02 August 2017

A cemetery monument plays an important role in the grieving process, and even though your loved one may be long gone, their grave is an important marker because it gives you a physical place to go and remember them.

This is why cleaning and maintaining cemetery monuments is so important. It’s also essential for preserving history, with graves often becoming a point of interest for historians further down the track.

Monument Cleaning

Before any form of monument restoration can take place, the gravestone needs to be cleaned.

The first step in the cleaning process is identifying the gravestone’s soiling agents:

how to clean a gravestone 

 

Step two in the cleaning process is to start removing the dirt build up. This can be accomplished by following the below steps:

General Cleaning

• Light cleaning: use a mild detergent mixed with water (from home) wash over the monument with a soft brush
then rinse off thoroughly with water (from home).

Granite Monuments

• White water stains on granite only: clean with a fine scourer or scraper blade avoiding the letters.
• Mix 1 part hydrochloric acid (from Bunnings) to 10 parts water (from home).
• Use a soft brush (dust pan brush is recommended) and wash over monument (use a cheap dust pan brush as
the acid will eat away the bristles).
• Wear gloves and mask as the acid can burn the skin.
• Rinse with water (from home) don’t use cemetery water as it is bore water
• Dry off with a dry cloth or chamois.

Marble Monuments

• Mix 1 part hydrochloric acid (from Bunnings) to 10 parts water (from home).
• Use a soft brush (dust pan brush is recommended) and wash over monument (use a cheap dust pan brush as
the acid will eat away the bristles).
• Wear gloves and mask as the acid can burn the skin.
• Rinse with water (from home) don’t use cemetery water as it is bore water

Repainting Letters

• If you decide to repaint the letters on granite, you can scrape the excess off with a scraper blade

Top Tip

When cleaning a monument, make sure it’s kept wet and the detergent is thoroughly rinsed off to ensure it doesn’t dry and leave marks on the stone.

Depending on the material the gravestone is made from, you might also need to repair any cracks and refresh the colour, or even fix any hardware that has been used to construct the monument.

To learn more about monument construction and restorations, talk to the friendly team at G.C. Smith & Co today!