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How to Clean A Headstone at a Cemetery

How to Clean A Headstone at a Cemetery

How to Clean A Headstone at a Cemetery

Cleaning a loved one’s headstone is a great way to honor them after they’ve passed. But how do you clean a headstone?

Robison Funeral Home is here to provide some helpful tips on how to clean a headstone so you can make sure you’re loved one is remembered.

General Cleaning Steps

Although the type of headstone can impact the best way to approach cleaning it, some general steps apply to all headstones. Below, we’ll lay out the three basic steps involved in cleaning every headstone. Later, we’ll look at specific techniques for the different types.

Step #1: Assess and Prepare

The first step in any cleaning process is to examine the condition of the object being cleaned. For headstones, you want to look for any signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, or flaking areas. If there’s damage to the headstone, consult a professional so that any needed repairs can be performed.

If the headstone isn’t damaged, you can prepare for the cleaning process. When you go to the cemetery, bring standard cleaning supplies with you. For headstones, you’ll want a soft-bristle brush, distilled water, and a pH-neutral soap.

Step #2: Soap and Water

To begin the cleaning process, wet the headstone thoroughly with distilled water. This will create a barrier that will prevent soap from absorbing directly into the stone. As stone is porous, it would otherwise absorb the cleaner, which could lead to discoloration.

With the headstone wet, apply a small amount of pH-neutral soap to your soft-bristle brush. Abrasive cleaners and stiff brushes can damage the stone, so make sure you’ve brought the right equipment.

Step #3: Gentle Scrubbing and Rinsing

Next, gently scrub the headstone with a soapy brush. Scrub with a circular motion, taking care to spend extra time on the visibly dirty areas. This will ensure that the stone is cleaned uniformly.

Once you’ve finished scrubbing the dirt off, rinse the headstone thoroughly with distilled water. Take extra care to remove all soap residue from the surface to avoid chemical damage to the stone.

Cleaning a Granite Headstone

Granite is one of the more durable stones a headstone can be made out of. The material is less porous, which makes it easier to clean. If you find that your initial cleaning still leaves some tough stains, you can find cleaners designed specifically for granite. Avoid acidic cleaners as they can etch into the granite surface.

Granite can sometimes develop growth on it, like lichens. When these are too stubborn to remove with a brush and cleaner, they can be gently picked off with a wooden or plastic scraper.

After thoroughly rinsing the cleaned headstone, dry it as well as you can to help prevent streaks.

Cleaning a Marble Headstone

Marble is more porous than granite, which can make it harder to clean. It’s also more sensitive to acids, making it extra important to avoid acidic cleaners. Instead, you can remove stubborn stains from the material using a poultice made from baking soda and water. Apply the poultice to the stone, cover it with plastic wrap for 24 hours, and then rinse it off.

Marble can develop stains that become ingrained into the stone’s surface. Regular cleaning can prevent this from happening.

Cleaning a Limestone Headstone

In some ways, limestone is much like marble. It’s also a porous material that’s highly sensitive to acidic cleaners. Like marble, you can use a poultice of baking soda and water to clean it.

One area where limestone differs from marble is that it’s prone to erosion. This means you should limit how often you clean the stone to prevent unwarranted wear of the stone. When you do clean, take extra care to be gentle.

Contact Us Today To Learn More About Our Services

Robinson Funeral Home offers a full range of end-of-life services, including cremation, a cemetery, and burial services. To see how we’ll work with you to honor your loved one best, contact us today to find out more.

Image Credits: vyasphoto/Shutterstock