Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cleaning Stones

ANNOUNCEMENT! Posts for two weeks will be brief with genealogy tips only. When the blogger returns we will go back to our standard format. As they say: “Don’t go away. We’ll be right back!”


Genealogy tip for today: Cleaning the stones

I probably should have done this one yesterday. We have been talking about visiting cemeteries. Some are deserted and have overgrown brush. You may have to clean or create a path just to get to the stones you need.

Sometimes when you visit a cemetery, you may not have to fight the jungle to get there, but you will find that the stone needs cleaning. This could be for a number of reasons – bird droppings, stain from rain, lichen growing on the surface, or other. You also have different types of material. Most are a stone of some type, for example granite, but some are brass.

If you find a brass marker, you can clean this with the usual metal (brass) cleaner, usually found in the discount stores or furniture stores. With a soft cloth, rub the cleaner in circular motions on the brass and gradually cover the whole marker. Then with a second clean cloth, clean off the cream and you will have a shiny “new looking” marker. Use your finger nail or a wood craft stick to scrap it off. Do not use anything that is sharp or would scratch or damage the surface.

If you have a stone marker, you have to be very careful what you use on them because of the various chemicals that are in all products. You don’t want to use anything that will tarnish or worse yet, eat away at the stone. Check and make sure there are no ionic ingredients in your cleaner. I found a website that gives us some help. It gives a list of what not to use.

Headstone cleaning and gravestone maintenance at gives these instructions: Water and a soft bristle brush (don't ever use a wire brush) is the best way to clean a marker, but if they are necessary, only non-ionic detergents should be used for removing dirt, algae, and lichen from the stone. If the lichen has been stuck on for quite some time, try to gently scrape it off with a fingernail, plastic scraper, or wood craft stick.

I would also suggest you look at this webpage. It has a lot of additional help – what to do and what not to do. We want to be sure that we preserve these stones for the generations that follow us.

Happy Hunting.

If any of these posts are helpful drop us a line in the comments section below. We just want to know if the information we provide to you is helpful in anyway.


Now You Know!