How to clean a gravestone

Posted on: July 8, 2019

How to clean a gravestone

Many people like to keep their relatives’ gravestones in good condition. They practice it in different ways. Activities like bringing flowers, stones, and photos on a regular basis help friends and families keep the gravesite attractive and their loved one’s memory alive. In addition to these, people also find it helpful to clean the actual monument of their loved one’s grave.

Cleaning up a statue in a cemetery may seem like a simple idea. However, there are several factors to consider before visiting a cemetery for routine maintenance.

Can the tombstone be cleaned?

Occasionally the tombstone shows signs of deterioration. Over time, monuments can chip and flake. If your loved one’s headstone shows these signs, do not do any brushing or scraping when you clean it.

Trust the professionals

The cemetery monuments are more delicate than one might think. The gravestone polish is removed during design and inscriptions. These areas are very sensitive and offer great customization of your monument. Regular granite cleaners are unsafe for this delicate headstone feature.

How to clean a gravestone

S. Charles Monuments wants the tombstone to always keep its appearance. We pride ourselves on offering a professional cleaning service to keep your monument looking its best.

How to clean a tombstone

The first rule for cleaning cemetery monuments is delicacy. First, spray the tombstone with clean water. Then use a soft brush. Never use wire or metal brushes as they may scratch or stain the stone. Apply water and gently remove any biological growth from the stone. Then spray the limescale again to remove any residue.


S. Charles Monuments is proud of all the tombstones we provide in the event of the loss of a loved one. Remember that it is a worthy investment to use our professional cleaning service to ensure the longevity of your monument’s beauty. Please don’t hesitate to call us regarding any further questions you have about gravestone maintenance.

How are granite tombstones cleaned?

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Granite headstones are exposed to the elements on a daily basis, so it appears that the granite will need to be cleaned from time to time. Regular cleaning of the granite headstone indicator will keep it looking like new; preventing the growth of bacteria and discoloration. Spray the granite headstone with clean water. A regular spray bottle works fine, but you can spray a lot. A pump sprayer might be a better idea – it can hold more water and put less strain on your hands. Squeeze a small amount of dish soap onto a soft brush. Granite requires the use of a ‘non-ionic’ detergent for cleaning. Dish soap is suitable because it is neutral, does not react with hard water and does not produce much foam. Use a brush and detergent to clean the tombstone marker, paying close attention to all the nooks and crannies surrounding the text. Scrape any debris that may have accumulated on the granite headstone

People often ask me to clean the gravestones. My usual answer is: “Don’t do this unless absolutely necessary!”

I love old and weathered tombstones.

The airing process is part of their charm and beauty. However, there are times when the scale may need to be cleaned. Here, I share some tips for cleaning a tombstone

1. Ask yourself if it really needs cleaning

Each time you clean the tombstone, no matter how gently, you will remove a small amount of the stone. If you clean a stone in an old cemetery, might it look out of place? Sometimes cleaning the stone can do more harm than good, so when in doubt I always recommend that you leave it because there is always the risk of damaging the stone. If, for example, the stone is in the shade under a tree, removing the lichen will not allow it to reappear in a few months, and to keep the stone clean, you should clean it more than once a year, which will damage the stone itself.

Never try to clean a peeling, chipped or loose stone gravestone.

2. Always use the gentlest method possible first

That means good old-fashioned water and a soft brush or even a tea towel.

3. Never use a wire brush or brush with abrasive bristles

Always start with the softest brush possible, and if that doesn’t work, try a slightly harder brush. Get lots of different sized brushes so you can fit into small spaces. Make sure all metal surfaces or hard brushes are covered.

4. Use plenty of water and a soft plastic scraper, always rinse and use clean water every time

A hose is the best way to keep limescale moist, but otherwise it’s easier if you use a pump instead of a bucket. It is essential to use plenty of clean water and to always keep the brush wet. I like to use a kitchen towel because it is very soft and absorbs a lot of water. Remember to rinse each time and scrape off the water after each brushing, and never let the limescale dry without rinsing thoroughly.

5. Brush with a fine circular pattern, working methodically so as not to miss anything

Always clean the entire surface of the stone after starting cleaning. It is best to start from the bottom of the stone and work upwards so that the dirty water leaves no traces on the clean part of the stone.

6. Don’t be tempted to scrub hard or expect flawless stone – delicacy is the key!

7. Never use household cleaners

There are many cleaners out there that can provide quick and effective cleaning, but at the cost of damaging the stone and should always be avoided. Always avoid cleaners that contain bleach or acid, as well as household cleaners! They can destroy the composition of the stone, altering the surface, which in turn can lead to faster aging in the future, making the lettering less legible.

8. If it is still not clean enough, try a mild biological cleaning solution called D2.

I would never recommend using anything stronger than water. However, if you are determined to do this, I would try D2 which is generally considered quite safe and kills the lichen beneath the stone’s surface so its appearance will continue to improve after cleaning. More information on the D2 can be found on their website. It is always a good idea to test a small area of ​​the stone and wait a few days before covering all of the stone. Remember to use a lot of water and to wet the stone first.

9. The tombstone should not be cleaned more than once a year

Even the most gentle cleaning will remove a small amount of limescale from the surface.

How to clean a gravestone

Remembrance Day is fast approaching and families and friends are preparing for us with many questions on how to properly clean tombstones and monuments.

Here we will walk you through the step-by-step gentle process on how to safely and effectively clean a variety of types of headstones, memorials, and grave markers with Wet & Forget Outdoor.

Why do the gravestones look dirty?

How to clean a gravestone

The reasons are most likely algae, lichen, moss, mold or fungus and spots. Queste escrescenze si sviluppano in superficie, facendo apparire le lapidi e i monumenti scuri e sporchi.

Most of the attractions are outdoors and are constantly exposed to humid conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions favor the capture and growth of ugly growths. This is especially true in the southern U. S. where high humidity is common.

How can I remove these growths?

How to clean a gravestone

The good news is Wet & Forget removes those blackish-brown stains from headstones, memorials, and grave markers with no scrubbing or harsh chemicals. And restores the original bright and legible finish to the gravestones.

Although Wet & Forget can be applied to headstones any time of year, early spring is a perfect time to brighten and clean in preparation for Memorial Day. Here’s the how-to:

Simply spray the surface with Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use , making sure all headstone surfaces are fully saturated with product. Ready!

Wet & Forget Outdoor cleans the headstones and monuments over time with the wind and the rain. No washing required!

Note: If you’re cleaning multiple headstones or a headstone with very heavy growth, we recommend using the Wet & Forget Concentrate in a garden pump sprayer for quicker application. A 1 gallon concentrate produces 6 gallons when mixed 5: 1 with water.

Watch the video below to see how to easily apply Wet & Forget to headstones –

Note on lichen removal: Lichens are one of the most difficult memorial stones to remove. To remove lichen, saturate the surface with Wet & Forget. Wait 15 minutes and spray the surface again.

This second spray will introduce the product into the second layer of lichen. Dead lichen will begin to clear up within a few months.

Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use makes small-scale outdoor cleaning a breeze! The product consists of a ready formula and a large capacity sprayer. Just spray it and leave it on.

How to clean a gravestone

Some restorers claim that when using the preparation on a tombstone, it should be rinsed off after application. If you want to rinse the surface, it is recommended 4 hours after application.

The NCPTT found that quaternary ammonium compounds are recommended for cleaning tombstones. Wet & Forget is a quaternary ammonium compound, which makes it safe for all types of headstones.

Did you know Wet & Forget has been used to clean Revolutionary War gravestones? Click here to find out more.

See the results:

How to clean a gravestone

Light green growths usually disappear from the surface within a week or two of application. Stubborn blackish-brown growth typically begins to clear one to two months after applying Wet & Forget.

How to clean a gravestone

How to clean a gravestone

Wet & Forget Outdoor Cleaner is non-caustic, non-acidic, and free of phosphates and bleach so it is safe for use on memorials including surfaces such as:

  • Granite
  • Sandstone
  • Limestone
  • Fieldstone
  • Slate
  • Marble
  • Concrete
  • Wooden

Headstone cleaning is quick and easy with Wet & Forget . Learn more about applying Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use:

How to connect the spray tip:

  • Remove the adhesive on the flap, then remove the flap.
  • Locate the spiral hose inside the sprayer and fully extend the hose. It will stretch to approximately 36 inches.
  • Firmly insert the end of the tube into the fitting.
  • Are you ready to spray!

How to clean a gravestone

How to clean a gravestone

Application Tips:

  • Apply Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use to dry outdoor surfaces. For optimal cleaning, check the forecast for the possibility of rain in the next 4-5 hours. Wait for the product to be applied if rain is forecast.
  • To minimize product evaporation, apply Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use in cool, dry weather.
  • Make sure you completely saturate the growth and blemishes.
  • Also, don’t forget to spray the carved inscription and various blanks.
  • For best results, do not spray the product on extremely hot days or the hottest part of the day.
  • Apply Wet & Forget when outdoor temperatures are above freezing, and when outdoor temperatures are predicted to remain above freezing for 5 hours afterward.

Wet & Forget honors and recognizes the many sacrifices military members, veterans, and their families make for our nation. The Wet & Forget team is excited to be currently working with a volunteer group of veterans on a project to clean other veteran’s memorials and gravestones.

Stay tuned for the full story and some great before & after photos.

See how Wet & Forget cleaned up stubborn green and black growth on a monument here.

How to clean a gravestone

Tombstones and monuments can quickly become covered with algae, moss, mold and fungus. Since cemeteries are located in grassy and often wooded areas, biological growth prevails on headstones. The cost of monuments and headstones is quite significant and keeping them clean used to be a time consuming & costly exercise. Before the introduction of new cleaning technology, tombstones, monuments and mausoleums had to be cleaned by scrubbing, grinding and polishing. Never again.

Safely clean & remove biological growth from gravestones and monuments with Citra-Shield Cleaning Products. There is no need to scrub or use harsh chemicals to bring stone gravestones back to life. These photos were just sent to us by a client in Florida who edited this tombstone about 3 months ago. As you can see in the photo, this tombstone was covered in black algae which are common in humid climates. Citra-Shield Ready To Use was applied to the cemetery using a garden pump sprayer and allowed to dry on the surface. Rain, sprinklers and morning dew reactivated Citra-Shield and made this tombstone look like new. If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to keep cemetery stones and their surroundings cool, consider Citra-Shield.

Step 1: Simply pour Citra-Shield Ready To Use into your garden sprayer or hand sprayer.

Step 2: Apply Citra-Shield to a gravestone, gravestone or memorial with biological growth (moss, algae, fungus). You may notice that the stones turn the color of tea, an indicator that Citra-Shield is starting to heal biological growth.

Step 3- Wait for the product to dry on the surface. Make sure there is no precipitation forecast for at least 4 hours after application.

Step 4: Once dry, Citra-Shield will clean the headstones for months to come. The treated surface becomes clean and free of biological growth.

Step 5: To keep tombstones and monuments clean, reapply Citra-Shield every 6 months to prevent biological regrowth.

One of the most frequently asked questions is how to properly clean a tombstone. Cleaning the gravestones is not necessarily a difficult matter, but we recommend some good practices. From the materials you will need to some important tips to remember when caring for your stone, we’ve put together this comprehensive headstone cleaning guide to help you through the process.

How to clean a gravestone

Materials you will need

To properly clean a tombstone, you need to have some basic supplies on hand:

Much water: Since you more than likely won’t have access to a hose or water source when you’re at the cemetery, you will need to bring your own water supply. We recommend that you carry at least 5 liters of water with you for a standard-sized tombstone, and possibly more if you are cleaning a complementary tombstone or family plot.

Sponges: To help you cover the tombstone with water and keep it moist during the cleaning process, a large sponge works well. Make sure you use a dye-free sponge as the dye may accidentally stain the headstone. Also, avoid sponges that have a rough side as it may be too difficult to use on a gravestone.

Brushes: We recommend that you bring brushes of different sizes. The brushes will help remove dirt and algae from the tombstone. A toothbrush works well for smaller spaces. For larger dirt spots a simple brush is sufficient. The bristles of all brushes used must be soft, natural and not colored.

Scrapers / delicate tools:For dirt that is deeply stuck in crevices or hard-to-reach places in the tombstone, it is recommended that you use delicate tools such as wooden toothpicks, plastic scrapers, and ice cream sticks – avoid using metal tools.

Towels:A few large towels are enough to dry the stone for last.

How to clean a tombstone:

Step 1:It’s always best to start by removing as much dirt or buildup as possible before scrubbing.

Step 2: Usando le spazzole e i raschietti che hai portato, rimuovi con cura sporco, erba, detriti, foglie, muschio e qualsiasi altro accumulo che potresti avere. Make sure you don’t scratch the headstone in this process.

Step 3: Once you’ve removed as much dirt/build-up as possible, wet the headstone with a sponge or by dumping water on it gently. Make sure you have a constant supply of clean water; starting from the bottom, gently remove any dirt or accumulations on the tombstone. Climb to the top. The reason you have to clean from the bottom up is because you don’t want the dirty water from the top of the tombstone to drip onto the rest of the tombstone, thus hampering your progress. Continue to use a supply of clean water to rinse the sponge and remove any dirt until you feel you have cleaned the tombstone as best you can.

Step 4: Drain clean water on the headstone for the final rinse. After rinsing the tombstone, check for any additional dirt that can be removed with a brush or scraper.

Step 5:When you are satisfied with the appearance of your tombstone, you can dry it with clean towels.

How to clean a gravestone

Other important things to remember:

Do not use soap to clean the tombstone. While tempting, when cleaning a tombstone, avoid household soaps and cleaning products if possible. Despite what some brands may say, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to using cleaning products on headstones – the ingredients in them may corrode the headstone or react poorly with the surface of the headstone. You may be wondering if there are serious differences between cleaning a granite tombstone and cleaning a marble tombstone, but we recommend that you avoid soap and other cleaners for both types of tombstones. It’s best not to run the risk of damaging such precious materials.

Watch out for the weather outside. Granite in particular can get very hot if the temperature is exceptionally hot outside. Try picking a day when the weather outside is mild; while you’re cleaning a headstone, if the water you’re using keeps evaporating too quickly it will make the job much harder for you.

Avoid dry cleaning. As you’re cleaning the headstone, be sure to always keep the headstone wet. Using a dry material (such as a rag or towel) directly on a dry tombstone can damage, scratch, or wear it.

Taking care of your loved one’s headstone is a very meaningful way to stay connected to them and to continue to pay your respects to them after they’ve passed. We hope you’ve found this guide helpful; for more information on how to upkeep your loved one’s headstone, be sure to check out this post as well: “ How to Decorate a Headstone or Memorial. “

Look at him wet and forget that he cleans the gravestones

Wet & Forget
In action

Angel statue cleaned of mold, mildew and algae stains

No need to rinse or scrub, just apply and let the rain do the work for you

Moss and lichen once covered this tombstone from 1893.

Monument in Elgin Illinois cleaned with Wet & Forget with help from The Girl Scouts

Don’t be afraid of the scum!

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Available in your area

Available in your area

Wet & Forget Moss Mold Mildew & Algae Stain Remover

Chosen in the cleaning of cemeteries for over 40 years!

  • Safe on historical and delicate gravestones and gravestones.
  • Spray and leave in step 1 – without rinsing or scrubbing.
  • No bleach, no harsh chemicals, no stone damage.
  • Gently cleans the gravestones with the help of Mother Nature.
  • A 1 gallon concentrate equals 6, a garden sprayer.

All about grave care, headstone cleaning and grave maintenance services when buying a plot of land in a cemetery

Last updated: August 1, 2019

How to clean a gravestone

Image by djm from Pixabay

Many bereaved families choose to have a loved one buried so they can remember them in a quiet place they can visit regularly. If you are planning a burial, we have a complete burial guide that you may find useful.

Cemeteries and cemeteries can be owned and cared for by local authorities, private companies, religious institutes or a local authority. Ognuno avrà i propri regolamenti per garantire che le tombe e i terreni siano adeguatamente mantenuti in modo che il sito commemorativo sia uno spazio in cui tutti possano trovare pace e condividere rispettosamente.

Who is responsible for the tomb?

When you buy a cemetery, you pay for the exclusive right to have a loved one or family members buried for a specified period of time, usually up to 50 or 100 years. They receive the legal deed, but they are not the owners of the land on which the land is located.

The family holding the deed of concession is responsible for maintaining the tomb, according to the regulations of the body that owns the cemetery and is responsible for the custody of the area. Some cemeteries can have quite strict laws on what people can do and what is expected of them. They may vary depending on the type of burial site chosen, or be subject to additional cemetery fees.

For example, most lawn tombs only allow you to place a headstone with a small floral border next to the monument so that the surrounding grass can be mowed. Many families choose traditional tombs which can allow them to customize the entire length and width as a tribute to a loved one. If a relative is buried in a public grave for health reasons, no identification marks may be allowed.

Maintenance of the tombs, cemetery rules and regulations

It is a good idea to read the rules of your chosen cemetery before arranging items such as ornamental gravel, grave covers, plants and grave decorations to commemorate the life of your loved one.

Many cemeteries focus on keeping the area clean and tidy. Cemetery owners may reserve the right to remove items from graves for safety or maintenance reasons. They may have rules governing the length of time that perishable tributes, such as wreaths and gravestone flowers, can be left behind before being thrown away.

The dimensions indicated for each burial site are very specific to ensure that personal tributes do not enter another family’s sanctuary or on open walkways

Some cemeteries are very strict. They may prohibit decorating tombs such as lights, wooden crosses, flower pots and plastic ornaments and even remove them.

When it happens unexpectedly, it can be disturbing for bereaved people. Most cemeteries provide detailed information about their rules that can help you make an informed choice to avoid unpleasant circumstances.

Your funeral director may be able to inform you about the regulations of the selected cemetery, and the cemetery itself should be able to provide information.

Cleaning of tombstones

The type of equipment used to clean the tombstones can depend on the type of stone it is made of. The stonemason you bought it from should be able to advise you on this and correct any letters that have begun to fade.

Shiny surfaces can often be cleaned with a flask of warm water and a soft cloth or brush when cleaning gravestones. Some people add liquid detergent to the water. Be gentle and avoid using sharp steel wool or brushes when cleaning gravestones. This will scratch the stone’s surface and can attract mosses or algae.

Tombstone cleaning sprays are commercially available and claim to help prevent the growth of algae and moss. However, many experts advise against using household products containing bleach or acids to clean headstones, as they can damage the stone and make it susceptible to erosion. If you are using more than soapy water for gravestone cleaning, it may be wise to first check with the cemetery that there are no regulations or conservation laws prohibiting your chosen headstone cleaner’s use.

Some people give up cleaning headstones altogether and consider yellow lichen and gradual aging to be part of the story they have to tell.

Conservation of tombstones

It is the family’s responsibility to maintain their loved one’s gravestone and arrange for repairs. This should be done by an approved commemorative stonemason and there may be limited time in the cemetery during which work can be done.

Most cemeteries reserve the right to conduct security checks on private tombstones and monuments every few years to ensure they are stable.

Families will be notified by the cemetery owner of any safety concerns related to grave maintenance, but stones and plaques can be laid flat by cemetery staff if you judge a tipping hazard.

Grave flowers and plants

Cemeteries may have different rules when it comes to planting bulbs, shrubs, or flowers for graves. Where permitted, families have a responsibility to care for them and make sure they don’t get overgrown. Headstone cut flowers should be discarded when they die or are generally removed by maintenance personnel after a few weeks.

The owner of the cemetery may also reserve the right to cut down any plants he deems neglected. Trees are usually not allowed on graves as roots and branches can interfere with nearby burials as they grow.

Some authorities place stickers or notices on graves to alert people to grave tending issues, which may involve the removal of personal tributes or grave decorations placed beyond the grave’s perimeter. This can be annoying, so to prevent this from happening, most ask holders of deeds to update their contact details so they can be contacted in person.

Tomb maintenance services

Specialist grave tending companies located around the UK offer gravestone maintenance and other services for when you don’t live nearby. These can offer peace of mind to people who cannot visit their loved one’s grave as often as they would like.

Tomb maintenance services include gravestone cleaning, the replacement of gravel chippings, delivering fresh grave flowers, weeding and tending living plants, as well as ensuring that a loved one’s grave is regularly cared for and tidy. They can also take and send photos of the curated tomb to provide a feeling of encouragement and comfort.