Can Cooking Oil Damage Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, like any countertop material, quartz requires proper care and cleaning to keep it looking its best. One common question homeowners have is whether cooking oils can damage quartz. Here is a detailed look at how quartz holds up to cooking oils and best practices for cleaning up spills.

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The result is a highly durable, non-porous material that resists scratches, stains, and heat better than many natural stone options.

Key properties of quartz:

  • Extremely hard and scratch resistant surface
  • Non-porous so resists staining
  • Can withstand heat up to 212°F before potential damage
  • Available in wide range of colors and patterns
  • Resists most acids and caustic chemicals
  • Low maintenance compared to granite or marble

Can Cooking Oils Stain or Damage Quartz?

Cooking oils like olive oil, vegetable oil, or sesame oil are unlikely to penetrate or stain quartz since it is non-porous. However, this does not mean quartz is impervious to cooking oil damage.

When hot oils are spilled directly on quartz, there is potential for damage over time. Hot oils can seep into microscopic pores and micro-fissures in the surface. If not thoroughly cleaned, the oil residue left behind can gradually break down the resin binders in quartz.

This long-term oil penetration leads to:

  • Dulling of the surface
  • Discoloration or stained areas
  • Loss of glossy shine
  • Make quartz more prone to etching or burns

So while small spills of cooking oil are not considered high risk, repeated exposure to hot oils can compromise quartz over an extended period. Prompt cleanup of oil spills is recommended.

Best Practices for Cleaning Cooking Oils from Quartz

Follow these steps for cleaning oil spills on quartz:

1. Act Quickly

Immediately wipe up any spills of hot cooking oil on quartz. Use a paper towel or cloth to soak up excess oil before it has time to seep in.

2. Remove Residual Oil

Mix a small amount of mild soap like dish soap into warm water. Use a soft cloth or sponge to wash away any remaining oil residue. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

3. Disinfect and Re-seal

Use a quartz-safe disinfecting cleaner or isopropyl alcohol to sanitize the area after cleaning. This helps dissolve any traces left behind. Apply quartz sealer periodically to keep the surface protected.

4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Do not use any acidic or abrasive cleaners on quartz, as these can damage the finish. Avoid bleach, ammonia, vinegar, lemon, etc.

5. Use Caution with Heat

Avoid putting hot pots or pans directly on quartz. Always use trivets or hot pads to prevent thermal shock. Rapid temperature changes can cause quartz to crack or blister.

Quartz Care Tips to Prevent Oil Damage

Practice these simple habits to keep your quartz looking like new:

  • Wipe up spills immediately, especially oils and acidic substances
  • Always use cutting boards for food prep, never cut directly on quartz
  • Clean with a mild pH-neutral cleaner made for stone surfaces
  • Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer
  • Avoid exposing quartz to very high heat or prolonged contact with hot pans

Can You Remove Oil Stains from Quartz?

If oils have dulled or discolored the quartz over time, deep cleaning is required to rejuvenate the surface and remove stained areas. Here are some options:

Baking Soda Paste

Make a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub onto stain with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly. The mild abrasives lift oil residue.

Diluted Bleach

In a spray bottle mix 2 parts water, 1 part bleach. Lightly spray on oil-stained areas and let sit 5 minutes before wiping clean.

Quartz Polishing Pads

Use a specialty polishing pad designed for quartz along with a stone-safe cleaner. This gently buffs the surface to remove staining and restore luster.

Be sure to test any cleaning method in an inconspicuous spot first. Aggressive scrubbing or harsh chemicals can potentially etch quartz. Call in a professional stone restoration company for best results removing difficult oil stains.

Can You Repair Damage Caused by Cooking Oil?

If oil exposure has led to extensive dulling, etching, or burns, quartz countertops may need repairs:

  • Re-polishing – A pro can refinish the surface using diamond abrasive pads up to 1500 grit. This removes damage and restores the glossy appearance.
  • Spot Repair – For localized etching or burns, the damaged section can be carefully sanded down and resurfaced to match the surrounding area.
  • Full Resurfacing – Severely damaged quartz may need mechanical grinding followed by polishing to totally refresh the surface. This removes about 1/16″ of material.
  • Quartz Overlay – For extreme damage, a new layer of quartz can be adhered over the existing countertop to essentially create a brand new surface.

Professional quartz repair costs $100 – $500 on average depending on the scale of restoration needed.

How to Prevent Oil Damage When Cooking

Practice these habits when cooking to avoid oil spills on quartz:

  • Wipe up spills ASAP, don’t let oil sit
  • Keep a plastic scraper handy to immediately remove oil
  • Allow hot pans to cool before setting down on quartz
  • Use a splatter screen when frying to contain oil pops
  • Avoid motion like stirring that can splatter oils
  • Keep oils away from unfinished quartz edges
  • Use a cutting board for chopping oily foods like meat

Is There an Oil-Proof Quartz?

While no quartz is 100% impervious to oil damage with improper care, some varieties withstand oil exposure better than others.

Crystal Quartz – Contains microscopic glitter particles that help conceal oil stains.

Leathered or Matte Finish – Hides oil penetration marks better than polished quartz.

Darker Colors – Tend to conceal oil-related discoloration compared to light quartz.

Regardless of variety, prompt cleanup of spills gives the best protection against cooking oil damage on quartz surfaces.

Key Takeaways on Oils and Quartz

  • Quartz is non-porous so cooking oils don’t easily penetrate the surface, but oils can still damage quartz over time.
  • Hot oils left on quartz can seep into tiny pores leading to discoloration, dulling, and loss of shine.
  • Immediately wipe up cooking oil spills, use a mild soap and water to remove residue, and routinely apply quartz sealer.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners like bleach or vinegar that can etch quartz intended for cleaning oils.
  • Minor oil damage can often be removed with baking soda or a specialty quartz polish pad. Severe damage requires professional refinishing.
  • Take care when cooking to contain splatters and drips to prevent oil from reaching the quartz surface.

In summary, quartz countertops are very resistant, but not completely immune to damage from cooking oils, especially with repeated exposure. With prompt cleanup and proper routine care however, quartz can maintain its beautiful glossy finish and damage-free appearance for many years of cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you remove grease stains from quartz?

Yes, grease stains can be removed from quartz using a degreasing cleaner made specifically for stone surfaces. Dish soap, baking soda, or diluted bleach can also help remove grease that has penetrated the surface over time.

Does Windex damage quartz?

Windex and other cleaners containing ammonia can damage quartz surfaces. Always use a specially formulated quartz cleaner to avoid discoloration, etching and loss of shine.

What happens if you use Goo Gone on quartz?

Goo Gone and similar citrus-based adhesive removers should be avoided on quartz. The acids in these products can dull quartz and leave permanent light spots or etching. Use a small amount of coconut oil instead to remove sticky residue.

Can you use magic eraser on quartz countertops?

It’s not recommended because Magic Eraser cleaning pads contain melamine foam, which is a very fine abrasive. This can potentially scratch, dull or etch the surface of quartz countertops with excessive scrubbing. Use a soft cloth with warm soapy water instead.

Does vinegar damage quartz?

Vinegar, lemon juice, and other acidic liquids can etch, stain, and dull polished quartz surfaces. While a brief exposure won’t necessarily ruin quartz, acidic cleaners should not be used routinely. Always mix vinegar with water and rinse thoroughly if used.


Quartz countertops are naturally resistant to damage from exposure to cooking oils. However, best practices of prompt cleanup, using trivets, and avoiding harsh chemicals will keep quartz in tip-top shape. With proper care, quartz countertops can stay looking like new for many years of cooking and entertaining.