Can Quartz Countertops be Polished?

Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made from quartz particles bound together with resin. They are popular options for kitchen and bathroom countertops due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. A common question homeowners have is whether quartz countertops can be polished to restore their original shine and luster. The short answer is yes, quartz countertops can be polished, but there are some important factors to consider.

What Causes Quartz Countertops to Lose Their Shine?

There are a few main reasons quartz countertops may start to lose their polish and appear dull over time:

Normal Wear and Tear

Quartz is very durable, but no surface is immune to normal wear and tear. Daily use of your countertops, particularly in the kitchen, will cause minor superficial scratches and dings over time. This can cause the surface to appear duller and lose its polish.


Quartz is susceptible to etching from acidic substances, such as citrus, vinegar, wine or harsh cleaners. Etching occurs when the acid eats away at the surface layer of the quartz. This creates tiny pits and irregularities that make the surface look worn and dull.

Improper Cleaning

Using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads can physically abrade and scratch the surface layer of quartz. Over time this causes a loss of shine.

Sun Exposure

Like other materials, prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause quartz to fade and lose its luster.

Can You Restore the Shine with Polishing?

Yes, it is possible to restore the polish and shine to dull quartz countertops through professional refinishing. This involves mechanically polishing the surface using rotating polishing pads, compounds and specialty quartz polishing kits.

The process is very similar to polishing granite or other natural stone. It works by removing a microscopic layer from the surface to eliminate light scratches, etching and dullness. This reveals the crisp, reflective layer underneath for a factory-fresh appearance.

Polishing is most effective at restoring shine from superficial wear and tear, light etching and minor scratches. Deep scratches, chips or resinated areas may still remain visible even after polishing.

Considerations for Polishing Quartz

There are several important factors to keep in mind if you plan to have your quartz countertops polished:

Skill Level Required

Polishing quartz countertops takes training, experience and the right equipment to perform correctly. It is not a DIY project. Attempting to polish without proper knowledge can actually damage the surface.

Be sure to hire an experienced professional who specializes in quartz countertop restoration.

Color and Pattern Consistency

One downside of polishing is it will remove a thin layer from the surface so your countertops will be slightly thinner. On quartz with variation in color patterns or tone this may result in inconsistent spots after polishing.

Professionals will take steps to try minimizing color variation, but some inconsistency is likely. For solid color quartz, this is less of a concern.

Sheen Level

The quartz will have a freshly polished, glossy appearance after refinishing. This may be slightly glossier than the original factory finish. Be aware the sheen will likely not match exactly. Over a few weeks it will mellow out to be closer to the original level as the surface cures.

Seams and Edges

Special care needs to be taken when polishing near seams and edges. The process can reveal or accentuate minor imperfections or height variances in the seams. Be sure your installer is skilled at addressing seam polish issues.

Edges may also appear sharper after polishing. It is sometimes necessary to smooth edges with a separate process after refinishing.

Permanent Solution vs Temporary Fix

Polishing quartz provides a temporary aesthetic fix by removing scratches and wear from the surface layer only. It does not repair damage through the full thickness of the slab. New scratches and dulling will accumulate over time after polishing.

For severe damage like chips or cracks, polishing may help improve appearance but other repairs may also be needed for a permanent solution.

What is the Process for Polishing Quartz?

Here is a general overview of the professional quartz countertop polishing process:

Inspection & Planning

The technician will inspect your countertops and determine which areas need polishing. This also allows them to take note of any repairs needed before starting. They can give recommendations on the expected outcome.

Cleaning & Surface Prep

Your countertops will be cleared off and thoroughly cleaned prior to polishing. This removes dirt, residue and waxes that could interfere with refinishing results.

Edge Treatment

Specialty grinding and abrasive tools are used to smooth and shape countertop edges prior to polishing the surface. This prevents sharp edges and improves finish.

Diamond Abrasive Grinding

Course diamond abrasive pads are used first to level the surface and remove deeper scratches and etching. This is done in stages with increasingly finer grit pads.

Polishing Compounds

Finer polishing pads and compounds are used to fully hone and restore the surface shine and glossy finish. The technician will methodically polish the surface using hand pads or weighted rotary floor polishers.

Cleaning & Protection

Once the desired level of polish is achieved, the surface is cleaned again. A penetrating quartz sealer is usually applied to help maintain the new polish and prevent staining.

Inspection & Cleanup

The installation is inspected for quality and any leftover residue from the process is cleaned up. Your sparkling countertops are now ready to enjoy and use!

How Much Does Quartz Polishing Cost?

Professional quartz countertop polishing typically costs $3 to $7 per square foot depending on your area and the company performing the refinishing. Simple polishing to restore luster on surfaces with light damage generally falls on the lower end of this range.

Cases with deeper scratch removal, etching treatment or color consistency concerns may cost more toward the upper end. There are often minimum service charges as well, such as $150-300 to account for equipment setup, testing etc.

Be sure to get an exact written quote from a few companies before deciding on a budget for your project.

Maintaining Quartz after Polishing

To maximize the results of the polishing treatment and prevent repeat dulling, be sure to follow these care and maintenance steps for your quartz:

  • Use cutting boards and hot pads to protect from scratches and burns
  • Clean spills quickly to prevent etching
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners and pads
  • Use a mild stone cleaner and soft cloth for daily cleaning
  • Re-apply quartz sealer every 1-2 years
  • Periodically re-polish high wear areas when needed

Can You Polish Quartz Countertops Yourself?

With the right supplies and techniques, it is technically possible to polish quartz countertops yourself as a DIY project. However, there are some significant challenges involved that make professional polishing the recommended choice in most situations.

Challenges of DIY Quartz Polishing

Here are some of the key difficulties faced when trying to polish quartz countertops at home:

Results Take Skill & Practice

Achieving an even, streak-free polish across large surface areas takes a practiced technique. Beginners often struggle to match results from professional equipment and experience.

Equipment Investment Needed

You need a variety of diamond abrasive pads, polishing compounds and a weighted floor polisher to perform DIY refinishing. Purchasing this equipment just for one project can be expensive.

Risk of Damage

Mistakes made during the polishing process can create deeper scratches or swirl marks in the surface that are difficult to remove. Permanent damage is possible without proper precautions and experience.

Physical Effort Involved

Polishing quartz manually with hand pads takes a lot of time, effort and elbow grease. Operating a weighted floor polisher across large countertops can also be physically demanding.

Seams & Edges Challenge

Safely polishing around countertop seams and edges without rounding them over or creating lippage issues takes skill and specialty tools. This is usually best left to a well-trained fabricator.

No Guarantee on Results

Even following all the proper steps, an inexperienced DIYer is likely to have imperfections and inconsistencies in the finish. There is no professional guarantee like with hired companies.

DIY Polishing Tips

If you do want to tackle quartz polishing as a DIY project, here are some tips to get the best possible results:

  • Use a variable speed floor polisher with 50 lb heads or more for even pressure
  • Work in small sections and keep the polisher constantly moving
  • Start with 50 grit pads and step down to 3000+ grit for final polish
  • Apply polishing compounds as you transition grits
  • Take extra care at seams and edges
  • Accept that some imperfections in finish will be visible
  • Consider hiring a pro just for challenging areas like seams and edges

But for most homeowners, the potential risks and uncertainties of DIY polishing make professional services the smarter choice for reliably refreshing the glossy shine of quartz surfaces.

How Often Should You Polish Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are remarkably low maintenance compared to many other surface options. But no material is immune to normal wear. How often quartz needs polishing depends primarily on 3 factors:

1. Amount of Use

Heavily used areas like a kitchen surface or bathroom vanity will need more frequent polish renewal than lightly used surfaces. The more cooking, cleaning, and daily use the counters see, the faster abrasions in the surface layer accumulate.

For a busy kitchen, polishing every 2-5 years helps keep quartz in top condition. Low traffic areas may only need polish touch ups every 5-10 years.

Pay extra attention to zones of heavy use like near the stove or sink for signs of dulling. These high traffic areas are likely to need polish refreshing more often.

2. Quality of Maintenance

How well you care for and maintain your quartz can directly impact how often it needs polishing. Using cutting boards, avoiding harsh cleaners, and promptly wiping spills prevents unnecessary wear and tear.

With proper daily and routine care, polishing may only be needed every 5+ years. Neglecting basic maintenance could mean dulling happens in as little as 1-2 years.

Be sure to keep quartz properly sealed as well. Sealers help protect the surface between polish jobs.

3. Your Standards for Shine & Polish

How sensitive you are to minor scratches and slight dullness also affects the polishing timeline. If maintaining a flawless, factory-fresh sheen is important, you’ll want to polish more frequently.

Homeowners who are less bothered by minor signs of wear can go longer between polishing. But waiting too long increases the amount of material needing removal and risk of damage during polishing.

Do a close inspection of your quartz under lighting at different angles each year. Look for signs of scratches and loss of clarity. When haziness becomes noticeable to you, it’s likely time for professional polishing.

Can You Use a Magic Eraser on Quartz Countertops?

Magic Erasers like Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are a popular cleaning tool known for conveniently removing stubborn marks with minimal effort. But are they safe for cleaning quartz countertops? Here is what you need to know about using Magic Erasers on quartz:

How Magic Erasers Work

Magic Erasers have an open cell foam structure made of melamine resin. When wet, the eraser slightly abrades surfaces to lift away dirt, marks, and top layers of finish. Abrasives within the foam also help scour surfaces clean.

Risks of Using Magic Erasers on Quartz

The main risk with Magic Erasers is they act as a mild abrasive on quartz. This can potentially dull and scratch the quartz surface over time. Problems they pose include:

  • Gradually eroding the glossy finish
  • Causing light surface scratches
  • Making quartz more vulnerable to etching

These effects accumulate with repeated use in the same areas and can lead to permanent damage.

Magic Erasers are also prone to leaving behind shredded foam residue on quartz countertops after scrubbing. This can be difficult to fully remove from textured surfaces.

Recommendations for Use on Quartz

Most quartz manufacturers and professionals advise against routinely using Magic Erasers and other melamine foam products to clean quartz countertops. They are too abrasive for delicate quartz finishes.

However, occasional, gentle use in stubborn spot cleaning is unlikely to cause significant harm. To minimize risks:

  • Spot test first in an inconspicuous area
  • Use minimal pressure when scrubbing
  • Avoid excessive repeated scrubbing in one spot
  • Rinse thoroughly and reseal quartz after use
  • Switch to a non-abrasive cleaner for routine maintenance

For best results, always refer to your specific quartz manufacturer’s care guidelines. Some brands permit very moderate Magic Eraser use while others prohibit entirely.

Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Quartz Countertops?

Household vinegar is commonly touted as a natural cleaner and degreaser. But is it actually safe and effective for cleaning quartz countertop surfaces? Here’s what you need to know about using vinegar to clean quartz counters:

Why Vinegar is NOT Recommended

Most quartz manufacturers and professional stone restoration services strongly advise against using vinegar as a cleaner for engineered quartz.

There are two primary reasons:

Risk of Etching Damage

Being acidic, vinegars can potentially damage quartz surfaces through etching. This causes pits, roughness and loss of shine. Over time, acidic etching can severely degrade quartz appearance and function.

Vinegar is especially prone to etching compared to other common acidic foods and liquids due to its higher acidity levels.

Not Effective at Cleaning Grease

Vinegar alone does not effectively clean greasy grime on quartz. It does not have sufficient degreasing ability to break down oils and fully sanitize food-preparation surfaces.

Using vinegar risks leaving residues that can attract more dirt over time. For hygienic kitchen cleaning, more potent degreasers are required.

Alternatives to Use Instead of Vinegar

To safely and effectively clean quartz countertops, use these vinegar alternatives:

  • Mild stone soaps
  • Diluted dish soap
  • pH-neutral cleaners labeled for stone/quartz
  • Baby shampoo
  • Hydrogen peroxide cleaner

Always rinse thoroughly after cleaning with quartz-safe products. It is also wise to reseal your quartz countertops every 1-2 years for added protection.

In Limited Scenarios Vinegar MAY be Okay

If vinegar is highly diluted and exposure time is very limited, light usage may be tolerated by some quartz brands without etching. However, this still carries risks and is generally not recommended. Safer alternatives exist.

When in doubt, always defer to your specific quartz manufacturer’s care and maintenance guidelines for appropriate cleaners to use. Don’t let vinegar come into contact with your quartz.

Can You Use Bleach on Quartz Countertops?

Household bleach is recognized for its potent germ-killing abilities. But is it a quartz-safe cleaner? Here is what you need to know about using bleach to clean engineered quartz countertops:

Bleach Risks Damage to Quartz Surfaces

Most quartz fabricators strongly advise against using undiluted bleach or very high concentration bleach solutions to clean quartz counter surfaces.

Reasons to avoid bleach include:

  • Color Loss – Bleach can lead to fading or discoloration of quartz surfaces over time, especially darker granites.
  • Etching – High strength bleach is alkaline with a very high pH. This increases risks of etchingdamage on acid-sensitive quartz.
  • Corrosion – Bleach may corrode or oxidize metal sinks, faucets, and other fixtures near your quartz surface.
  • Films & Residues– Bleach can leave behind stubborn films that attract more dirt and are hard to remove from textured quartz.
  • Health Hazards – Concentrated bleach poses hazards including burns, eye damage, and respiratory irritation during use.

Recommended Alternatives to Bleach

There are several safer, quartz-recommended alternatives to bleach for cleaning and disinfecting your countertops:

  • Hydrogen peroxide cleaners
  • Diluted rubbing alcohol
  • pH-neutral stone cleaners
  • Diluted dish soap
  • Antibacterial all-purpose cleaners labeled as quartz-safe

Limited Use May be Okay But Still risky

Some quartz manufacturers indicate very diluted bleach solutions may be tolerated for occasional use. However, this still carries a high risk of damage.

Even mild bleach exposure can gradually degrade quartz over time. Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and pH-neutral cleaners are significantly safer options.

When in doubt, refer to your specific quartz maker’s care guidelines. Many brands advise avoiding all bleach exposure on their products. Don’t let bleach come into contact with your quartz.

How to Remove Dried Cement from Quartz Countertop

Cement drying on a quartz countertop can feel like a nightmare scenario. But with some persistence and the right techniques, cement stains can usually be removed from quartz without permanent damage. Here are some effective methods to safely remove dried cement from a quartz surface:

Scrape Away Initial Residue

First, gently scrape away any chunks and thick buildup you can with a plastic putty knife or non-metal scraper. This gets rid of the easier cement layers.

Take care not to use metal scrapers or sharp objects that could cut into the quartz finish. Work slowly and cautiously.

Soak with Hot Water

Next, pour hot water