Why It Is Important To Be Careful When Cleaning Headstones

Headstones are an important part of remembering deceased loved ones, and many people across Australia take it upon themselves to clean them up when visiting the cemetery. While some cemeteries do have full-time cleaners employed, these professionals are often extremely busy and can take a long time to get to the headstones important to you. That is understandable, and this is why many people try clean headstones on their own. However, if you do this with no foresight or knowledge, you may end up making the problem much worse. Here are a few reasons why.

The Material

Headstones come in many forms, from metal to granite and everything in between. The most popular materials are obviously stone or rock-based, as that is something cultural that has been around for thousands of years. What you need to understand is that different forms of stone respond differently to cleaning techniques. Cleaning mould or grime off limestone headstones will be a very different process than cleaning a marble headstone. Before you go clean your headstones, ensure you know the material you will be cleaning and the specific process to clean that material, not a general guide to cleaning all surfaces.


The number one mistake people make when cleaning headstones is using extremely strong chemicals. While there is a certain logic to using bleach or even something less potent like ammonia, these chemicals will eat away at the surface of the headstones. This can trick you into thinking they have successfully cleaned the headstones, and in a way they have, but they will also damage the signage and the colour of your headstones. Sometimes, less is more, and that is definitely the case when it comes to the required soaps and detergents used to clean headstones. The best way to get mould and grime out isn't with toxic cleaners but with some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. 

Cleaning Utensils

Never use a scouring pad or steel wool to clean headstones. These will also chip away at the protective layers that are often put on headstones to protect them from the elements. What you want to do is use softly bristled brushes, rags and even something more delicate like a cotton bud for dabbing and getting in tight areas. If you read an instruction for cleaning headstones that includes utensils other than that, you should be very wary about it. There is no secret to cleaning headstones; it is a labour of love that many people are happy to take the time to do every year or so. The last thing you want to do is to accidentally damage an old headstone, so be careful and always double-check any instructions you plan on following.

To learn more, contact a headstone supplier.