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Cemeteries are a place to visit our loved ones. But quite honestly, life tends to get in the way. We don’t make it out as often as we’d like to. If it’s been a while since you’ve been out to the cemetery and notice a change in the look of the monument, please don’t be alarmed. It happens. Most monuments are made of granite. Granite is a porous material and takes on surrounding elements over time. For example, streaks on monuments may actually be living organisms, such as lichen. Or the stone could also have streaks from acidic rain or tree and bird droppings. The list is endless.

But the good news is, monuments can be cleaned and/or restored depending on the extent of the stain. Can you clean the stone itself? You can. But please ask for professional help before you use something that can damage the stone. Some stones are especially sensitive to cleaning materials. Monuments with artwork, hand etchings or paint can be ruined by certain materials.

Elmwood Cemetery Memorials offers professional stone cleaning services. The price for the cleaning depends on the size of the marker or monument. Stone cleaning is completed during the spring, summer and fall and is weather permitting. We power wash the monuments and markers with a cleansing solution made specifically for granite. Call us for a free quote today.

If you decide to cleanse the monument yourself, you will need a bucket, water, a soft bristled brush or sponge, goggles and gloves. You want to choose the right time of day and temperature. Cleaning a monument in extreme heat or cold or hot sun is not recommended. Cloudy and cool days are the best days to clean your stone. You’ll want to wet your stone completely before cleaning. Once it’s wet, damped your sponge and start cleaning the top layer of the monument. It will remove the top layer of debris or dirt. If the sponge doesn’t loosen the dirt, you can use your brush. But again, please be sure it’s a soft bristled brush.

When the top layer of dirt is removed, it’s time to use your soap. We would recommend a gentle dish soap, like Dawn. Start with the base of the stone and move up. Work your way up with just one area at a time. Going slowly and in sections prevents the chemical from streaking the stone. Do not let the stone dry. Once the soap is applied everywhere, then use your pressure washer. Rinse the monument from the bottom to the top. Be sure all of the soap residue has been washed away.

Before you know it, your stone will look as good as new. Again if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact a professional. And if your stone doesn’t get as clean as you would like, we’d be happy to help. Good Luck.

Click here for examples to some of the monuments we have cleaned professionally.