How to Clean a Cemetery Monument

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by Nick Kurz

cemetery monument cleaning ada oklahomaCemetery monuments should last a very long time, but a handful of things can affect a monuments’ appearance. Weather conditions like snow, rain, fluctuating temperatures, and sunlight can cause monuments to get dirty and deteriorate over time. Tree sap, falling leaves, bird droppings, plant growth, and sometimes even the cemetery’s irrigation system can change monuments’ appearance. Luckily, cleaning supplies and some elbow grease can restore a monument to its original state. Here are some tips for properly cleaning a cemetery monument. 

What Not to do when Cleaning a Cemetery Monument

The first and foremost thing to remember is never clean a monument that’s not one of your loved ones’. This means that if it is not an immediate family member’s headstone or gravemarker, you should not clean it without the immediate family’s consent.

Second, don’t attempt to clean a marker or memorial that appears to have physical damage or might be unsteady. You don’t want to damage the monument more by trying to clean it.

Third, cleaning on a very hot or frigid day is not a good idea. Sweltering temperatures cause surfaces like granite to become very hot, evaporating any solutions you use to clean the monument. Cold days will make you uncomfortable and, most likely, not do your best work.

Materials you Need to Clean a Cemetery Monument


Although using a water hose would be the most convenient water source option, it usually proves impossible. You’ll likely need to bring water with you. Five gallons is the minimum amount you will need.


You will need a natural or “sea” sponge to clean a monument. Do not use the cheap ones or the two-sided kitchen sponges because the dyes in them can be transferred to the stone and stain it.

Scraping Tools 

You should bring a few wooden or plastic scraping tools to get in the hard-to-reach places like engraved images or words. Avoid using metal scraping tools because this can damage the monument by chipping or breaking pieces off. 

Towels and More

Having a few towels on hand will be very helpful in this process. Make sure they’re old ones or towels that you don’t mind ruining if they get too dirty or stained. You can also use them to dry the stone after the cleaning is finished or dry your hands off.

Steps to Cleaning a Cemetery Monument

Here are a few short steps to guide you through the cleaning process. 

  1. Remove and clear away any debris surrounding the monument. 
  2. Thoroughly wet the marker or memorial using a sponge or pouring water over the area you want to clean. 
  3. Remove dirt by scrubbing in a circular motion from top to bottom. 
  4. Rinse the stone thoroughly with clean water. 


You love the person that the headstone or grave marker represents, so you need to be sure that the cemetery monument is in tip-top shape. If you need help cleaning a marker, contact Gifford Monument in Ardmore and Ada, Oklahoma, today! We can continue to guide you in the right direction or help you design the proper monument for your family member. Be sure and follow us on Facebook for additional information and exclusive offers.  

Nick Kurz