How to Clean a Gravestone
When your loved one is resting in a cemetery, you are likely to maintain that gravestone throughout your life. It is a way of showing your love for the person even when they aren’t with you. Maintaining their grave is what seems to be heartfelt actions for being there.
And the biggest part of maintaining a grave is to clean the gravestone completely defining. If you find it dirty, you can follow the below-stated steps in order to reinstate to its original way.
- Create a Plan
Firstly, devising an informative plan is the most crucial step to follow in order to maintain your loved one’s gravestone. Take a notebook and a pen and start jotting down how and when you want to start doing this. Creating a plan properly will make it easy to follow it accurately.
- Jot down all the items you need in order to clean the gravestone.
- Write down all the steps you need to follow so that you don’t miss out on any of the steps and you can do it correctly.
- Know how to start with the process when you create the plan by gathering all the important facts.
- Gather All the Necessary Information
Even when you’re doing this with the love you have for the loved one, knowing all the necessary facts and information is really necessary so as to not mess it up. It’s safe to proceed with all facts handy and knowing where it can or cannot go wrong. Therefore, the process must start only when you’re aware of all the pros and cons.
- Firstly, examine the gravestone thoroughly and look for the problems it has.
- Look out if there is any severe physical damage too, like breaks or bumps on the gravestone.
- Knowing the accurate issues will find you very particular solutions that will make your cleaning process better.
- Check for the Nature of Gravestone
First, you need to assess whether the stone needs the cleaning you’re thinking of providing or not. You might misinterpret the sign of aging as dirt or grime. Different types of gravestones, age differently, sometimes they just fade over time and it might look like it is dirty and require cleaning. Make sure of its natural features first.
- If you’re a conservationist, stay away from intense harsh cleaning chemicals, it could potentially damage the stone more and other materials in the gravestone might fade.
- Do not clean the stone just because you honor your loved one. Assess if it really needs the cleaning, if not you can find other ways to honor.
- If there’s some dirt by mud or other natural aspects, then it is okay to clean. But if there are other marks which don’t seem to go away easily, opt for other materials.
- Get Hold of Everything
Once you’ve done the necessary inspection and assessed its nature, you know what all is the requirement for this process. Make a list of all the materials and products you need.
- Take necessary materials like brush and cloth pieces in order to clean the gravestone.
- Make a list of chemicals that you require for much tougher stains. You might also go for homemade DIY solutions if you don’t want all chemicals.
- Beware of Ionic
Ionic has the tendency to damage the gravestone in a longer period of time. While cleaning the gravestone you might not notice anything, but in a few days ionic being a harsh ingredient might result in affecting the gravestone negatively and might lose all the efforts you made on cleaning it.
- Buy yourself a non-ionic cleanser; time and weather affect the pristine effect of the gravestone.
- Harsh chemicals with ionic in them might damage the stones, so using a mild chemical cleanser seems to be a better option.
- You can buy non-ionic soaps, which do not contain harsh salts or ionic traces in it.
- You must read the labels of your purchased products very carefully to ensure that they are non-ionic.
- Remove Growth
The first thing you ought to do is identify if apart from dirt and deposits is there any growth on the gravestone. Since the gravestones are exposed to nature’s elements, growth is completely normal. Especially lichen, which is very common.
- Lichen is similar to the fungi as a living organism. They are present with many different traits including colors such as grey, yellow or green.
- Ammonia mixture is used in order to remove lichen from the gravestone. You need to combine four parts of water with one part of ammonia.
- Marble Gravestone
Marble gravestones fade a lot over time when released in nature’s elements. To clean them, you will have to use very mild products and materials. Harsher products affect marble negatively.
- You must carry cotton pads and clean rags of clothes; you won’t need harsh brushes or stuff.
- Baking soda is the product you must abide by in order to clean marble gravestones.
- Homemade DIY solutions work best on the marble gravestones, as they are mild; a thorough cleaning with mild products is all it needs.
- Granite Gravestones
Granite is one of the most popular materials for gravestones. If your loved one rests under such gravestone it is a good feeling for them. These are abundant and they come in a variety of colors. They also weather very slowly as compared to other kinds of marble stones.
- Ammonia, vinegar, or lemon cleaners must not be used while cleaning a granite gravestone, it dulls its shine.
- Firstly, excess debris needs to be removed and then the initial washing must be done by soapy water, and then the need to use chemicals must be assessed.
Sometimes, the natural work is all that is needed in order to clean the gravestones. If there’s mild dirt and mildews over the gravestone, then the snails can do wonders for it. Just snails can do all that is required to clean up the gravestone of your loved one.
- It is the most environment-friendly method to clean the gravestone.
- Snails consume the material that is stuck up on the gravestones, various living organisms like lichens and mold and fungus are eaten by the snails.
- Polyethylene can be used to cover the stones and should be weighed down by the pieces of wood. Creating a small tent on the gravestone helps.
- Then in the dotting prepared, collect the snails from around the ground and leave them in.
- Take Opinions
It never harms anybody to take second opinions. Given the fact that you want to clean your loved one gravestone, it’s really important that you take second opinions about their plan and processes.
- Ask ones who have done the same about how it can be done.
- Check online on various websites about the products that you want to use are safe and do not presume any more harm to the gravestone.
- Maintain Records
It is really important for you to keep track about what, how and when you’re doing when it comes to maintaining your loved one’s gravestones. Such maintenance of the records helps in keeping track of each and every step that is done by you.
- Keep a track of the date you’ve cleaned the gravestones, this helps in knowing when next you should clean it.
- Keeping a track of products makes it easier for the next time to clean the gravestone.
- It saves time and makes it efficient from acquiring products to putting it in use.
- General Cleansing
Sometimes all that is required is to do some basic cleaning in order to clean the gravestone. There are some very basic homemade DIY to clean the gravestone generally and with very mild homemade substances.
- Soapy water and puffs are the best combinations to remove dirt from the gravestone.
- You can mix lemon with red soap, this helps in immediate cleaning of tough stains from the gravestones.
- Water-Based Stains
Water-based stains are very rigid and slippery stains. They do not require any harsh chemicals. But they must be treated with products that are only ionic free products. Water-based stains might also lead to rust stains. Sponges and nonmetallic scrub pads are the best materials to use for cleaning the slippery algae off.
- Mixing one part of baking soda, with one part of distilled water helps in removing the water stains.
- No ammonia or lemon should be used in combination with the baking soda as it may fizz up the stains and lead to much worse stains.
- Mold and Mildew Stains
They are live, growing and living organisms that attach themselves to the gravestone and start withering it out one by one. Their smell is pungent and rigid. But fortunately, cleaning them off from the gravestones is relatively easy.
- You need a clean bucket with 4 parts of hydrogen peroxide and 4 parts of water in it.
- Make sure you use protective gloves as hydrogen peroxide can harm the hands. Using a soft-bristled brush helps in cleaning the gravestones well.
- Later, one clean fiber-free white cloth must be used to dry the gravestones clean.
- Rust Stains
You should clean the rust stones the way it is needed. How often it is required to clean the rust stains depends on the natural environment. The more moisture in the weather, the more prone it becomes for the gravestones to grow rust stains.
- You need four liters of water and iron removal poultice and mix them together until a peanut butter consistency is attained.
- You then need to apply the paste on the stains and leave it aside for half an hour till it does its own work on the gravestone.
- Later remove it with a scrubber by mildly rubbing it. And clean it with water. You will also need masking tape to keep the paste in its place on the gravestone.
Debris on the gravestones is very common and it is very easy to deal with the debris on them. To prevent debris built on the gravestones you need to dry clean it first and then you’re supposed to use the wet products over it.
- First, uses a washcloth to dry-clean wipe the gravestone. This will put out all the dried-out debris from the gravestone.
- Then cleaning it with soapy water gives it all the help it needs. Pour the bucket of soapy water on the gravestone and wipe it clean.
- Check Local Laws
Checking local laws with the graveyard is really important in order to not break any. Sometimes, some graveyard has definite rules regarding visits and cleaning and what and what not to do with the particular gravestone.
- Read all the terms and conditions before you put your loved one’s gravestone in their graveyard.
- Specifically read about the terms in context to the cleaning and maintenance of the gravestones in order to know all about what you can do and what not.
- Swear Off
There are some specific materials and products that you must completely swear off from. Using even a little amount of those might prove very dangerous for the maintenance of the gravestones. You can get knowledge of such products from experts.
- Ionic products should definitely be seared off.
- Any solution must not involve granular calcium hypochlorite mix; it withers out the gravestones in the natural environment.
- Regular Checks
The regular checks over the gravestone are very important so it doesn’t get difficult each time to take on cleaning the gravestone. The more regularly you keep tabs on it, the better you can maintain it. Generally, a period of 18 months is followed for keeping the gravestone clean.
- You can reach out to the local authorities and time your visitations with them.
- Even they can keep a tab on your gravestone and let you know its status from time to time.
- Make sure to inform them about your cleaning method and frequency for a particular stone.
Once you finish your cleaning, for maintenance of the gravestone the decorations play an important part too. After cleaning, it must look alive always as it will make you and you lived one feel loved and cared for. Decorations must not be too much.
- Flowers are the basic decorating material and it gives a sweet smell to the gravestone.
- Leaving them on the headstone on their birthdays, anniversaries and especially nice to be done.
- Momentums can also be left.
- Know Who is it for
The decorations must depend on the factor of how the gravestone is for. Every individual deserves a different decoration, the one that can resemble the one beneath it.
- If it is for a child, you might decorate it with balloons and toys.
- If it is for an adult you might put up stuff that portrays them and their choices, if they are a cricket fan you could put a cricket bat.
- Try to make sure that you add a personal touch to the decorations over the gravestone.
- Take Environment into Account
Lastly, the kind of gravestone you use should always be considered giving the environmental factors around you. Weather affects the gravestones a lot.
- You must not use bronze gravestones in the moisture or tropical environments.
- If the place is really hot and dry then, marble stones are a positive choice.
- And when it comes to cold and wet areas, granite stones can be used effectively.
- Use Bacteriostatic Compounds
Bacteriostatic compounds can prove to be a boon for cleaning gravestones. Inhibit the growth of bacteria and hence you can use them in cleaning gravestones.
- You should use bacteriostatic compounds after checking which microbes are growing over the gravestones.
- They are non-corrosive and safe to use over gravestones.
- Bacteriostatic helps in keeping the gravestones dirt free even after cleaning since they inhibit the growth of bacteria.
- Bacteriostatic compounds can help prevent the decomposition of organic matter over gravestones.
- You can use them as an effective method of prophylaxis.
- Use Bactericidal Compounds
Bactericidal compounds are a step above bacteriostatic compounds as they actively kill the bacteria and hence, they are extremely useful while cleaning gravestones.
- Bactericidal compounds will eliminate the bacteria present over the gravestone.
- They are generally broad-spectrum and end up killing a wide variety of bacteria.
- This stops decomposition which is happening over gravestones and helps in stopping the degradation of gravestones.
- You can use them in combination with bacteriostatic compounds to provide long term prevention from gravestone degradation by microbes.
- Use Fungicidal Compounds
Fungus actively starts to grow over gravestones since they provide a good substratum and organic matter starts to accumulate over them after a few weeks.
- You can use fungicidal compounds to actively kill the various species of fungi growing over the gravestone.
- It can help in making the overall procedure of cleaning easier since a reduction in fungal growth will lead to reduced organic matter fixation.
- Fungicidal compounds can help in removing the fungal component of microbes growing over the gravestones.
- You can use these compounds in adjunction to bactericidal compounds to reduce the entire microbial load over gravestones.
- Take Climate into Account
While picking the best method to clean gravestones, make sure you assess the climate of the region. The climate of the region dictates which methods will be effective and which ones won’t be.
- Different microbes and bacteria grow in different climates and hence it is important to factor in climate while choosing the right method.
- Climate affects the pace, mode, and method of degradation of gravestones.
- Climate dictates how much organic matter accumulates over the gravestones.
- Rainfall and other environmental factors that spoil gravestones vary based on climate.
- Avoid Using Synthetic Chemicals
While cleaning gravestones, it is important to not use synthetic chemicals. Synthetic chemicals can damage the gravestones.
- Can be corrosive to the gravestones and hence can spoil them.
- Synthetic chemicals that are excessively strong can permanently damage the gravestone.
- Can also harm the user if they are used improperly or carelessly.
- Consider Using Citric Acid
Citric acid is a popular cleaning agent that a lot of people use to clean gravestones. You can easily get it from citrus fruits such as lemon.
- You can use citric acid mixed with some water as an effective cleaner for gravestones since it has mild oxidative properties and can attack dirt.
- It is non-corrosive and you can use it liberally over the gravestone’s surface without worrying about any permanent damage.
- Use a brush to scrub the gravestone along with pouring the citric acid mixture as this will increase the penetration of citric acid.
- You can use it in tandem with other methods of cleaning gravestones which increases its efficacy.
- Use a Mild Detergent
This simple yet mild technique has found widespread use in cleaning gravestones. You can use a dilute solution of mild detergent to clean gravestones effectively.
- Since it is a mild detergent, it won’t corrode or spoil the surface of the gravestone which is an issue with some other methods.
- You can use a soft brush to scrub the gravestone of any dirt stuck to it as the detergent solution is being poured.
- Many detergents are available commercially, hence it is important to read the contents of the packet before using one to clean gravestones.
- Rinse the entire gravestone with water, in the end, to get rid of all detergent micelles which have trapped the gravestone’s dirt within them.
- Use Pressurized Jet Flow of Water
A pressurized jet flow of water is a simple yet highly effective technique to clean gravestones involving just a pipe, a nozzle, some water, and an electrical input for the jet spray.
- The pressurized jet flow can remove even the most stubborn dirt particles due to the application of pressure and the dissolving properties of water.
- You can use pressurized jet flow in tandem with other methods such as detergent cleaning and citric acid cleaning of gravestones to enhance the efficacy of the cleaning process.
- Pressurized jet flow doesn’t involve the use of any chemicals hence it is non-corrosive and completely safe to use.
- It is an extremely clean method that does not generate too much waste while thoroughly cleaning the gravestones.
- When you’re considering applying a seal to the gravestone of your loved one, do take expertise from the professional first.
- Some gravestones don’t require harsh chemicals, and if you apply them it will lead to even more damage, check on a corner of the gravestone’s first such products.
- Ensure that you select the right cleaning method taking into account the level of dirtiness and climate in order to avoid that someone deceives you using methods that don’t really work.
- Remember that you have the option of using many methods together to increase the efficacy of the cleaning process and reduce the amount of manual labor.
- Ensure that you are not using any corrosive agents just to finish the job quickly as this might end up permanently damaging the gravestone.
What can I use to clean a gravestone?
How do you clean a headstone without damaging it?
How do I clean an old gravestone?
Can you use Dawn to clean a headstone?
Can you use baking soda to clean headstones?
Can you use dish soap to clean a gravestone?
One of the most basic cleansers to use on gravestones is regular dish soap and water. Mix a large bucket of warm water and dish soap. Dip a soft bristle brush into the soap water and use circular motions to scrub the marker.