The cleaning represented by these pictures was done in about one hour.
After visiting a cemetery with a friend -- I choose to blog a little about the care and feeding of a Grave Headstone.
My friend was young, alone and grieving when she lost her beloved father in 1964. She gallantly arranged for the funeral, grave site and receptions by herself. She wanted the very very best money could buy. She chooses a Blue Marble large headstone. Circumstances changed her life and although she lived near by; she did not visit the cemetery for some time. To her surprise time, weather, oxidation and algae had faded, stained and defaced her gravestone.
Marble is porous and stains easily. If its polished marble then the film on it which makes it look dull will be from oxidation in the atmosphere & algae etc will form a film on it. Algae will actually start a hole that becomes larger over time.The cemetery will professionally clean the marble markers and headstones--for a fee, of course (See previous blog regarding Family Foundations)
It was interesting to "surf" the net for possible solutions to clean one yourself.
The suggestions of course ran the gamut from passive to quite aggressive methods:
Some people will tell you that you should not clean the headstone
Try a potato cut in half
Use two teaspoons of bicarb/soda. with two tablespoons; of water. Rub it on using a rag. Let it dry; Then polish off.
For rust stains, you can remove superficial stains with vigorous scrubbing using a soft cloth and a non-abrasive mild detergent.
Mix a quarter cup of bleach in with your soapy water.
Get it steam-cleaned
An application of naval jelly or other rust remover following the manufacturer's directions for use. But thoroughly rinse off the product after using so it doesn't continue to eat away at the stone.
Use brasso or T Cut
If the surface is not polished, you can go to a hardware store and purchase ''Muriatic Acid''. Be careful, use long rubber gloves and goggles and follow the label's directions!
Pop into your local monumental mason, for some cleaner, its an acid.
There are lots of marble cleaners available on-line and at the big hardware stores. Lowe's and Home Depot.
To clean an old marble that is already weather-beaten, then you can use a non-brass wire brush and Clorox bleach (the thick kind) to do the job. The bleach will get rid of any algae growth. But be sure to thoroughly rinse off with lots of water.
If it's yours forget it . It can't be done
The most comprehensive suggestion came from this following link:
Pictures of the before and after cleaning are available at this site also.
You should assess the condition of the stone prior to cleaning. I would not attempt this on a headstone that was crumbling. I have seen the . The following are items you will need. In the interest of safety, read and follow all label directions of the manufacturer. Below is a list of items you will need:
•A wire brush (not made of brass)
•A pump up sprayer that will handle a corrosive
•Safety goggles for your eyes
•Old Clothes or a rain poncho
•Fresh Clean Gallons of Water
•Several Gallons of Clorox Outdoor™
•Some Clean Rags, I prefer white
1.Put on the safety goggles and rubber gloves first.
2.Spray the stone, covering it completely. Wait about 15 minutes. If there is a large algae growth, use the brush lightly to loosen it. You may have to repeat this several times, depending on the amount of algae growth.
3.On the third or fourth application you can rinse with water to see where you stand in the cleaning process.
The quote given to clean the monument was $700.00 from a monument company. The cost of all items was about $50.00 -- and the sprayer goggles, gloves and other items could be used again.