A fix for stained/darkened grave stones.

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Podad

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Take a look at the attached image. Note the two closest markers. One is clean and white and the other dark and illegible.

Both were the same 1 year ago. I sprayed the now clean stone with the proper mix of a product called Wet and Forget. That’s all no scrubbing, no nothing. The product along with rain and wind did the clean up.

You can get this at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. it’s about $30 a gallon for the concentrate which will make several gallons of spray. FYI for anyone with darkened head stones

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Podad

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It looks great in the short run. What will it do in the longer run? (say...25-50 years?) We probably won't know for several more cedades, but it's an important consideration.
I don’t think proper use of this product would be as potentially harmful as an aggressive cleaner and scrubbing in some manner.
 
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Patrick H

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I don’t think proper use of this product would be as potentially harmful as an aggressive cleaner and scrubbing in some manner.
You are probably correct. But on what types of tombstones? Red or black granite? (Nothing will phase those stones.) Soft, water soluble Missouri limestone? Maybe a risk. See what I mean? In some cases we might not know. I don't ever advocate ANY aggressive cleaning methods.
 
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John Winn

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I'm glad that worked for you. As one who does restoration work I have to say that a product called D/2 is the standard. Wet and Forget is much newer and hasn't been adequately tested for its long-term effects on stones so hasn't been adopted by the restoration community as yet. I'm not dissing the product, just saying if you want to be really safe D/2 would be the way to go. It's what the Park Service and the national cemeteries use (and has been used on the White House) and it's been subjected to several studies. It's expensive but not much more than what you quoted and can also be diluted (we always do). Just a consideration for the future.
 

John Winn

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It looks great in the short run. What will it do in the longer run? (say...25-50 years?) We probably won't know for several more decades, but it's an important consideration.
Stones will need periodic cleaning and nothing will last decades. How often cleaning will be needed depends on a number of environmental factors but ten years between cleanings would be about as good as one could expect.

What product or method of cleaning to use depends on what type of stone and the condition of the stone but with a few notable exceptions the use of natural brushes and wooden tools is usually quite safe and effective (along with lots of plain water).

You are right to be careful as stones can be really damaged if the wrong methods are used.
 

CSA Today

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Take a look at the attached image. Note the two closest markers. One is clean and white and the other dark and illegible.

Both were the same 1 year ago. I sprayed the now clean stone with the proper mix of a product called Wet and Forget. That’s all no scrubbing, no nothing. The product along with rain and wind did the clean up.

You can get this at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. it’s about $30 a gallon for the concentrate which will make several gallons of spray. FYI for anyone with darkened head stones

View attachment 303347

View attachment 303348
Thanks for sharing, I wish we knew about this product several years ago when cleaned the local Confederate monument several years ago. It would have saved an awful lot of hard work.
 
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Zella

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This has been a really interesting thread. I actually noticed some Civil War-era tombstones at our local cemetery the other day that could use some cleaning. Can ask around about who is in charge and whether they ever use anything like D/2.
 

John Hartwell

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Be very, VERY careful about applying any chemical agent to a gravestone. It's been many years (read "decades") since I was involved in the Association for Gravestone Studies, so I don't know the current state of research. I'd suggest contacting them before taking any such possibly destructive action. Their journal, "Markers" is a wonderful reference.
 
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Patrick H

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I have been reluctant to clean family stones myself, so I hire a friend who owns a local monument company to do the cleaning.
 

John Winn

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This has been a really interesting thread. I actually noticed some Civil War-era tombstones at our local cemetery the other day that could use some cleaning. Can ask around about who is in charge and whether they ever use anything like D/2.
I'd guess that unless you are related you'll not be allowed to clean any stones. Cemeteries usually don't clean or repair stones themselves; that's the responsibility of the family. Exceptions exist, of course (e.g. military cemeteries, designated historic cemeteries), but that's generally the case. Many old cemeteries have volunteer organizations that help maintain the cemetery and often those will have trained persons who have official permission to clean - and even repair - markers. Do some asking and learn how it's done before you go for it.

Be very, VERY careful about applying any chemical agent to a gravestone. It's been many years (read "decades") since I was involved in the Association for Gravestone Studies, so I don't know the current state of research. I'd suggest contacting them before taking any such possibly destructive action. Their journal, "Markers" is a wonderful reference.
The current state hasn't changed much except for the acceptance of D/2 (they've not endorsed any other product so far). And yes, one should know what one is doing before attempting to do anything to a stone.

As it happens the organization for which I volunteer conducts marker cleaning workshops once a month during the spring and summer months and yesterday was the first one for the year. I and our president conduct the workshops and we're both trained and have years of experience. We're legal because our cemetery is designated historic by the legislature - which applies some special regulations - and we have been granted permission by the sexton and the city's cemetery commission. We only work on the historic markers, though; modern ones are off limits and are the responsibility of the family.
 

Zella

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Thanks, John! I actually had no intention of doing it myself--figured it needs to come from someone who knows what they are doing and I have no family ties to anyone there--I was just curious of anyone there would do it or knew someone knowledgeable who would.
 
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