Are You Supposed to Treat Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz offers an attractive, low-maintenance, and durable surface. However, there are some things to know about properly caring for and treating quartz countertops to keep them looking like new.

What is Quartz?

Quartz is an engineered stone, meaning it is made from natural materials that are blended together under heat and pressure. The exact composition varies by brand and color, but a typical quartz slab contains:

  • 90-94% ground quartz crystals
  • 6-10% resins and pigments
  • Additional compounds like recycled glass or mirrors

The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a solid slab. Pigments add color and pattern. The result is a material that resembles natural stone but requires less maintenance.

Do Quartz Countertops Need to Be Sealed?

Unlike granite or marble, quartz does not need to be sealed. The resin binds the quartz particles together to prevent moisture and stains from penetrating the surface. However, it is still important to properly care for and clean quartz counters.

Proper Cleaning and Care for Quartz

Here are some tips for keeping quartz counters looking their best:

Use Mild Cleaners

Harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, or abrasive cleansers can damage and discolor the surface over time. Instead, clean quartz with mild dish soap and warm water. For stubborn stains, a specialized stone cleaner formulated for engineered stone is safe to use.

Avoid Abrasive Pads

Don’t use scrubbing pads, steel wool, or abrasive sponges on quartz, as they can scratch the surface. Soft cloths, paper towels, or non-abrasive sponges are recommended.

Blot Spills Quickly

While quartz resists stains, it’s still best to wipe up spills as soon as they happen. For dried-on messes, use a non-abrasive cleaning pad with some soapy water.

Keep Acidic Foods Away

Ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar or wine can etch quartz surfaces if left for prolonged contact. Clean up any spills from acidic foods right away. Using a cutting board is also advised.

Prevent Thermal Shock

Avoid exposing quartz counters to extreme temperature changes. Always use a trivet or hot pad when setting down hot pans from the oven or stove.

Re-seal Seams Occasionally

Though quartz itself doesn’t need sealing, the seams between slabs should be re-sealed every 3-5 years to prevent moisture damage. Use a color-matched sealant recommended by your countertop provider.

Treating Common Quartz Countertop Problems

With proper care, quartz is quite stain, scratch, and heat resistant. But accidents can still happen. Here’s how to treat some common quartz countertop issues if they arise:

Etch Marks

Acidic substances like lemon juice or tomatoes can sometimes “etch” quartz and leave behind a dull, light-colored mark. Use a specialty marble polishing compound to gently buff out etching. Avoid abrasive pads which make it worse.

Hard Water Marks

Mineral deposits from water can leave unsightly spots on quartz. Remove them with a cleaning paste made of baking soda and water. Apply the paste and let sit for several minutes before rubbing off.

Minor Scratches

For light surface scratches, use a polishing kit specific to engineered stone.Rub a polish pad in a circular motion to buff out marks. Avoid attempting to “sand” quartz yourself to fix deep gouges.

Heat Damage

Excessive heat can bubble, discolor, or cause quartz to crack or peel. Unfortunately, this type of thermal shock damage cannot be repaired. The affected area will need replacement.

Maintaining the Beauty of Quartz

Quartz offers unparalleled style and convenience. By using the proper cleaners and techniques, these low-maintenance counters stay gorgeous for years. Be sure to wipe spills quickly, avoid abrasives or harsh chemicals, and re-seal seams occasionally. With routine care, you can enjoy durable, stunning quartz countertops that stand the test of time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Caring for Quartz Countertops

Should quartz counters be sealed?

No, quartz does not require sealing due to its non-porous nature. The resins used in manufacture seal the surface.

What’s the best cleaner for quartz counters?

Mild soap and water or stone cleaners made for engineered quartz work well. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads.

Can you repair etching or burns on quartz?

Light etching can be buffed out with a marble polishing compound. But deep etching or burns require replacing the damaged section.

Is it OK to cut food directly on quartz counters?

Yes, it’s safe to cut or prep food directly on properly sealed quartz. Using a cutting board still helps protect the surface.

How do you get hard water stains off quartz?

Make a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit on the stain for a few minutes before scrubbing off. It breaks down mineral deposits.

Should hot pans go on quartz counters?

No, always use trivets or pads. Extreme heat can damage quartz. Allow cookware to cool somewhat before setting it down.