Caring for Mementos: How to Clean Cemetery Tombstones

Caring for Mementos: How to Clean Cemetery Tombstones

Your deceased loved ones may have passed on to the afterlife, but that doesn’t mean that they no longer have tangible traces in this world. This is why cemeteries are places where those left behind can revisit their relatives, friends, and partners’ lives by respecting their memories.

These memorials are usually exposed to the elements by being set in a flat field of other tombstones and grave markers. Unless your deceased loved one’s cemetery tombstone is in a mausoleum, it will likely experience wear and tear over time. For this reason, you may need to maintain these mementos unless you want to pay for a replacement.

How to Properly Clean a Cemetery Tombstone

All forms of grave markers, from flat stone headstones to more intricate bronze monuments, will deteriorate. This is primarily due to constant exposure to sunlight, rain, snow, and even nearby plant growth. This is why it’s necessary to maintain your deceased’s mementos to prevent wear and tear from breaking them completely. Thankfully, you can easily do this yourself by following a few cleaning guidelines.

In this article, we’ll share three things you should consider when cleaning a cemetery tombstone.

1. Inspect the Marker

It’s important to understand that cleaning a marker should only push through if it’s in good structural condition. If there are signs of complications like chipping, cracking, or peeling, cleaning it would further compromise the grave marker’s state. This is more noticeable with statues or tombstones that are uneven or show signs of falling over when moved.

If there are no significant physical complications with your grave marker, you can proceed to clean. Remember that temperature fluctuations can affect the success of your cleaning efforts. For this reason, you should schedule your cleaning on a cloudy day. This is the best time where it’s not very hot or cold.

2. Bring the Right Materials

You need to bring the right materials to clean a cemetery tombstone. Since you’ll most likely be in an open field, it’s important to get your own water source if a faucet or garden house is out of reach. Five gallons should be enough to clean a small grave marker for washing and rinsing.

With your bucket of water, you need to bring a sea sponge to wipe down your grave marker. You’ll also need scraping tools and brushes of varying sizes to remove stains and marks. For your post-cleaning process, don’t forget to bring towels to wipe down the marker and a garbage bag to put your cleaned debris in.

3. Follow the Proper Cleaning Process

First, wear rubber gloves and wear a facemask if you’re allergic to dust and pollen. Afterward, thoroughly wet the grave marker by pouring water on the surface. This is important to avoid dry-to-dry surface contact, which can leave hard-to-remove scratches on your marker.

Next, rub along the marker’s surface in a circular motion, from the bottom to the top. Doing so lets you rinse the cleaned surface to flow downward and prevent areas from staining when you haven’t cleaned them yet. After it’s wet, you can then use your scraping tools to remove moss, grass, algae, and other debris with ease. Finally, after going through all the nooks and crannies of the monument, you can give it another rinse to wipe it clean.


Even if our loved ones pass away, that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. We can still remember them through photographs, their old belongings, and most importantly, their grave markers. Since these are important testaments to their lives, it’s important to maintain them as your duty to be a part of their lives. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or training to care for these mementos properly.

At Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL, we provide the best place for your deceased loved ones to take their rest. Besides being in a peaceful environment to welcome their final days, we provide essential services to maintain and care for their cemetery tombstones. Contact us today, and we’ll ensure that your dead loved ones’ mementos are properly cared for even in the afterlife.

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