Anders Family
David Asbel Anders with
Jim and Tina Smith Anders

US GenWeb Project

Rufus and Florence Hall Owen Family in 1947
Rufus and Florence Hall Owen and children

US GenWeb Archives Project


Transylvania County, NC 

GenWeb Project

NC GenWeb


Cleaning, Reparing, and The
Preservation of Tombstones

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Cleaning and Preservation of Tombstones:

Water and a soft bristle brush (don't ever use a wire brush or anything metal) is the best way to clean a marker, but if necessary, only non-ionic detergents should be used for removing dirt, algae, and lichen from the stone. If the lichen has been stuck on for quite some time, try to gently scrape it off with a fingernail, plastic scraper, or wood craft stick.

When cleaning a headstone, it is important to never use soap, such as Ivory, or commercial household detergents, as these solutions are rendered insoluble by calcium ions present in stone and hard water. Cleaning materials that contain phosphoric acid, such as Lime Away or Naval Jelly, may stain the marker or leave soluble salts behind.

Do not use products that contain sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, trisodium phosphate (Calgon), and ammonium carbonate, as they may form and deposit soluble salts in the headstone. Clorox (sodium hypochlorite) is not recommended because it turns marble yellow. Borax (sodium hydroxide) will cause a stone to begin to disintegrate. Calgon contains a number of additives that may cause the stone to deteriorate.

Non-ionic detergents  are available from janitorial and conservation suppliers. One example, named Photo-Flo, is available from photography supply stores. Another brand, called Orvus, is available from feed stores and livestock supply stores in either liquid or cream form. Non-ionic detergents are recommended for gravestones because they do not contain or contribute to the formation of soluble salts, but aid in the removal of dirt and lichen.

Or you can read more at the link below.

Restoration and Tombstone Repair: