Due to the extreme heat, I am not working every day, and on days that I do work, I may not stay on site beyond 1 p.m. or so.
Thoughts for Summer
I was recently visiting a cemetery to inspect a stone for conservation work and I spoke with several workers who were taking a break.
The majority of cemeteries provide mowing and trimming, but do not do any work in regards to gravestones. When I asked about this, the worker said his crew will straighten some stones and several years ago had taken bleach and cleaned a number of headstones in the cemetery. While some may ask if this is important, household bleach is known to cause damage to marble and should never be used. (See U S gov't report on cleaning solutions in the "Links" section, and check under the section "Recommendations" of the report).
As well, in every cemetery that I know of, the stones are property of the family, even if the plots are not; would you allow someone to paint your house or automobile without your permission? Sadly, the bleach damage to the stone is not something that can be repaired, as it affects the material (marble) itself, not just the surface.
Check on policies and procedures at the cemeteries wherein your family is interred to see what they do and don't do. In many cases, they may not even be aware of such harmful things, and would be happy to follow the "best practices" in the field.
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