How to cleanse a tombstone

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How to cleanse a tombstone
How to cleanse a tombstone

If a loved one is now resting in the cemetery, then you probably want to take care of the place of his burial. The cleanliness of the tombstone is one of the main indicators of the neatness of the grave. If it gets dirty, then the stone must be cleaned and put in order. Use suitable cleaning materials, depending on the type of stone.


Method 1 of 3: Preparation

Clean a Gravestone Step 1
Clean a Gravestone Step 1

Step 1. Assess the need for cleaning

The first thing to do is assess whether the stone really needs cleaning. Many people confuse the natural aging process with the contamination of the stove. Marble and other materials tarnish over time.

  • Bricklayers and restorers are advised to refrain from over-cleaning. With every impact, even the mildest, the stone is destroyed.
  • There is no need to clean a monument just to honor the memory of a loved one. If cleaning is not required, then find other ways to pay tribute to the memory.
  • If the stone has become dirty, then cleaning is quite appropriate. It should be understood that after this you will have to regularly clean the tombstone.
Clean a Gravestone Step 2
Clean a Gravestone Step 2

Step 2. Buy a non-ionic cleaner

Time and atmospheric influences do not allow the stone to retain its original appearance. If the tombstone is dirty, then it's time for a thorough cleaning. Choose the right products.

  • Harsh chemicals can damage the stone. Choose mild detergents.
  • Buy a non-ionic cleaner. These products can be found at home care hardware stores.
  • Non-ionic products do not contain coarse salts that can damage the tombstone. Read the information on the product label and look for the word "non-ionic". You can also check with a consultant.
Clean a Gravestone Step 3
Clean a Gravestone Step 3

Step 3. Gather the required materials

After purchasing a cleaning agent, you need to collect the rest of the materials. When cleaning, you cannot do without water. If you can use a tap or a hose at the cemetery, take a clean bucket with you.

  • If you are not sure about the availability of running water, then buy a canister of drinking water from the store. You still need a bucket to dilute the detergent and water and dampen a rag.
  • Take soft, clean rags with you. Old towels and T-shirts will do just fine.
  • Buy sponges. Natural sponges work best as they are the safest for the stone.
  • Also use hard, non-metallic sponges and brushes. Choose several brushes with different hardness levels.

Method 2 of 3: Cleaning

Clean a Gravestone Step 4
Clean a Gravestone Step 4

Step 1. Examine the headstone

Upon arrival, assess the condition of the stone. Look for obvious signs of damage. Examine the front, back and side edges of the slab.

  • Cracks and delamination are obvious signs of deterioration.
  • If you have such problems, perform cleaning with extreme caution. The crumbling stone loses its durability.
  • Do not apply pressure when cleaning damaged areas. It is better to leave a little dirt than to speed up the destruction.
Clean a Gravestone Step 5
Clean a Gravestone Step 5

Step 2. Granite gravestones

After inspecting the stove, you can start the cleaning process. Observe the instructions on the detergent label. Mix with the required amount of water.

  • Soak a sponge in a bucket of water and start gently scrubbing the surface of the stone.
  • After washing off the top layer of dirt, you can use a brush. Dampen the brush and gently scrub the entire surface of the stone slab.
  • It is best to start at the top and work towards the base so that no streaks remain on the stone.
Clean a Gravestone Step 6
Clean a Gravestone Step 6

Step 3. Remove vegetation

Sometimes vegetation appears on the slab, which is quite natural under the influence of atmospheric precipitation. Most often, the headstone is covered with lichen or moss.

  • Lichens are living organisms that are similar to fungi and mold. They come in a variety of colors, from gray to green to yellow.
  • Use ammonia to get rid of lichens. Mix one to four alcohol and water.
  • Take a soft sponge and gently scrub the stained area with a solution of alcohol and water. Then rinse the stone with clean water.
Clean a Gravestone Step 7
Clean a Gravestone Step 7

Step 4. Marble gravestones

It is important to determine the type of stone to be cleaned. Different material requires a different approach. Handle marble with even greater care than granite.

  • First, dampen the stove with clean water. Vegetation can be removed with a wooden trowel.
  • Use a non-ionic cleaner. Apply the mortar in the same way as with granite. This cleaning should be done every one and a half years, but not more often, so as not to damage the marble.
  • Less commonly, limestone is used to make tombstones. It should be cleaned in the same way as marble slabs.
Clean a Gravestone Step 8
Clean a Gravestone Step 8

Step 5. Use snails

At times, the natural way is best for cleaning gravestones. For example, you can clean the stone with snails. This method is the most environmentally friendly.

  • The snails consume the vegetation that forms on the rock. For example, they eat lichens, mold and mushrooms.
  • Make a small cover over the monument. You can wrap the headstone in plastic, pressing it to the ground with branches.
  • There are probably some snails nearby. Place them under a makeshift casing. Be sure to make some ventilation holes.
  • Look under the casing after a few hours. If you come across hungry snails, the stove will be clean enough.
Clean a Gravestone Step 9
Clean a Gravestone Step 9

Step 6. Contact a specialist

If you are worried about the condition of the tombstone, it is better to seek help from a specialist. For example, he will be able to determine the approximate age of the stone. He will also determine the type of material for sure.

  • Contact the cemetery administration to recommend a suitable specialist and discuss your questions with him.
  • You can also go to the local museum. The workers will advise you on a good bricklayer. Find out about the appropriate cleaning methods and frequency for your particular stone.

Method 3 of 3: Beautification of the grave

Clean a Gravestone Step 10
Clean a Gravestone Step 10

Step 1. Choose the right material

After the death of a loved one, you have to make a lot of decisions. One of them is choosing the right stone for the headstone. Consider what material is optimal.

  • First, choose the type of gravestone - vertical, horizontal slab or obelisk.
  • Then choose a material. You can use marble, sandstone and granite. The most inexpensive and durable solution is granite.
  • Learn the rules of the cemetery. The rules can determine the acceptable sizes and types of gravestones. Study this information before buying a stone.
Clean a Gravestone Step 11
Clean a Gravestone Step 11

Step 2. Keep records

The headstone does not require constant cleaning. You don't need to clean it too often. The headstone needs to be cleaned approximately every one and a half to two years, and sometimes even less often.

  • Record the date of each cleaning to keep track of the frequency.
  • Discuss grave care services at the cemetery. Some of them offer complete care. In this case, you do not have to do the cleaning yourself.
Clean a Gravestone Step 12
Clean a Gravestone Step 12

Step 3. Decorate the grave

In addition to properly caring for the tombstone, there are other ways to honor the memory of a loved one. For example, you can decorate a grave to show concern for a departed person.

  • Leave a bouquet of flowers near a tombstone or plant live plants. Visit the deceased on holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and memorials.
  • You can also leave a souvenir on the grave that was dear to the deceased.
  • Find out the rules and guidelines from the cemetery administration. Perhaps they forbid leaving some things.


  • Never use a wire brush.
  • Never use household detergents as they can damage the stone.

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