See why Wet & Forget Outdoor is your Best Bet for Cleaning Headstones

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and the long weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer is also a time when we pay our respects to those who are no longer with us. Unfortunately, growths such as lichen, moss and algae can make a mess of the most beautiful headstone, and even make the writing completely unreadable.

Wet & Forget Outdoor eliminates even the toughest growths and makes your loved one’s memorial stone beautiful again with no scrubbing, and is gentle enough to use on any type of headstone.

Read on to discover why Wet & Forget Outdoor is your top option for cleaning headstones, and to see more amazing before and after photos.

The Problem: Ugly Growths

Any type of headstone can fall victim to ugly growths such as lichen, moss, algae, or mold and mildew. All that’s necessary for these disfiguring stains to take hold is some moisture and the right amount of sunlight.

Here are the most common culprits that can mar your loved one’s monument:

  1. Lichen. Lichen is a complex growth that can be just about any color, from green to yellow, or even reddish. Lichen is extremely hardy: It can grow on almost any surface, even glass, and has been found on all of Earth’s continents, including Antarctica.
  2. Lichen is one of the most severe growths for headstones. This scaly growth can become thick enough to completely fill in carvings and make burial markers completely unreadable (see photos 1 and 2 above). Lichen forms a tight hold on the headstone that makes it stubborn and difficult to clean. Worse yet, if left unchecked, lichen’s grip can cause permanent pitting on some surfaces.
  3. Moss. Moss is a green, carpet-like simple plant that can grow on and around tombstones. Just like lichen, moss growth can fill in the writing on a tombstone and make it illegible. Moss’s root-like structures hold tightly to the tombstone’s surface and can cause pitting on some surfaces. Moss also likes to grow in cracks and crevices and can worsen any cracking or crumbling on a tombstone.
  4. Algae. Algae is a simple plant-like growth that can appear on many surfaces, including gravestones. Green algae is a smooth or slippery green growth that thrives where there is moisture and partial sunlight (click here to see a photo of green algae on vinyl siding). Black algae is a black or gray growth that also thrives where there is moisture and sunlight. Black algae’s protective dark capsule makes it able to grow even under the brightest direct sunlight, which is why it often invades rooftops and sidewalks. Black algae can make a gravestone look as though it’s been rubbed with soot, severely affecting its appearance (click here to see a photo of a cemetery that has fallen victim to black algae).
  5. Mold and mildew. “Mold and mildew” is a term we use to talk about a slippery, smelly fungal growth. Mold is usually black, gray or white, but it can also be other colors. Mold grows well in shady, damp areas, so gravestones in shaded parts of the cemetery are most susceptible to this musty-smelling growth.


“Enclosed please find my pictures of a very old family cemetery marker in Wisconsin. This marker was laden with moss and lichens and most of the names were hardly readable.

After only 2 applications of Wet & Forget last summer (2013) this is what the marker looks like now (spring 2014). We are so happy that your product makes such easy work of helping things look new again and keeping them that way with very little effort. Thank you for developing such a great product!”

— Joye D., WI

The Solution: Wet & Forget Outdoor

Lichen, moss, algae, mold and mildew can really ruin the appearance of any type of headstone. If you use caustic chemicals such as bleach to remove these growths, you risk damaging the surface of some types of tombstones.

Bleaching also requires scrubbing, which can leave you with bleach-stained clothes and chapped hands, and can kill the grass surrounding the stone. And, after all that hassle, bleach does nothing to prevent growths from starting to re-form almost immediately.

Wet & Forget Outdoor Cleaner eliminates lichen, moss, algae, and mold and mildew with no scrubbing necessary. Just spray and leave to zap ugly growths and restore headstones to a clean, beautiful state.

Wet & Forget Outdoor’s gentle, non-caustic formula is safe to use on any type of headstone, and it won’t kill the grass around the stone. Better still, Wet & Forget Outdoor continues working with the wind and rain over time to keep ugly growths away for a year or more in most cases.

Just one simple treatment a year can keep headstones growth-free for good!


How to Clean a Headstone with Wet & Forget Outdoor

Cleaning headstones with Wet & Forget Outdoor couldn’t be easier! Simply:

  1. Mix one part Wet & Forget Outdoor with 5 parts water in a pump-up garden sprayer.
  2. Spray the affected area with the diluted Wet & Forget Outdoor. Allow at least 4 to 5 hours’ drying time before the threat of rain.
  3. Walk away, and let Wet & Forget outdoor do the work for you!
  4. Treat once a year, or at the first sign of re-growth.

*To remove moss, be sure to saturate the moss completely in order to allow the solution to reach the moss’s root-like structures. To remove lichen, follow these special instructions


  1. April Cook

    This memorial day I am going with my grandmother to clean off the gravestones of our family members. I didn’t know that there were products you could put on the stones to keep off unwanted growths. What effect does this have on the quality of the stone? How often do you have to apply it? It would be nice to keep them clean year round. Thanks for this information!

    1. Wet And Forget

      Hi April,
      Wet & Forget is perfectly safe to use on delicate headstones to clean them, and keep them clean from moss, mold, mildew, and algae. Being gentle without any bleach or harsh chemicals, you can be worry-free when using Wet & Forget to clean gravestones. A yearly application will keep headstones looking great!

  2. Frances thompson

    Is wet and forget safe to use on grave markers?

    1. Wet And Forget

      Hi Frances,
      Yes, Wet & Forget Moss Mold Mildew & Algae Stain Remover is safe to use on grave markers, headstones, tombstones, and monuments.

  3. Luke Yancey

    I didn’t know that bleach is not recommended for cleaning gravestones. I am trying to clean a few for my family and want to do the best to remove the moss without causing excess damage. I will try Wet & Forget Outdoor and see how it works. Furthermore, do you know of any stone materials that prevent the growth of moss?

    1. Wet And Forget

      Hi Luke,
      As far as preventing moss, mold, mildew, and algae on headstones, copper is a material that will prevent growth from forming on surfaces. Sometimes you’ll see roofs with copper strips installed at the top because when rain hits the copper, the water disinfects the area and prevents algae, mold, and moss from being able to grow. A stone material that could prevent mold and moss from forming would be fantastic!

  4. Jane

    None of the pictures showed polished granite, is it OK to use on polished granit

    1. Wet And Forget

      Hi Jane,
      Yes, Wet & Forget is safe to use on polished granite headstones.

  5. siaosi

    I did not know that headstones needed to be cleaned regularly. It is nice to know that all you have to do is water it down and walk away. I would not want to make sure there is not over growth on the head stones.

    1. Wet and Forget

      Wet & Forget is great headstone cleaner. Wet & Forget works over time with the wind and rain to gently clean off moss, mold, mildew, and algae.

  6. Donna

    Can you tell me about how long it takes for this to work? I know it will depend on the level of growth on the surface to be cleaned, but it would help to have a rough idea. My sister and I are doing a research trip and know there are many unreadable headstones in the family cemetery. If we spray the stones and go back a week later, should there be a difference yet? Thank you!

    1. Wet and Forget

      Hi Donna,
      Wet & Forget is a gentle product that takes time to work. Usually, a green algae growth or stain will clean up in a week or two. The average time for cleanup on a black mold, mildew or heavy moss growth/stain will take a couple of months. The time frame depends on how severe of a moss, mold, mildew or algae growth you have on the headstone and how much rainfall you are getting. If you have a green algae growth on the surface, you should see results a week after applying.

  7. Sylvia Marlett

    can wet and forget work on green platene on a bronze stone

    1. Wet and Forget

      Hi Sylvia,
      Wet & Forget will not remove green patina on a bronze stone. However, Wet & Forget will remove moss, mold, mildew, or algae growths and stains on a bronze stone.