Dos & Don’ts for Cemetery Enthusiasts


  • Use Bleach to clean a stone:  bleach will dissolve soft stone like marble and will discolor stone over time.
  • Use Wet & Forget to clean a stone:  Wet & Forget is made for concrete.
  • Use Nyalox Brushes/Wheels to clean stones:  These were developed for the automotive industry and will remove the protective skin from the stone, leaving it open to the elements and deterioration.



  • Use Chalk to read a stone:  chalk is an abrasive mineral.  It can scratch the surface of the stone leaving tiny fissures that will darken and discolor with age.  
  • Use Flour to read a stone:  flour will mix with the moisture in the environment and turn into a hard, cement like substance that is hard to remove.
  • Use Shaving Cream to read a stone:  shaving cream contains many chemicals and greasy emollients that can get into the porous surface of the stone.  
  • Use Baby Powder to read stones:  baby powder contains talc, which is an abrasive mineral.  Like chalk, it can scratch the stone.
  • Use Cocoa to read a stone:  cocoa is a fine powder that can settle into the porous surface of the stone, staining it stone irreparably.  
  • Use Baking Soda to read a stone:  baking soda is an abrasive substance like chalk and talc.  It is also a chemical; it can react with the minerals in the stone.
  • Use Powdered Sugar to read a stone:  powdered sugar is comprised of fine granules, which can scratch stone. It also attracts ants, which can colonize and undermine the stones’ stability.  



  • Use only water and a soft brush to clean a stone.
  • Wet the stone with water to create a darker surface so the stone may be more easily read.
  • Feel the letters with your fingers.
  • Apply photo editing software or filters to make shadows pop out of the image.  
  • Use a mirror to capture the raking light and reflect the light onto the stone.  Shining the sunlight across the face of the stone will make the lettering stand out.  In wooded or shady areas, a flashlight can be used for the same effect.