Life's Dirty. Clean Easy.

How to Clean a Headstone with Wet & Forget

By Wet & Forget
Wet & Forget will gently clean a headstone

Memorial Day is quickly approaching and as families and friends prepare, they reach out to us with many questions about how to properly clean tombstones and monuments. 

Here we will walk you through the step-by-step gentle process on how to safely and effectively clean a variety of types of headstones, memorials, and grave markers with Wet & Forget Outdoor.

Why do headstones look dirty?

Wet & Forget cleans green and black growth on headstones

The reason is most likely algae, lichen, moss, mold, or mildew growth and stains. These growths develop on the surface, making headstones and memorials look dark and dirty.

The majority of monuments sit outside and are constantly subjected to moist, humid conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions promote unsightly growths to take hold and grow. This is especially true in the southern U.S. where high humidity is common.

How can I remove these growths?

Discover how to clean a headstone with Wet & Forget

The good news is Wet & Forget removes those blackish-brown stains from headstones, memorials, and grave markers with no scrubbing or harsh chemicals. And restores headstones to their original bright and easy-to-read finish.

Although Wet & Forget can be applied to headstones any time of year, early spring is a perfect time to brighten and clean in preparation for Memorial Day. Here’s the how-to:

Simply spray the surface with Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use, making sure all headstone surfaces are fully saturated with product. You are done!

Wet & Forget Outdoor cleans the headstones and monuments over time with the wind and the rain. No scrubbing required!

Note: If you’re cleaning multiple headstones or a headstone with very heavy growth, we recommend using the Wet & Forget Concentrate in a garden pump sprayer for quicker application. The 1-Gallon Concentrate makes 6 gallons when mixed 5:1 with water.

Watch the video below to see how to easily apply Wet & Forget to headstones-

A note about removing lichen: Lichen is one of the more challenging growths to clean from memorial stones. To remove lichen, saturate the surface with Wet & Forget. Wait 15 minutes and spray the surface again.

This second spray will work the product into the second layer of the lichen. The dead lichen will begin to clear within a few months.

Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use makes small-scale outdoor cleaning a breeze! The product consists of a pre-mixed formula plus a high-capacity sprayer. Just spray it on and leave it.

Clean up black stains on headstones with Wet & Forget

Some preservationists state that when using a product on a gravestone it must be rinsed after applying. If you want to rinse off the surface, we recommend doing so 4 hours after the application.

The NCPTT has found that quaternary ammonium compounds are recommended for headstone cleaning. Wet & Forget is a quaternary ammonium compound, which makes it safe for all types of headstones.

Did you know Wet & Forget has been used to clean Revolutionary War gravestones? Click here to learn more.

See the results:

Wet & Forget works with the rain and wind to clean gravestones

Light green growths usually disappear from the surface within one to two weeks after application. Stubborn blackish-brown growth typically begins to clear one to two months after applying Wet & Forget.

Black stains on headstone

headstone cleaning

Wet & Forget Outdoor Cleaner is non-caustic, non-acidic, and free of phosphates and bleach so it is safe for use on memorials including surfaces such as:

  • Granite
  • Sandstone
  • Limestone
  • Fieldstone
  • Slate
  • Marble
  • Concrete
  • Wood

Headstone cleaning is quick and easy with Wet & Forget. Learn more about applying Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use:

How to attach the spray nozzle:

  • Remove the sticker placed over the flip cap and then remove the flip cap.
  • Locate the coiled hose inside the sprayer and fully extend the hose. It will stretch to approximately 36 inches.
  • Firmly insert the hose tip into the cap.
  • You’re ready to spray!

Wet & forget before

Application Tips:

  • Apply Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use to dry outdoor surfaces. For optimal cleaning, check the forecast for the chance of rain occurring within the next 4 to 5 hours. If rain is predicted, wait to apply the product.
  • To minimize product evaporation, apply Wet & Forget Ready-To-Use in cool, dry weather.
  • Be sure to saturate growth and stains thoroughly.
  • Don’t forget to spray the carved lettering and various crevices as well.
  • For best results, do not spray the product on extremely hot days or during the hottest part of the day.
  • Apply Wet & Forget when outdoor temperatures are above freezing, and when outdoor temperatures are predicted to remain above freezing for 5 hours afterward.

Wet & Forget honors and recognizes the many sacrifices military members, veterans, and their families make for our nation. The Wet & Forget team is excited to be currently working with a volunteer group of veterans on a project to clean other veteran’s memorials and gravestones.

Stay tuned for the full story and some great before & after photos.

See how Wet & Forget cleaned up stubborn green and black growth on a monument here.