5 Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning A Granite Memorial

Regular cleanings can keep an engraved granite memorial looking great through the years. A clean memorial gives loved ones visiting a gravesite the peace of mind of knowing that their deceased friend or family member's plot is being well cared for. 

However, making a few cleaning mistakes can detract from a memorial's appearance and cause premature aging of the stone. If you're looking to keep the gravesite of a departed loved one well maintained through the years, avoid the following five mistakes when cleaning a granite gravestone or memorial:

Applying cleaner to the dry surface of the memorial.

You need to wet the surface of the memorial before you scrub or apply any cleaners. Wetting the surface makes it so that the cleaner you use won't penetrate into the stone itself and potentially cause corrosion and other damage beneath the surface.

Keep the entire surface of the stone wet throughout the cleaning. Also, be careful to rinse away all of the cleaner when you finish to prevent stains or mineral deposits from developing.

Cleaning areas that are already chipped or weakened.

If a memorial becomes chipped, you should exercise extra caution when cleaning. Putting cleaner on a chipped area could expand the chip or allow moisture and cleaning solution to soak into the rock.

Using a cleaner that contains chlorine or an abrasive substance.

It's important to use a mild soap that won't have an abrasive action on the surface of the stone. A dishwashing detergent is a good cleaner to use for a gravestone. 

Using a brush with natural bristles.

It's a good idea to look for a brush with soft bristles that are synthetic rather than natural. Natural bristles could potentially leave a residue behind that makes it easier for biological growth to take root in the stone. 

A gravestone marker can be ruined by excessive biological growth like mold and moss. Look out for any growth that is developing and gently scrub it off as soon as possible to keep it from spreading. 

Forgetting to trim back vegetation before cleaning.

At most cemeteries, heavy vegetation will grow around grave markers throughout the warmer months of the year. If you do not trim it back before cleaning, you may find that your cleaning does more harm than good.

Vegetation that's left around the stone as you clean could be covered in dirt and debris. This dirt and debris could be rinsed down onto the stone as you clean and accumulate in engravings and other grooves on the memorial's surface.