Polished granite headstones look majestic and are very strong, but that doesn't mean they don't require cleaning from time to time. Care must be taken when cleaning a granite headstone, as using the wrong tools such as metallic brushes or strong chemical cleaners can result in scratching and staining. Below is a step by step guide to cleaning a polished granite headstone.
Check for Existing Damage
The first step you should take is to check the headstone for any damage such as flaking, erosion or cracks. Tap the headstone to check for any hollowness. If you detect any hollow or damaged areas, you should not begin cleaning as you could exacerbate the problem.
Brush away Debris
Next you should use a soft bristle brush to remove any debris which has built up on the headstone. You should use a circular motion when brushing to help to avoid scratching the surface of the headstone. You should never use steel wool or wire brushes to clean headstones as this will most likely cause damage. If the headstone features intricate designs, you should use a soft toothbrush to clean these areas.
Rinse and Clean the Stone
To clean the stone, you should use a detergent which has a neutral pH, such as Kodak Photo-Flo. This is used in photography to develop photographic film and it acts in a similar way to household detergent but without the harshness of acidic or alkaline cleaners. You should not use household detergents, vinegar or soaps to attempt to clean a polished granite headstone. Rinse the headstone and saturate it with water before applying the cleaning solution. This will stop the granite from absorbing the cleaning solution. You should begin at the bottom of the headstone and work upwards to help to prevent streaking. Once you have cleaned the headstone, you should rinse it a final time to remove any residue.
Use Poultice to Remove Ingrained Stains
If the headstone has ingrained stains, you should apply clay poultice paste to the headstone and wrap the area in plastic. The poultice should draw the stain up out of the stone. Repeat the process if the stain remains after the first application of poultice.
Polish the Stone
Finally, use a clean, dry cloth to polish the headstone.
If you have any questions about the best way to care for a polished granite headstone, you should contact a funeral memorial service or funeral home for further help and advice.