Written by Shirley Philbrick
Granite headstones when polished to a high sheen make a beautiful gravesite marker. Typically the white-gray is most common, but in many parts of the world pink and black granite are widely available. As with all cemetery markers, it's important to use safe and effective cleaning techniques to clean granite headstones to keep them looking their best for decades to come. Memorial Day is commonly the time when most people are considering cleaning up the grave sites of loved ones and planting flowers. This is the perfect time to clean the grave marker and look for any damaged areas on the stone.
1. Look for cracks or other possible problems such as the stone beginning to sink into the ground. Call the professional who set the stone originally or someone else who does similar work to consult with about what needs to be done to fix the issue and what it will cost.
2. Clip grass around the base of the headstone, then brush any loose grass or debris off the stone with a soft brush or cloth.
3. Use a nylon scouring pad found in housewear departments to gently scour the stone with plain, spring water. A small amount of dish detergent can be used for hard to remove bird droppings.
4. Rinse the stone with spring water to remove any soap residue. Using tap water will leave a mineral deposit haze on the polished finish of the stone.
5. Dry, then polish with a soft cloth.
*Granite headstones are highly durable and can withstand heavier cleaning than most when necessary.
*Do not attempt to clean historical stones without professional preservation advice.
*Do not use any cleaners that are corrosive or abrasive.
*Avoid use of a pressure washer.