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How to remove calcium build-up on headstone

Q. How would I get rid of calcium buildup on a headstone? The primary surface is polished and where the engraving is it is rough. The calcium from the hard water has caused a buildup, especially in the rough area. What should I use to get the calcium cleaned out and also calcium film on the polished area. Thanks for your response.

A. This will depend on whether the headstone is marble or granite. Here are the procedures for each:

 
For Marble:
Scrape as much of the build up off as you can with a plastic putty knife. With a good neutral stone cleaner and a white cloth, scrub what remains. Repeat this step until clean. If you must, use a non-scratch white scrub pad. Be aware that aggressive the cleaning methods may produce faster results but also increase the possibility of scratching the polished finish. 
 
For Granite:
Use the same procedure as you would with marble, but you can use a mild acid such as sulfamic if the neutral cleaner won't cut it. You can buy this type of acid at most home centers. 
 
Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Fred Hueston
Chief Technical Director, SurpHaces
President, Stone Forensics
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