Rose Ridge Cemetery
Co. Rt. 33, Naples, NY

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CLEANING HEADSTONES -  For marble, limestone and sandstone, use water and soft bristle brushes, natural or nylon. Granted it doesn't sound like a miracle cleaner and it doesn't happen quickly but with some patience and time this will clean most environmental soiling and lichens from stones. Keep the stone wet at all times; really wet. Where a garden hose is not available, be sure to bring plenty of jugs of water and keep dowsing the stone as you work and, most importantly, flush the stone well when done. Scrub the stone from the bottom up to avoid streaking and further staining. Household ammonia can be used if one can stand the aroma, but again be sure you flush the stone completely, more than one or two times, when you are done. Use a mix as you would for household cleaning, about 1 cup to a gallon of water. Don't buy ammonia with anything extra in it, such as scents and suds. Wearing proper eye protection is also a must.

If lichen is a problem, you can soak it down with water and scrape with a wooden or plastic scraper. Tongue blades or craft sticks and inexpensive plastic putty scrapers from home stores work well. Remember, no metal. There are also politicking techniques that can be used to soften lichen. Many lichens will, once removed, leave a scaring affect on the stone because the waste product they give off is an acid that works with the stone's own salts and chemistry to erode it or bleach out some of its mineral component. 

A special Thanks for the Rose Ridge Cemetery, Naples, New York Project done by Helen Fox, John Mosher & Shirley Pridmore Simpson


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