cemetery monument and memorial cleaning

READ THIS CAREFULLY

Everything you read on this site is opinion. It is well informed opinion, but opinion nontheless. If you decide to clean a cemetery memorial using any of the methods described on this site, you are doing so AT YOUR OWN RISK. Slow down, take your time and read these suggestions carefully.

Monument cleaning and maintenance is usually best left to the professionals, but if you simply want to keep your stone looking nice in the cemetery by performing regular maintenance on your headstone's lettering and carving, then here are some things you should know before you start.

Headstone cleaning can be a tricky thing. Each type of monument or marker can have different requirements. There are some types of cemetery stones that you should not clean at all. There is one important overiding fact that you should understand before attempting to clean a memorial stone. NEVER CLEAN SOMEONE ELSE'S MONUMENT OR MARKER. If you use the wrong technique, or damage a monument, it had better be your own. It would be a shame to ruin someones cemetery memorial just because you were trying to do something nice for them, or out of a selfish reason like not wanting to have a dirty or poorly maintained monument next to yours. Monuments and memorials are private property. How would you feel if you came home and found someone didn't know washing your car? Now imagine how you would feel if they were washing it with "Comet". So always be respectful of the rights of the property owner.

I will divide this into sections, so it is easier to understand. Check to see what type of memorial stones or grave markers you will be cleaning, and then read that section. Hopefully this will make the process a little simpler.
Another goal with this site is to help answer specific questions. If you have a particular problem, take a digital picture of the stone and e-mail it to me, along with your question. I will post the photo, the question and a possible solution on this site. This will help build a reference for others with similar problems to help with their stones as well. Be prepared for the possibility that you may be advised to do nothing to the stone, and call a professional. The most important thing is not to damage anything. We have to think a little bit like a like a doctor and live by the simple rule "First, do no harm". Send your photos and a brief description of your particular problem to me at the following address:
So, Let's get Started
Let's begin with a definition of terms.

*MONUMENT - Any memorial that has 2 seperate sections or more. (ie: a stone with a base)

*MARKER - Any memorial that is composed of only one piece. (a flat marker, etc.) There are cases where a marker is composed of 2 pieces, but has the effect of a marker, for example a bronze marker on granite. This is still technically a marker, even though it has 2 pieces.

*TABLET - The top section of a monument.

*BASE - The bottom section of a monument.

*FOUNDATION - The footing. Usually made of concrete, however some old memorials have a stone foundation. Some cemeteries do not allow foundations at all, setting the stones in a bed of sand.
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