must have a tight lid.

Step 4:

Before dipping the bronze in this solution, make sure it has no dust or grease because the process will not work very well if the bronze is not cleaned well.

Step 5:

Dip the bronze in this bronze aging solution for some time. (The time depends on how dark you want the bronze to get)

Step 6:

Keep changing the sides from time to time with a tong so that equal darkness is acquired at all sides.

Step 7:

Once the desired color is achieved, take it out of this homemade bronze aging solution and rinse it thoroughly underwater to stop the process. You can use steel wool or a stiff brush to buff off some areas for a unique finish look.

Step 8:

Let it dry and apply a thin layer of polyurethane for a nice shine. (Optional step)


You may want to darken the oil rubbed bronze of your special accessories in order to match the other pieces of furniture that are in the room or to bring out the shine of your lamp.

It’s a fact of life: no metal lasts forever. Even though you take care of your metal products, there are a few ways that you can accidentally darken your Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Thankfully, there are a few ways for you to fix it and make your metal shine like new again. Check out the solutions we recommend below! Moreover, these procedures are actually very easy to do, and you can do it with just a few household items.

We hope that you will be able to use this information to darken your oil rubbed bronze so that you can enjoy the piece for many years to come.

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