Now that Memorial day is almost here, many families are getting back out to cemeteries to decorate their memorials or just to visit. This is the time of year we get many calls and inquiries about how to properly clean a memorial. Many times it is a simple process, but depending on what type of memorial you have, you might want to take certain precautions to make sure you don’t do damage.
What is growing on my memorial?
One question we get a lot is, “what is growing on my memorial?” The short answer is, probably just lichens or moss due to shade and moisture. Usually, it will be green or a green-brown color. Typically you see this on memorials that do not have polish although and can grow on anything and can be removed!
We also get calls from panicked families that they can no longer read the lettering on their memorial. They say the lettering is “coming out” or “fading”. Have no fear usually the memorial just needs a good cleaning and it will look like new.
Best approach to cleaning your memorial
So how do you clean a memorial? If you have a standard polished monument we recommend some warm water, Dawn dish soap, and a microfiber or non-abrasive cloth. You would be amazed at what some Dawn can do! You can also use Windex if you do not have a water source.
For areas of the memorial that do not have polish, you might need a little more elbow grease to get it cleaned. Especially if you notice organic material growing. Some dawn and a nylon scrub brush would work to get it cleaned. Don’t be worried if it doesn’t dry right away either. It takes longer the unpolished surfaces of memorials to dry!
Cleaning your memorial might require a professional
In some cases, we recommend hiring a professional. If you are looking to clean a bronze or marble/limestone memorial, we would recommend calling someone who has experience with cleaning these types of memorials as they are delicate and require more care. We work with Tim Walters at Monu-Bright Cemetery Restorations. Tim has been in the memorial industry for over 15 years and his father has been in this industry for 20. He grew up in cemeteries and knows his stuff. He takes great care of the memorials he restores. We also recommend him for basic cleaning if you live out of town or cannot physically do the work yourself. He can clean almost any type of cemetery product.
Lastly, don’t forget about vases! These usually go overlooked even though they get much use. We recommend every time you are at the cemetery, cleaning your vases. Take out old flowers and make sure no dirt and grime are in the weep hole near the bottom of the vase. If you have granite vases this is especially important as they can clog and freeze in the winter and have the potential to break. Cleaning out old flowers is important because bees and other bugs can and do make nests in there. I have seen it, especially with bees and if you do not know they are there it can be dangerous!
Though this seems like a lot, care and maintenance of your memorial is rather simple. The experts at Dodds are always here to assist with questions. We want to make sure that your lasting vision of love is taken care of properly and is beautiful for generations to come!