Marble is a beautiful material, but it is vulnerable to environmental stains. Bird droppings on marble headstones can be a particular problems, particularly in cemeteries that are often frequented by birds. Use these seven top tips to clean bird droppings from monuments while protecting the precious marble.
1. Act Quickly
Marble is porous, which means that bird droppings can penetrate into the stone. This results in a yellow stain, which becomes more difficult to remove the longer you leave it. Clean marble regularly so stains from bird droppings don't have a chance to build up.
2. Wet the Stone First
Before starting to clean marble, you should always soak the headstone with plenty of clean water. The water soaks into the marble's pores, saturating and softening anything that is stuck to the stone to make it easier to remove.
3. Choose the Right Cleaning Product
You need to use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to remove stains from marble headstones. Avoid any cleaners that contain bleach, which can react with the marble to cause discolouration. You should also avoid using cleaning products that contain strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid. For best results, choose a specialist marble cleaning product to avoid damaging the stone.
4. Test Cleaning Products First
If you're not sure whether a cleaning product is suitable for use on marble, test it on an inconspicuous part of the headstone. Clean a small patch of stone and let it dry completely to check for any discolouration before you clean the rest of the marble headstone.
5. Use a Soft Brush
Always use a soft brush to clean marble monuments. Abrasive cleaning tools such as steel wool can scratch the soft stone. Pet brushes are often useful tools for cleaning marble. Scrub the stone with gentle, circular motions to gradually loosen the dried bird droppings, so you can wipe them away.
6. Avoid Pressure Washing
Avoid pressure washing marble monuments. The excess pressure can damage marble, which is a very soft stone. It's fine to use a hosepipe to rinse down the marble, but avoid using a high-pressure washer.
7. Rinse With Plenty of Water
If you leave cleaning product residue on the surface of marble, it can soak deep into the marble's pores and damage the stone. Always rinse marble with plenty of clean water after you have finished scrubbing away stains to remove all traces of cleaning products.