It is fairly easy to maintain a grave if you start immediately. Regular trimming of the grass around the stone and a light cleaning with water and a soft brush should be all is needed. Most cemeteries provide a water source, but rural cemeteries may be on a well system and have high mineral or iron in their water, which could damage or stain the stone. In those cases, it is better to bring a jug of water from home.
It does not take long for algae or moss to form on stones, especially in the engravings. If your loved ones’ stones are located under trees, tree sap might also be a problem.
The older the stone, the greater the neglect. With a little work, they can be restored.
Supplies: (Most can be found inexpensively at a Dollar Store)
• Soft Bristle Brush – natural or nylon fiber – We find a long-handled toilet bowl brush works well
• Plastic scraper
• Wooden stick with point for getting into small places (cuticle stick or something similar)
• Cutting tool for removing grass around stone
• D2 Biological Solution – available in a variety of sizes on Amazon.com or AtlasPreservation.com.
• 2 Spray bottles… 1 each for D2 and Water – If you are going to be doing a lot of cleaning of stones, we recommend investing in an inexpensive sprayer, like those used for weed killers. We found ours for $8.99 at Home Depot and it has been well worth the investment.
The general procedure for cleaning a stone using D2 Biological Solution is to firstly spray the stone with water. Then apply the D2. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes on the stone. Then gently brush the stone using a soft bristle brush to loosen the dirt and algae. Depending on the build up, this make take awhile. Rinse the stone with water and repeat the process if necessary. If algae has built up on the stone, gently use a plastic scraper to remove it. Any algae or dirt inside the inscription or carvings can be dislodged using the point of a wooden stick.
NEVER POWERWASH A STONE OR USE HARSH CHEMICALS SUCH AS BLEACH, AMMONIA, OR BATHROOM CLEANERS.
These can permanently damage a stone.
It has been our experience that D2 Biological Solution will continue to work long after it is sprayed on. As we are always limited in time when visiting family cemeteries in the Midwest, we are now simply spraying stones with D2 and allowing time to work for us. Granted, this method does not offer immediate gratification, but we can clean and maintain more stones this way.
*If a stone is leaning, broken, or in need of other repair, please contact a professional with experience.