How to clean a Headstone
A Cemetery headstone is a permanent grave marker, normally carved from stone, placed over or next to the site of a burial in a cemetery or elsewhere. Grave markers usually bear inscriptions: epitaphs in praise of the deceased or quotations from religious texts. In a few instances the inscription is in the form of a plea, admonishment, and testament of faith, claims to fame or even a curse.
There are times when biological growth may be causing deterioration of the cemetery headstone. In such circumstances it may become necessary to clean the cemetery headstone. Algae, lichen, fungi can be hazardous to cemetery headstones because they trap moisture on. They also secrete acids that can dissolve limestone, marble, sandstone, concrete, and mortar. Plant life -- such as ivy, ferns, and moss, may be hazardous to the grave headstone because they have roots that will penetrate the stone and also because they trap moisture.
Basic Cleaning Method.
Basic Cleaning: Remove any loose debris or plant life. Thoroughly wet the cemetery headstone with running water. The water will wash away some of the dirt or biological material, and also is essential to prevent the headstone from absorbing the detergent you will be using as the next step in cleaning. Gently scrub the headstone with very light pressure in a circular motion using a soft-bristle brush to dislodge soil/biological growth from the headstone. A dry brush can damage the Grave headstone by removing the upper layers of the headstone, causing it to deteriorate or by opening small holes or pores for future biological growth. Use a clean brush to clean with; don't abrade the grave headstone by dragging dirt, sand, particles of broken stone, plants, etc. across the surface you are supposed to be protecting. Use clean water. If the grave headstone is particularly dirty, change your bucket of water frequently Rinse the headstone thoroughly with water.
Cleaning with soap
Thoroughly wet the headstone with running water from a hose. This, of course, isn't necessary if this step follows basic water cleaning since the headstone will already be wet. Create a cleaning solution of water and soap in a clean bucket. Dip soft-bristle brush in the soap solution and scrub the headstone with very light pressure in a circular motion to dislodge soil/biological growth from the headstone. Allow a water hose to run on the headstone as you clean. Rinse your brush frequently using clean water, then dip it back into the soap bucket to pick up more solution if biological materials continue to cling to the headstone, you may use a smooth wooded stick, or bamboo skewer to gently pry or scrape the material away from the surface - if the headstone is in stable condition when the stone is clean, rinse it thoroughly with water. This means allowing water to run over the headstone for at least an additional five minutes.
Before cleaning any cemetery headstone, carefully check its condition. If the surface readily falls away, or you notice other conditions that indicate the headstone is brittle or vulnerable, do not clean it. Cleaning may irreparably damage the surface.