How to Clean a Headstone Without Damaging It

Headstones mark the final resting places of our dearly departed loved ones. They often feature the name of the deceased, the timeline of their life, and some personal details may be included as well.

You can see why headstones carry a lot of meaning for us. When you see that your loved one’s headstone is in rough shape, you may get the urge to clean it.

However, you need to be careful because improperly cleaning the headstone can cause lasting damage. In this article, we will detail how to clean a headstone without damaging it. Follow the steps below and you should be able to complete the process without any issues.

Step 1: Examine the Current Condition of the Headstone

Before starting the process of cleaning the headstone, you should answer an important question first. Do you need to clean a headstone?

You see, cleaning the headstone carries a considerable amount of risk. There is a very real possibility that you could damage the headstone whenever you go to clean it.

Cleaning the headstone is only necessary if it is covered in dirt or mud. If it looks worn down, that’s just the headstone aging naturally. The cleaning process won’t do much good for that.

Step 2: Check the Weather Report

Next up, you will need to check the weather report. That may seem strange, but it makes sense when you consider how materials often used to create headstones react to extreme weather.

Headstones can become very uncomfortable to work with if the weather is unusually hot or cold. If the weather is in extreme territory, consider holding off on cleaning the headstone for at least another day.

Step 3: Gather the Cleaning Materials

If conditions are good for cleaning, then you can proceed with gathering the required materials. For this cleaning job, you will need a soft-bristle brush, a microfiber cloth, a sponge, a spray bottle, gloves and some water.

You will also need non-ionic detergent if you’re cleaning a granite or slate headstone and ammonia if you’re planning to clean a marble headstone.

Step 4: Soak the Headstone

Fill your spray bottle with water and use that to soak the headstone. Soaking the headstone will make it easier for you to clean it using the products you brought.

Step 5: Remove the First Layer of Dirt

Next, you need to work on removing the first layer of dirt. You can do that by using a sponge to wipe the surface of the headstone.

Be gentle when you wipe the headstone and avoid any cracks. Don’t go over those cracks because they can easily grow if they are subjected to external pressure.

Step 6: Use the Appropriate Cleaning Agent

You can now start working on the headstone using the appropriate cleaning agents. Remember that ammonia should be used on marble, while non-ionic detergent works best on granite or slate headstones. Dilute the cleaning agent in water before using it.

The cleaning agent should be applied using the soft-bristle brush. That way, you can target the specific spots that need cleaning and still avoid the cracks.

Step 7: Rub the Cleaning Agent into the Headstone

Rubbing the cleaning agent into the headstone may be necessary if you want to clean it properly. Use the microfiber cloth for this because it is less likely to damage the headstone.

Step 8: Rinse the Headstone

To finish up, you will need to rinse the headstone. Soak your sponge in clean water and use that to rinse the cleaning agent away from the headstone. Keep going until there is no more residue of the cleaning agent visible.

Cleaning a headstone can be done properly as long as the entire process is handled with care. Use the pointers we detailed here and you should be able to complete that job without any problems.