After many years, headstones often accumulate dirt, mold, lichen, or moss. Porous stones are especially prone to fungus growth. If a loved one’s grave stone is in need of cleaning, you may be wondering if you can do it yourself. The answer is yes—if you familiarize yourself with the right methods. Below, McGee Monuments in Rochester, NY, provides advice for cleaning and preserving grave markers:
Soft Stones: Limestone, Sandstone, & Marble
These are the most porous of the natural stones used to make grave markers. Soft and easy to carve, they’re very popular. However, they are also fragile and prone to mold and lichen growth. The safest products to use on these grave stones include non-ionic soaps, soft-bristled brushes, and water. Do not use wire brushes, pressure washers, sealants, or any abrasive cleaner.
Hard Stones: Granite
This is one of the hardest headstone materials available, and can thus withstand slightly harsher scrubbing techniques. It is also safe to use pressure washers on granite monuments, provided the monument is not cracked or fractured—but do not use pressure washers on colored engravings, as this will fade the coloring. To remove calcium deposits, the experts recommend gently rubbing the affected area with a cuttlebone.
Bronze Funeral Monuments
Many grave stones include bronze components, such as plaques and engravings, which can become tarnished over time from standing water and debris. To clean this part of a headstone, gently scrub it using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mild soap. Regular maintenance will help preserve the finish.
Remember, before you clean a grave stone, always get permission from the lot owner first. If you’re not the next-of-kin, notify that person, too.
If you’re looking for a unique headstone, consider McGee Monuments. They have been locally owned and operated since 1900, and have over 100 designs to choose from. For questions, give them a call at (585) 546-4602. More information about their memorials and funeral monuments are available on their website.