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I want to share a personal experience with you. One about doubt and patience. Even those of us who clean headstones for a living need a lesson in faith and the power of time.

Before cleaning - yuck!

Last April, my father and I took on the biggest cleaning challenge we'd encountered: our own family gravestone that was installed in 1932. The top was completely green with lichen, the base was dark with weathered dirt, and there was a horrible dark green/black splotch across the back of the stone, so deep we could barely make out the names. Here's a close-up of one corner - ugh!

With a few doubts, we set to work on restoring the stone. First, we wet it thoroughly with plain water, sprayed it with D/2 Biological Solution, scrubbed it in, and left it to sit. I came back in a week or so and repeated the process. I was able to take a stiff nylon brush and remove dirt and lichen, bit by bit. A lot of water and elbow grease was used that day! It was a lot better when I finished, but I feared the dark stains would remain; faint, but still marring the surface.

Fast forward 4 months. Dad and I were in the same cemetery for another client. We decided to check on our family stone and could not believe our eyes: the stone was completely free of those dark stains - you'd never know it was 85 years old! We'd worked on tough stones before, and they'd come out terrific, but our stone had such dark stains we weren't sure they would come completely out. Oh we of little faith! The right product, good technique, and a bit of patience turned our stone from an eyesore into a show piece!

Sometimes even the experts get surprised. But I hope we've learned our lesson - patience & trust go hand in hand with hard work. So, bring on the next tough project: we'll make it shine!

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