After a granite headstone is crafted and installed in a cemetery, it immediately garners attention. However, subsequent visits may reveal unsightly accumulations of hard water stains, sap drips, bird droppings, or mold and mildew growth if left unattended. Regular maintenance of granite headstones can effectively mitigate these issues.

The challenges faced by headstones can vary depending on the cemetery’s location, prompting the need for tailored cleaning methods. In this discussion, we will focus solely on the removal of hard water stains from granite headstones.

hard water stains on a headstone

Left Side: Hard Water Stains
Right Side: Cleaned

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Headstones in cemeteries with sprinkler systems often bear hard water stains, particularly in areas with high calcium content in the water. These stains worsen over time if not addressed promptly. Initially, cleaning can be managed independently, but after a few years, it might be wise to seek professional assistance.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Tools

For cleaning granite headstones, the following tools are recommended:

  • Water
  • Soft-bristle brushes
  • Spark’s Brick & Tile Cleaner (see step 3)
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Razor blades
  • Pumice stones
  • Leaf blower Pro Tip: Razor blades, when used at a 30-degree angle after soaking the stone, can effectively remove stubborn deposits like hard water residue or tree sap. However, caution is advised with darker granite.

Step 3: Selecting the Cleaning Agent

To combat hard water stains, a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water can be effective. However, Spark’s Brick & Tile Cleaner is found to be highly efficient. It’s essential to avoid using this cleaner on certain materials like metal, marble, or limestone.

Application Steps:

  1. Wet the headstone and granite foundation with water.
  2. Apply Spark’s cleaner to the headstone, working in sections.
  3. Allow the cleaner to sit until bubbling stops.
  4. Scrub with a soft-bristle brush, using a pumice stone for stubborn stains if necessary.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the headstone followed by a secondary rinse.
  6. Wear protective gear due to the acidic nature of the cleaner.
  7. Dry the headstone with a microfiber cloth or leaf blower.

Always follow the cleaner’s instructions listed on the bottle.

Restoring Paint: Cleaning often reveals the true condition of painted areas, which may only require touch-ups.

Sealing the Headstone: While sealing the monument may offer some protection, it requires frequent reapplication and does not fully prevent hard water stains. Alternative substances like Vaseline or baby oil can cause permanent damage.

Our Objective: We understand that maintaining a headstone can be overwhelming. We’re here to assist and provide valuable guidance. For further inquiries or services, please contact our office. We aim to empower you with the knowledge to honor your loved ones with a lasting memorial.

Contact us at 435-752-4949 if you need a headstone cleaned.