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, like any countertop material, quartz requires proper cleaning and care to keep it looking its best. This raises the question – can you safely use CLR cleaner on quartz countertops?
What is CLR?
CLR (Calcium, Lime, and Rust) cleaner is a common household cleaning product made by Jelmar. It is an acidic cleaner marketed as being able to dissolve mineral deposits, soap scum, rust stains, and other hard water stains.
CLR contains lactic acid and gluconic acid as active ingredients. It has a pH of about 2, making it highly acidic. While CLR is very effective at removing hard water stains and mineral buildup on many surfaces, the high acidity requires caution when using it.
The Risks of Using CLR on Quartz
While quartz countertops are impressively durable for a synthetic surface, prolonged exposure to acidic cleaners like CLR does carry potential risks:
- Etching – The acid in CLR can etch or damage the glossy surface of quartz. This creates microscopic pits and valleys that make the countertop appear dull and worn.
- Discoloration – Acids can react with the resin used to bind the quartz particles together, resulting in discoloration or stains.
- Loss of Shine – As etching roughens the surface, it causes a loss of the shine and luster that makes quartz so attractive.
- Damage Over Time – Repeated use of CLR will gradually degrade the quartz surface, wearing away the protective sealant finish.
So while CLR will effectively remove stains from quartz, the damage it causes eliminates any short-term benefit. The cons outweigh the pros.
Best Cleaners for Quartz Countertops
To safely clean quartz and preserve its beauty over time, follow these guidelines:
- For routine cleaning, use a mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Disinfect the surface periodically with diluted hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol.
- For stubborn stains, try a gentle alkaline cleaner like diluted baking soda or an oxidizing cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend.
- Use a mix of vinegar and water to dissolve dried-on spills before wiping clean.
- For hard water stains, try rinsing with diluted lemon juice or white vinegar first. If needed, use a non-acidic hard water stain remover.
- Reseal quartz countertops every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for engineered stone.
Why You Should Avoid CLR
CLR may be highly effective at removing stains, but it should be avoided on quartz surfaces. The high acid content will etched and dull the quartz over time. Always test cleaning products on an inconspicuous spot before using on quartz. Mild alkaline cleaners, diluted hydrogen peroxide, and gentle abrasives like baking soda are better options. With proper care, your beautiful quartz countertops can stay looking like new for years.
FAQs About Using CLR on Quartz
Is it okay to use CLR just once on quartz?
Even using CLR just one time carries a risk of damaging quartz. The acids can etch the surface immediately. It’s best to avoid CLR entirely and use a safer cleaning method.
What happens if you accidentally used CLR on quartz?
If CLR was already used, inspect the surface closely under bright light to check for etching or dull spots. Discontinue use immediately. Try resealing the surface to provide some protection against further damage.
Can you use CLR in the bathroom if you have a quartz vanity top?
It’s best to avoid using CLR in the bathroom altogether if you have quartz countertops. The CLR fumes can damage the quartz surface. Clean bathroom surfaces with gentle, non-acidic cleaners only.
Will CLR remove hard water marks from quartz?
While CLR is effective on hard water stains, it’s too risky for use on quartz. Try alternate removal methods like diluted white vinegar first. If needed, use a non-acidic hard water stain remover specifically formulated for engineered stone.
Is it okay to mix CLR with water and use on quartz?
Diluting CLR with water may make it slightly less damaging, but it’s still too acidic for quartz surfaces. Even diluted, CLR carries a high risk of etching and dulling the quartz. It’s better to avoid it altogether.
Quartz offers gorgeous, low-maintenance countertops, but they require non-acidic cleaners to keep them looking pristine. CLR may be tempting for tough stains, but the acidity damages and degrades quartz over time. Always test products first and stick to mild cleaners like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and diluted vinegar to safely clean quartz. With the proper gentle care, your quartz countertops will retain their beauty for many years.
So in summary – no, CLR should not be used on quartz countertops. The acidic formula, while effective on many surfaces, will etch and damage quartz. Using non-abrasive alkaline cleaners is the safest way to keep quartz countertops sparkling and looking their best.