Proper maintenance of a gravestone is critical for the preservation of its appeal and for a prolonged lifespan. One of the important upkeep practices is cleaning the stone. This process will ensure that the headstone remains free of grime and dust, and it will minimise the risk of staining. In addition, cleaning will eliminate damaging compounds from the stone, preventing accelerated degradation. If you are caring for a gravestone for the first time, consider using these tips for ideal results.
Choose a Compatible Detergent
You should choose a suitable detergent for washing the headstone. If you choose an unsuitable cleaning solution, you could end up causing the headstone a lot of harm. In general, it is not advisable to use the standard cleaners in your home. Most of these have corrosive compounds which will contribute to the accelerated wear of the stone. Under ideal circumstances, you should a non-ionic detergent for the cleaning process. The product will not cause the deterioration of the headstone structure, regardless of the material.
Avoid Abrasive Tools
Gravestones are often delicate, especially if they are made out of natural stone. If they experience significant physical stress or external impact, the material might sustain cracks or deteriorate in other ways. Also, most stones are vulnerable to damage if they are exposed to an abrasive force. Therefore, you should be careful about exposing the headstone to unusual forces. Small oversights and overzealousness can cause the premature failure of the headstone.
Ideally, you should never clean the gravestone using a power washer. This equipment supplies a jet of water under high pressure, and the force can easily cause cracking. Also, the pressure washer might encourage the retention of water by the stone. You should never use wire or metal brushes or other similar abrasive tools. You should, instead, use a nylon brush or toothbrush to prevent the deterioration of the stone.
Know the Limits of Cleaning
You should not attempt to clean the gravestone in an effort to restore its natural appearance. The headstone will weather with time because of the natural material's properties and exposure to the outdoor conditions. You should not overdo the cleaning tasks because this could promote premature degradation. For example, a white bronze headstone tends to build up some ionised metal, particularly at the welds. This material strengthens the marker, preventing the breakage of the welded joints. Removal of the ionised metal can be detrimental.
Gravestone cleaning can be challenging. Therefore, you should consider hiring a cemetery restoration expert for professional assistance.