What are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The result is a manmade material that is highly durable, stain resistant, and easy to maintain.
Some key advantages of quartz countertops include:
- Extremely durable – quartz is resistant to scratches, chips, cracks and heat
- Non-porous – does not easily stain from spills
- Wide variety of colors and patterns – from solid colors to realistic marble looks
- Requires little maintenance – no sealing needed
- Resists bacteria growth
- Heat tolerant
Quartz provides the look of natural stone without some of the hassles. It does not require regular sealing like granite and is less prone to etching from acidic foods and liquids. This makes quartz an ideal choice for busy kitchens.
Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Cleaning Quartz?
Clorox wipes contain bleach and other cleaning agents that can be too harsh for quartz surfaces. Quartz is stain resistant, but not stain proof. Harsh cleaners like bleach have the potential to eat away at the resin that bonds the quartz together over time, causing erosion and loss of shine.
Unfortunately, it is generally not recommended to use Clorox wipes or any bleach-based cleaners directly on quartz countertops. The good news is that quartz is very easy to keep clean with gentler cleaners and basic care.
Recommended Cleaning Methods for Quartz
While Clorox wipes may be too abrasive for quartz, there are many safe, effective options for keeping quartz counters looking like new:
1. Warm Water and Mild Soap
For routine daily cleaning, a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and a small amount of mild dish soap is all that is needed. Avoid harsh degreasers or soaps with additives. Gently wipe the countertop and rinse well with clean water.
2. PH-Neutral Stone Cleaners
Specialized stone cleaners formulated to be pH neutral are safe for quartz. Look for brands designed for engineered stone or quartz. Follow label instructions. Stay away from acidic cleaners.
3. Disinfecting Hydrogen Peroxide
To safely disinfect quartz without bleach, use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Wipe down counters with this solution and let air dry. The hydrogen peroxide will kill germs without damaging the finish.
4. Avoid Abrasive Cleaners and Pads
Never use abrasive scrub pads or cleaners like Comet or Ajax on quartz surfaces. This can create light scratches that cause buildup and a loss of shine over time. Stick to soft cloths, sponges, or microfiber for best results.
Tips for Keeping Quartz Countertops Looking Like New
- Wipe up spills quickly to prevent stains, especially oils, wine, and acidic juices
- Use cutting boards and trivets for hot pots and pans
- Clean frequently with a gentle cleaner
- Avoid using cleaners that contain bleach, lemon, vinegar, or other acids
- For stubborn stains, use a non-abrasive baking soda and water paste
While the convenience of Clorox wipes is understandable, it’s best to refrain from using them on quartz surfaces. The bleach can damage the resin over time. Gentler cleaning methods like pH-neutral stone cleaners, hydrogen peroxide mixes, and mild dish soap with warm water are recommended instead to safely clean and disinfect quartz. With proper care, quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years. Using the right cleaners designed for engineered stone makes maintaining quartz counters easy.
How Often Should I Clean Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops are touted for being low-maintenance, but some routine cleaning is still required to keep them looking pristine. Here are some tips on how often quartz counters should be cleaned for best results:
- Wipe up spills immediately as they occur, especially oils and acidic liquids that can stain if left for long
- Use a soft sponge or cloth with warm water and mild soap to clean areas where food prep occurred
- Dry with a soft towel
Daily quick cleaning of quartz counters in high traffic areas like kitchens helps prevent the buildup of grime that can become more stubborn to remove later. It only takes a few minutes to wipe the counters down.
- Thoroughly clean the entire surface with a pH-balanced quartz cleaner or mild soap and warm water
- Use a soft cloth, sponge or microfiber towel in circular motions
- Rinse well and dry completely
- Inspect closely for any stains that may need extra attention
Setting aside time once a week to clean the whole quartz counter will keep the surface free of dirt, dust, grease, and debris that accumulate over days of use. This helps maintain the shine and appearance.
Monthly Deep Cleaning
- Clean using a PH-neutral stone cleaner made specifically for engineered stone
- For stubborn stains, make a paste with baking soda and water and gently scrub
- Rinse and dry completely
- Consider applying a quartz-safe conditioner or sealer to add extra protection
Monthly deep cleaning is useful for quartz kitchen countertops that see a lot of daily use. The periodic deep clean removes built-up residues and helps keep quartz resistant to staining. Sealing is optional but can help strengthen protection.
As Needed Spot Cleaning
- Through the week, spot clean any problem areas as needed
- Specially treat any stains that occur right away with an appropriate remover
- For food stains, use a cleaning paste of baking soda and water
- Gently scrub with a soft brush and rinse thoroughly
Being diligent about spot cleaning quartz as soon as stains happen prevents them from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove later. The non-porous nature of quartz makes it fairly stain resistant with proper care.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Abrasives
It’s important to stick to pH-balanced stone cleaners for quartz and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive pads. Bleach, vinegar, harsh soaps, and scrubbing pads can damage the surface over time.
Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Quartz Countertops?
Vinegar is a popular household cleaner known for its ability to dissolve mineral deposits and kill bacteria and germs. Its acidic nature leads some homeowners to wonder if it is safe and effective to use on quartz countertop surfaces. The answer is a little nuanced.
The Risks of Using Vinegar on Quartz
While vinegar can be used safely on some stone and tile surfaces, it does carry potential risks when used on quartz countertops:
- Acidic nature – Vinegar has an acetic acid content of about 5-8%. This level of acidity can damage quartz over time by eroding the resin binders that hold it together.
- Etching – Vinegar can etch or corrode quartz, removing the glossy sheen and creating a hazy appearance. This etched damage is permanent.
- Color change – On quartz with darker pigments, vinegar can react with the chemicals and cause discoloration. The damage may appear as light spots or faded areas.
- Loss of shine – Repeated use of vinegar can severely degrade the polished finish of quartz over time. This also reduces stain resistance.
- Voiding warranty – Using vinegar or other acids on quartz often voids the manufacturer’s warranty since it goes against recommendations.
Safer Alternatives to Vinegar for Cleaning Quartz
While vinegar is too risky for routine use on quartz, there are safer cleaning alternatives that can remove grime, bacteria, and stains without putting the finish at risk:
- Mild dish soap – Diluted with warm water, a small amount of gentle liquid dish detergent can lift dirt and grease. Avoid soaps with additives.
- ** pH-neutral stone cleaner** – These specialized cleaners are formulated to be non-abrasive and won’t etch quartz surfaces. Look for brands designed specifically for engineered stone.
- Hydrogen peroxide – As a disinfectant, a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water can kill bacteria without damaging quartz.
- Baking soda paste – For stubborn stains, make a paste with baking soda and water. Gently scrub and rinse thoroughly. The abrasives in baking soda are very mild compared to vinegar.
When Vinegar May Be Used
While vinegar is generally not recommended for cleaning quartz counters, it can occasionally be used for these specific purposes:
- Mixing with water to clean quartz backsplashes or walls (not countertop surfaces)
- Spot treating etching marks from other cleaners to remove the haze (brief contact)
- Cleaning around the quartz edges IF the manufacturer confirms it will not void the warranty
However, there are likely safer alternatives so vinegar should not be a first-choice cleaner for quartz under any circumstances. Always test on a small inconspicuous area first.
It’s best to avoid using vinegar when cleaning quartz countertops. The acetic acid in vinegar can damage quartz over time, causing etching, discoloration, loss of shine, and voiding of warranties. For routine cleaning and disinfecting, mild dish soap, stone-safe cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda are gentler options that will keep quartz counters spotless without putting the finish at risk. Vinegar should be reserved only for special circumstances where its benefits may outweigh risks with caution.
How to Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops
Stains on quartz countertops can occur from spills of food, beverages, oils, and other household items. While quartz is impressively stain-resistant, it is still possible for some stubborn stains to set without proper cleaning. Here are tips on how to remove different types of stains from quartz counter surfaces:
- PH-neutral quartz cleaner
- Dish soap and warm water
- Baking soda and water paste
- Soft cloth, sponge or brush
- Microfiber cloths
- Baby wipes
Removing Food Stains
For stains from foods like berries, wine, coffee and tea:
- First try gentle dish soap and warm water
- Gently scrub with circular motions
- For stubborn stains, apply baking soda paste and let sit briefly before scrubbing
- Rinse thoroughly and dry area
Using baking soda’s mild abrasiveness can help lift food colorings. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
Eliminating Grease Stains
For grease stains from oil, butter, sauces:
- Immediately blot with absorbent cloth
- Apply degreasing dish soap and scrub with soft brush
- Rinse thoroughly and repeat if needed
- Use a tiny amount of citrus-scented cleaner for final rinse
Catching grease spills early is key. Degreasing soap helps break up oily residue.
Cleaning Hard Water Stains
For cloudy hard water stains:
- Wipe with equal parts white vinegar and water
- Rub gently with soft cloth
- Rinse completely with clean water
- Dry and re-polish area
Vinegar helps dissolve mineral deposits left behind from hard water.
Removing Dried Spills and Gum
For dried-on spills, gum, wax, etc:
- Try softening first with a cloth dabbed in rubbing alcohol
- Gently scrape residue with a plastic scraper
- Apply baking soda paste as needed and scrub
- Rinse thoroughly and dry completely
For stubborn dried-on messes, gentle scraping and abrasives can help remove gunk without damaging the quartz.
Disinfecting & Cleaning Markers
For germs and marker stains:
- Disinfect with hydrogen peroxide and water mix
- For markers, wipe with baby wipes or baking soda paste
- Rinse and dry thoroughly
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective natural disinfectant safe for quartz. Unscented baby wipes can also help remove marker stains.
With the proper supplies and techniques, most stains can be removed from quartz surfaces to restore their like-new appearance. Always use gentle circular scrubbing and immediately treat any spills.
How to Seal Quartz Countertops
Sealing quartz countertops is an optional step that can provide extra protection and prevent staining on quartz surfaces. Here are some tips on how to properly seal quartz countertops:
Should You Seal Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz blended with polymer resins and pigments. This combination makes quartz naturally non-porous and stain resistant without the need for routine sealing. However, sealing quartz can provide some potential benefits:
- Adds extra stain protection, especially for darker colors
- Makes cleaning and maintenance easier
- Helps prevent etching from acidic foods and cleaners
- Provides minor repairs to small scratches or dull spots
- Prolongs the life and beauty of the countertops
Sealing is not mandatory but can be useful to preserve quartz counters in busy kitchens prone to heavy use, spills, and stains. Consult your countertop supplier or manufacturer first.
Choosing a Quartz Sealer
Not all sealers are safe or effective for use on quartz. It’s important to choose a sealer specifically designed for quartz/engineered stone. Avoid flammable solvent-based sealers. Look for:
- Water-based sealers
- Non-toxic and low VOC sealers
- Sealers made for quartz/engineered stone
- Reputable brands designed for stone countertops
Read all safety instructions carefully before applying any sealer to quartz.
How to Apply Quartz Sealer
Here is the basic process for applying a sealing agent to quartz countertops:
- Clean counters thoroughly with a PH-neutral cleaner and rinse well
- Mask off any areas you don’t want coated in sealer such as walls
- Apply sealer evenly according to product directions (spray bottle, soft cloth, etc.)
- Allow sealer to soak in for 5-10 minutes
- Thoroughly wipe/buff off all excess sealer from the surface
- Allow treated areas to cure fully before using, usually 24-48 hours
- Reapply sealer periodically per manufacturer recommendations
Always test sealer in a small inconspicuous spot first. Proper application and fully removing excess sealer is key to avoiding residue issues.
Maintaining Sealed Quartz Counters
- Use trivets and cutting boards to protect newly sealed surfaces
- Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrub pads
- Use gentle PH-balanced cleaners only
- Blot spills quickly to prevent staining
- Reseal every 1-2 years depending on usage
Caution is still required even with sealed quartz to prevent damage. Proper cleaning and care will make sealer coatings last longer.
Sealing can be a smart way to enhance the durability and longevity of a quartz countertop investment. Consult experts to choose the best sealer and apply properly for maximum benefit.
How to Clean Matte Finish Quartz Countertops
Matte finish quartz countertops provide a popular low-sheen look that fits well in many modern kitchen designs. Cleaning and caring for matte quartz requires a little extra attention compared to polished quartz surfaces. Here are some tips for keeping matte quartz counters looking their best:
Use Gentler Cleaning Agents
Avoid harsh cleaners, alkalines, vinegar, citrus or abrasives on matte quartz as these can strip the top finish over time. Stick to mild liquid dish soap or stone cleaners specifically labeled as safe for matte/honed quartz.
Clean with Soft Materials
Use soft cloths, sponges, or microfiber towels to gently wipe matte quartz. Avoid scrubbing pads, stiff brushes or anything abrasive that could create light scratches on the surface. Even soft cloths can damage the finish if rubbed too aggressively.
Limit Use of Oils and Conditioners
Conditioners and topical treatments like mineral oil or beeswax often used on natural stone can create a residue buildup on matte quartz that leads to an uneven look. Avoid or limit use of these products unless approved by the manufacturer.
Blot Spills Quickly
Thoroughly blot liquids immediately before they have a chance to soak in. Matte quartz is slightly more prone to staining since it lacks the glossy sheen that provides an extra barrier against absorption.
Clean Entire Surface
When cleaning, wipe the entire countertop surface evenly. Cleaning only spots can lead to a varied appearance. Over time, the whole matte finish will develop a uniform patina.
Re-sand Light Scratches
If light scratches appear, matte quartz can be gently re-sanded and re-polished by a professional to restore the smooth even finish. Avoid DIY sanding which can do more harm than good.
Take extra care to wipe up acidic spills like juice, wine or vinegar immediately to prevent permanent etching on the vulnerable matte finish. Sealants can help add protection.
With some extra caution, matte quartz can retain its striking low-sheen look. Gentle daily cleaning and prompt attention to spills will keep matte counters beautiful.
Can You Paint Over Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops offer a stylish, durable, and low-maintenance option for kitchens