Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Found on Facebook: The Videos and News Stories about the Florida Carpet Cleaner Turned Sunday Gravestone Cleaner / My Questions - What is the blue liquid in the spray bottle? What is "Purple Magic" and Should It be Used to Clean Gravestones?

If you are a regular Facebook user then there is a good likelihood that during the past week you have seen others share links to the stories (original and follow up) about the Florida carpet cleaner who works six days a week and on his day off he turns his attention to cleaning veterans' gravestones at his local cemeteries.  Perhaps you have shared the stories yourself as well.  

In the videos, we watch this quiet-spoken man carrying buckets, a plastic brush, and a big plastic container full of water that he takes from the back of his company truck.  He carries it all to a veteran's gravesite.  We watch as he starts his cleaning process of spraying, scrubbing and rinsing the marker.  He explains his reasons for doing this type of work and what motivates him.   He tells us why it is important for him to spend his day off cleaning veterans' gravestones.  

Apparently, judging from the unexpected huge response and comments, the readers are decidedly supportive of his efforts and his kind and caring concern for keeping the veterans' gravestones looking clean and presentable.  It is natural the readers and viewers want to learn more and follow in his footsteps.   

Unfortunately, however, those folks making comments about the story that include instructional type remarks and share links to resources that focus on the importance of always using proper products and practices, are often met with responses that they are not supportive of him and his work and thus are only making "preachy" type comments that  'blast' him, etc. 

Truth and Reality can be spoilers and unwelcome visitors that dampen the spirits and resolve of those trying to stay on a path that leads them to ignore their existence.  Yet, it is wise to acknowledge and learn from them. 

Those who have been involved one way or another with cemetery preservation and gravestone conservation know that it is certainly not a new or novel endeavor to be cleaning gravestones; some have made it their profession. 

Throughout America's communities; both large and small, there are literally countless individuals, mostly volunteers working either alone or in organized groups; trekking to cemeteries with their buckets, spray bottles of cleaners, large water bottles, soft bristle brushes, wood and plastic scrapers, and with plenty of personal elbow grease - who tirelessly donate their time cleaning gravestones.   If there is a newspaper story written about their work it is generally local in nature with a readership that rarely reaches beyond the county borders. 

But, for some odd reason, this one news story has caught our national attention, and it has propelled this one man into the global spotlight.  It is being said that these videos "have gone viral" which means the whole world is watching!    

Maybe it was his mention that his work just might be the next "ice bucket challenge" that has sparked a desire in others to follow his lead, I don't know, but it has happened nonetheless.
In the videos we see him using a spray bottle containing lighter blue color liquid.  I have watched videos of people cleaning gravestones and have never seen a blue color solution in their bottles.  I think others noticed it too in the first video. 

 Thus, it is important to learn what is the liquid in the spray bottle.  

In the follow up video, we learn from the carpet cleaner that he used "Purple Magic" which is purple, and D/2 Biological Solution which is clear.  Did he perhaps mix them together?  Did he use them independently of each other?  Were they diluted? 

So, we learned that the carpet cleaner uses "D2"  (we see a big picture of the product's logo) followed by his mention of  "Purple Magic"and a picture of a large and small bottle of the product with the purple liquid.  

   "Purple Magic" is not a product that I have ever heard being mentioned as approved for use on gravestones by the Association for Gravestone Studies or the NCPTT of the National Park Service which are two well-respected national organizations that have been holding hands-on cemetery preservation workshops for a number of years. 
Only time will tell if thousands or more people will follow in the footsteps of this man who cleaned the small veteran grave marker shown in these videos or not.  But for those who do, we sincerely hope that they use a soft bristle brush and water (distilled water has been recommended.)  Possibly next, if needed, a product such as D/2 Biological Solution after using water alone or Orvus Soap which is an approved product.   
While, important details remain to be learned about the blue and purple liquids, this carpet cleaner's dedication and efforts are to be applauded; and hope that he can continue with his labor of  love, that he shared with us, for many years to come.