Use D/2 Biological Solution to Clean Gravestones

Genealogists and anyone else interested in preserving cemetery tombstones and other objects exposed to the weather should become familiar with D/2 Biological Solution. It is useful for cleaning tombstones without causing any damage to the stone.

The solution is safe for use and does not harm the tombstone. Even the highly-respected Association for Gravestone Studies recommends the product in the organization’s FAQs (Frequently-Asked Questions) at https://www.gravestonestudies.org/knowledge-center/faq-s#faqnoanchor:

“Treat a wet gravestone with D/2 Biological Solution, scrub into a lather using a plastic bristle brush, and smooth the lather into the inscription to make the letters more readable. Afterward, rinse the stone thoroughly.”

Further details may be obtained from A Graveyard Preservation Primer, 1st Edition, by Lynette Strangstad and published by the Association for Gravestone Studies at http://goo.gl/xM4Qx4.

D/2 Biological Solution is even used to clean the outside of the White House and also recently won a Veterans Administration contract to supply cleaner for over 3.5 million headstones and another contract to clean Civil War monuments at the Chickamauga battlefield. (Details may be found at http://d2bio.com/news.)

D/2 Biological Solution is a biodegradable, easy-to-use liquid that removes stains due to mold, algae, mildew, lichens and air pollutants. It is effective not only on tombstones, but also on marble, granite, limestone, brownstone, travertine, masonry, terra cotta, concrete, stucco, wood, and other architectural surfaces, including monuments and sculptures.

D/2 Biological Solution is easy to use. Apply it to the surface to be cleaned, preferably by using a soft-bristle brush. Wait 10 to 15 minutes, and then scrub the surface to be cleaned, again by using a soft nylon or natural bristle brush to loosen most biological and air pollutant staining. Never use a stiff brush or anything abrasive on a tombstone or other stone surface! Be sure to bring a watering can or other water source along so that you can rinse the solution off the cleaned surface when you’re done.

D/2 Biological Solution:

  • is biodegradable
  • will not harm plants, stone, animals or people
  • contains no acids, salts, or chlorine
  • is pH neutral
  • will not etch metals or glass
  • is not a hazardous material and requires no special handling or protection
  • is used full strength with no in-field mixing required
  • contains no carcinogenic compounds as defined by NTP, IARC, or OSHA
  • is considered essentially non-toxic by swallowing
  • requires no special ventilation during use
  • has a shelf life of 5 years

D/2 Biological Solution is available in 1-gallon and 5-gallon containers and 55-gallon drums.

All in all, I’d suggest this is a good product used to clean many surfaces, including tombstones. You can learn more about D/2 Biological Solution at http://d2bio.com. It can be ordered from a number of distributors with a list available at http://d2bio.com/buy-d2. I also found it available in 1-gallon containers from Amazon at http://goo.gl/LfebAH.

16 Comments

This sounds like a really good product; I especially like the environmentally friendly aspect of the product. But, the price, if doing a large area, ie a vinyl sided house gets really expensive. $40. per gallon, $185 for a 5 gal container. To be used full strength. Wow

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Thanks for this information, it is coming at a time when I have a tombstone badly in need of cleaning HOWEVER I thought I’d print it to take to my genealogy group for discussion and foolishly used the “print” for the article – this is not a “print friendly” button – as for what should or could be a two pager has turned into a 10 page printout – 8 pages going to the recycle box!

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D2 is great! I buy it by the case. There are 2 ways to use — 1. For quicker results, apply and rinse.
2. If you don’t have water, just apply. Either way results are fantastic!

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This isn’t the first time I’ve had advice about a great product that’s branded in the United States and been at a loss to find its equivalent in the UK. Does anyone know in this case?

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I would like to read some postings from someone who as actually used it on tombstones. And when they used it. Last month or last year…. Has there been any adverse effects over time?

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    We used it on a number of stones in the main cemetery in Perryville, KY 3 years ago. Hate to admit I haven’t been back, but thanks for the reminder to do so and check on the D/2 after three years.

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    I am an admin of a Facebook Group, Preserving Ohio’s Cemeteries, and there are several members in the group who do gravestone conservation for a living, and they have had nothing but high praise for using D/2 Biological Solution and their satisfaction with the product from start to finish. Yes, it can be used diluted.

    Limeworks offers it for sale on their website, and I believe the website saveagrave has a discount code to use at Limeworks when ordering the product so a buyer can save some at least.

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    Barb, I am a professional monuments conservator. Other than water, the only product I use to clean headstones is D2. I have used it or an equivalent product from another company exclusively for the past four years. I prefer D2 over the others. The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) did a six year study on various chemicals cleaning government issued veterans grave markers and found D2 to be the best of those tested and found no adverse affects to the monument.

    The NCPTT report is found at http://ncptt.nps.gov/blog/best-practice-recommendations-for-cleaning-government-issued-marble-headstones/

    Also, if you visit http://www.stonerevival.net/blog you will find information regarding the cleaning of grave markers.

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    Thanks for all the great reviews. I will be ordering D2 this week.

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I bought this last year from Limeworks.us and used it on a stone in April 2013. I put it in a spray bottle and just wet the stone, sprayed with water then sprayed with the D/2, brushed it a bit and left it sit for 10-15 minutes. I then rinsed it and resprayed and left it. The results were truly amazing! I’ve seen no ill effects over a years time. I took before and after pictures and sent to Limeworks.us just last month. They put the photos and my comments on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LimeWorks.us/photos/pcb.627601950661617/627598193995326/?type=1&theater I just used it on two more stones over Memorial Day weekend. You do NOT need to use a lot. A little goes a very LONG way! I have WAY over 3/4 of that gallon left. I did just buy another gallon since I intend to do more over the summer. It is well worth the price (and I’m a frugal person!)

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I use it all the time but you don’t need to scrub if you are not in a hurry. Just spray it on a “dry” stone and come back 90 days later and it is all clear. (Really bad stones might take a second application) Be sure not to apply just before a rainstorm of course. It protects too. See their web site.

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Thanks for this post. I have most of my family connections in Michigan & am planning several summer trips there. I see there is a D/2 distributor in southern Michigan, and I’ve sent them a query about picking up a gallon while I am on the road.

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Just finished cleaning a few stones using D/2 today. It worked wonders on cleaning a very dirty stone. Was tutored by a professional gravestone cleaner who has been using this product for over 4 years. Results are fantastic and all reports indicate this to be the only really recommended cleaner for safe cleaning of headstones. I am sold and have also purchased my first of many gallons.

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