A cemetery monument is a lasting symbol of the impact a deceased person had on their family and community; naturally, families want these representations of their loved ones' legacies to last for generations. Keeping a new cemetery monument in top condition requires a little regular maintenance, while restoring an older monument can take a little more effort.
Know Your Stone
Before you start cleaning, be aware of the monument's material and condition. Vigorously cleaning a flaking or cracked monument may do more harm than good, so be on the lookout for signs of damage. If it's a stone monument, be sure you know what kind of stone it is -- different surfaces can call for different techniques. Special cleaning solutions exist for some types of stone; acid-based cleaners work well on granite but will be much too harsh for sandstone, for instance.
Assemble Your Materials
Most monument care requires only a soft-bristled brush and plenty of water. Avoid wire brushes, which can damage stone, and never use a pressure washer. Similarly, some chemical cleaners can react with the mineral content of a headstone. For example, household bleach will permanently change the colour of a marble stone and expose it to further damage. However, a dilute ammonia solution -- about one part ammonia to four parts water -- can be useful for dealing with lichen. Always wear proper eye protection when working with ammonia. If the monument is badly soiled, try a non-ionic detergent, heavily diluted with water; a single capful in a bucket of water should do the trick. A plastic scraper can be handy for removing built-up deposits.
With limited tools, cleaning an older headstone can be a time-consuming process. Start at the bottom, gently rinsing and scrubbing each part of the stone and working your way up. Pay special attention to carved detail; dirt can build up in these areas, obscuring the headstone's decoration. Scrub with a gentle circular motion but don't always use the same pattern; you want to avoid leaving streaks on the stone. Moisten areas of lichen before scrubbing them with the ammonia-and-water mixture and rinsing the area with water. Loosen built-up dirt or lichen with a flat-bladed plastic scraper.
Don't Overdo It
Over time, stone cemetery monuments will weather and change colour. It's both natural and unavoidable. Weathering and colour change won't harm a monument significantly; in fact, frequent cleaning is much more dangerous. Cleaning a stone more than once a year is unnecessary, and some monuments will require much less frequent maintenance.Share
7 December 2015
Planning a funeral can be extremely hard. You want to send off your loved one in style, but at the same time, your grief may be so heavy that it feels impossible to figure out the best way forward. Hi, my name is Julie. If you have recently lost a loved one, I offer you my condolences. I lost my mother and husband within the span of a year and became skilled at planning funerals. I know how hard it can be so I wanted to help others with organisation, decoration and other issues. I hope this blog helps you. Enjoy reading and thank you.