Granite monuments in Walterboro, SC should be everlasting, able to be enjoyed for generations. Unfortunately, granite is difficult to clean, and that makes its preservation challenging. One of the best ways to ensure it lasts is by keeping it clean. Since granite is porous and easy to damage, you need to know how to do this correctly and gently. Here is how to clean your loved ones’ monuments and keep the etchings legible for years to come:
- Have the correct supplies: You do not require special equipment to surface-clean monuments. Most needed items are general household supplies that you likely already have in your home. You need gentle dishwashing detergent (like Dawn), a spray bottle full of water, a non-metallic scrubbing brush and a soft toothbrush. If the gravesite is overgrown, consider bringing small pruning shears and scissors to trim down grass. That can be a nice touch once you clean the grave marker.
- How to clean: First, wet the monument with water. This keeps the detergent from penetrating the granite. Do not let the monument dry while you are cleaning it. Spray more water on it if the stone starts to dry and you have not rinsed it yet. Brush the detergent into the granite with the soft brush, starting at the bottom of the marker and moving to the top. Work in one direction.
- Rinse thoroughly: Once you are done washing the granite, rinse well to remove all detergent. Let it dry completely, and at that point, you may notice mineral deposits or other stains. Those can be addressed now that you’ve finished cleaning the monument.
- Consider stains carefully: Stains are unsightly, and you may be tempted to scrub away. Avoid taking that action. Do not use paste wax, polishes or granite sealers on grave markers—stick with your dish detergent. For dirt and bird droppings, using a few drops of detergent and water work fine. The toothbrush can address stains in the etchings. Just as with the first general cleaning, you need to rinse well once you are done removing stains.
- Removing heavier stains: Hard water stains from sprinkler systems are often the most difficult to remove. There are specific products for mineral deposits on granite, and you want to stick to those or risk ruining the marker. You can water it down for light stains or use it directly for heavier stains. Once done, rinse thoroughly. Other stains, like wood and organic stains, usually fade in the sun once you clean. If you want to help this process along, apply a few drops of ammonia with 15 percent hydrogen peroxide, and the stain will disappear.
- Know the proper frequency: Clean monuments no more than once a year. Memorial Day is a popular time to clean, not only because of the holiday’s purpose, but also because it is not too hot. It can be impossible to keep monuments wet on hot days, and that can cause more damage. If you notice stains when you visit your love one’s gravesite, do gentle spot cleaning, but save the more thorough cleaning for your yearly routine.
Steedley Monument Works specializes in the creation of granite monuments in Walterboro, SC. We can also recommend products to clean and preserve them. If you are concerned about preserving granite monuments, contact us today.