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How to clean rust stains from granite headstones

Updated February 21, 2017

Few things can be as important in life as keeping alive the memories and experiences you have had with loved ones, even after they have passed on. Headstones serve as memorials to our deceased loved ones, keeping their spirits and memories alive for us now and for generations in the future. Therefore, it is important to carefully maintain these memorials. Because they are exposed to the elements, granite headstones can develop rust stains from any metal with which they come in contact. Though rust can be one of the most difficult stains to remove from granite, some products will help with the care of your granite headstones.

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  1. Purchase Iron Out or Super Iron Out industrial cleaner from a hardware store. This stain remover is specially designed to work on rust stains on interior and exterior surfaces, including stone.

  2. Soak the surface of the granite headstone with warm, clean water.

  3. Wear protective gloves whenever working with abrasive chemical cleaners such as Iron Out.

  4. Mix one cup of Iron Out in a gallon of warm water. Soak your sponge or brush in the mixture and apply to all areas of the granite headstone with rust stains.

  5. Cover the Iron Out with plastic wrap to prevent it from evaporating. Allow to sit for 24 hours.

  6. Rinse the Iron Out and rust stains from the surface of the headstone using clean water. Scrub remaining stain from the surface. Repeat as necessary until stain is gone.

  7. Purchase a cleaner containing oxalic acid. These cleaners are available through hardware stores and stone speciality stores, or from the granite headstone manufacturers.

  8. Wear protective gloves whenever working with abrasive chemical cleaners containing oxalic acid.

  9. Dilute cleaner with water per instructions on your particular cleaner. Follow all instructions and warnings on your cleaner regarding dilution and cleaning time.

  10. Apply cleaner as directed to rust stains on the granite headstone. Rinse thoroughly when the cleaning is complete to remove any residue.

  11. Tip

    If you have any questions regarding a cleaning product, consult an expert at your local hardware store or at a granite headstone manufacturer.


    Keep Iron Out and oxalic acid from coming in contact with plants or grass near the headstone, as they can harm plants. Always wear protective gloves when working with chemical cleaners to prevent injury. Never mix strongly acidic cleaners such as oxalic acid with any other cleaners.

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Things You'll Need

  • Iron Out cleaner
  • Protective gloves
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge or scrub brush
  • Plastic wrap
  • Oxalic acid cleaner

About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

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