How to clean a headstone without killing the plants growing around it?

The headstones of some of my family are covered with moss maybe? I don't know what it is, but it's covering the words on the stones, and I'd like to clean them.

However, there are plants growing around most of the stones, and I don't want chemicals to kill them.

Would I just use a mild soap and a scrub brush?

Thanks for any help!

7 Answers

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  • Sombra
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Try a Mr Clean Magic Eraser (or similar, you can buy the equivalent at Dollar Tree or Dollar General for less, and they work just the same) Mildly abrasive, but no cleanser or chemicals, just water to activate and to rinse. Go slow and easy. It might take longer, but it doesn't matter if it's mold or mildew or moss or lichen, you can scrub it away with no chemicals and no cleansers and no damage to the surrounding plants. Just rinse with water, and done.

  • Ann
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Lay something like a painter's drop cloth over the plants, so they won't get splashed with anything. Then use a detergent (like Dawn or another soap that will cut grease), and work on the stone with nylon scrubbers and brushes. Don't use anything with metal, because if the stone marker is old, it might destroy it. It will probably take more than one session to really get the stone clean. After you get the initial dirt/moss off, you can come back with another solution that has some bleach in it, and repeat the scrubbing. There is a man here in TX who does this for headstones from the 1800's, and he says it takes him 3-4 sessions of scrubbing to get one really clean.

  • 5 months ago

    Yes, soap, water and a scrubbing brush will do the trick. You might also find it helpful to carefully scrape the worst off before starting, if you can do that without damaging the stones. As it happens, I too lay a plastic bin bag over the plants beneath where I'm working to avoid splashing them, though I doubt if that actually would do any harm.

  • marty
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Always begin with clean water, a soft scrub brush, and plastic scrapers. Completely saturate the stone to be cleaned with water. A pump sprayer works best for most gravestone cleaning operations. Home centers sell various types with prices starting as low as $ 10. A sprayer will use much less water then the old bucket and brush method.

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  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    You could also use a small stripping or filling scraper/knife to get into all the nooks and crannies on their headstones.

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Put a plastic bin liner over the plants, then use a brush and detergent.

    Simple.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    mix a solution of 50 percent regular household bleach and

    50 percent water, and

    scrub the stone, using only a nylon or fiber brush (do not use anything containing metal)

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