Can Quartz Countertops Be Stained?

Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from crushed quartz blended with resins and pigments, quartz counters are praised for their durability, low maintenance, and resistance to scratches, heat, and stains. But many homeowners wonder – can quartz countertops be stained?

What is Quartz?

Quartz is a mineral found abundantly in nature. In its raw form, quartz is crystalline silica, one of the hardest minerals on earth. When crushed into a fine powder and combined with resins, pigments, and other materials, this very hard stone becomes an engineered slab perfect for kitchen and bath countertops.

The resins bind the crushed quartz into a solid slab. Pigments add color and pattern. Other compounds like polymers and recycled glass or stone may also be added. This blend creates a durable, flexible, and renewable surface. The percentage of crushed quartz varies by brand and product line but is often over 90%.

Quartz counters may sometimes be confused with solid surface materials like Corian. But quartz counters are much harder and more durable due to their high quartz content.

The Stain-Resistance of Quartz

Quartz counters are well known for their stain resistance. The resins create a non-porous surface that liquids cannot penetrate. Quartz counters are also heat resistant and won’t scorch. These properties make quartz an ideal choice for busy kitchens prone to spills, hot pans, and frequent use.

But does this mean quartz counters are completely stain proof? The short answer is no – quartz can be stained under certain circumstances. However, quartz is still one of the most stain-resistant countertop materials available.

Here are some key facts about stains and quartz counters:

  • Quartz resists most household spills– Common accidents like wine, coffee, juice, and grease are no match for quartz. The solid surface simply needs a quick wipe with a damp cloth or mild cleaner to look good as new.
  • Only prolonged exposure can cause stains – Household spills are not a problem. But letting spills sit for prolonged periods can be an issue. Prolonged exposure – especially to strong chemicals and dyes – gives stains a chance to set.
  • Quartz can be permanently stained, but it’s difficult – With extended exposure to certain substances, permanent stains are possible. But due to the non-porous surface, stains are unlikely with routine use and proper care.
  • Heat can help set stains – Exposing quartz to heat makes stains more likely to set. Hot pots and pans can increase staining if spills are not cleaned up promptly.
  • Darker quartz is more stain prone – Like any material, darker colors and patterned quartz tends to show stains more easily simply because the contrast makes them stand out.

So in summary – quartz is not 100% impervious to stains, but stains are unlikely with routine use. With prompt cleanup of spills and avoiding prolonged exposure, quartz counters will stay beautiful for years.

What Can Stain Quartz Countertops?

While quartz counters resist most everyday spills with no issue, they are not completely stain proof. What sort of substances can lead to permanent staining?

Here are some potential quartz counter stains to be aware of:


One of the biggest staining risks for any countertop is dye transfer. Dyes are designed to permanently set and stain into materials, so they can penetrate and discolor the solid resins in quartz.

Sources of dye include:

  • Fabric and clothing dyes
  • Colored paper and tissue
  • Leather bags, purses, and items
  • Dyed decor items like placemats or towels
  • Art supplies like pens, markers, and watercolor paints

To avoid dye transfer stains:

  • Wipe up any spills from dyed items immediately
  • Use placemats or trivets under dyed objects
  • Take care when using pens, markers, or paints on quartz

Oils and Grease

While quartz resists water-based spills excellently, oil and grease stains can penetrate the surface over time. Hot oily spills from cooking are a particular concern. Sources of oily stains include:

  • Cooking oils like olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Greasy foods like bacon or hamburger meat
  • Butter, margarine, and some lotions
  • Motor oil, lanolin, and other greasy products

To prevent oily quartz stains:

  • Clean up cooking spills quickly, especially anything hot
  • Use trivets under hot pots and pans
  • Clean up any greasy spills immediately

Strong Chemicals and Cleaners

The biggest advantage of quartz over natural stone is its resistance to etching from acidic foods and liquids. However, prolonged exposure to strong chemicals can stain quartz counters over time. Watch for these potential stain sources:

  • Oven cleaners and degreasers
  • Concentrated bleach or hydrogen peroxide
  • Drain cleaners, rust removers, and heavy duty alkaline cleaners
  • Solvents like acetone, nail polish remover, paint removers
  • Automotive fluids like transmission fluid, brake fluid, battery acid

To keep quartz stain-free:

  • Check product labels and opt for quartz-safe cleaners
  • Spot test chemicals and cleaners in an inconspicuous area first
  • Rinse the surface after using strong chemicals
  • Never let cleaners sit too long on quartz

Wine and Fruit Juice

While a quick wipe removes most spills, wine, fruit juice, and colored liquids can stain quartz if left for prolonged periods. Sugary spills are particularly problematic if they dry and become sticky on the surface.

To prevent stains:

  • Clean up wine, juice, and soda spills right away
  • Don’t let sugary spills dry into sticky spots
  • Rinse and wipe the area to remove any residue
  • If a stain sets, use a poultice treatment promptly

Other Stain Sources

Any pigmented liquid has the potential to permanently stain quartz counters if left for too long. Exercise caution with:

  • Kool-Aid, sports drinks, colored soda
  • Certain foods like mustard, curry, and tomato sauce
  • Food coloring and dye from packaged foods
  • Plant fertilizer
  • Iodine, mercurochrome
  • Ink, hair dye, makeup

The good news is these stains rarely occur with normal use and care. But it’s helpful to be aware of potential quartz counter stain risks.

How to Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops

While quartz resists most spills, stains are possible under the right conditions. Thankfully, several effective options exist for removing stains from quartz counters.

Clean with Mild Soap and Water

For basic spills that have not had time to set, a mild detergent and water is often adequate. Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently clean the affected area, rinsing thoroughly with clean water. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.

Dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner work well. For tougher stains, a baking soda paste helps provide gentle abrasion.

Use a Poultice

A poultice pulls stains out of the quartz surface. Mix a paste of an absorbent material like flour, talc, or baking soda with hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Apply to the stain and cover with plastic wrap.

After 24 hours, remove the poultice and rinse. For stubborn stains, repeat as needed. Be sure to test poultice cleaners in an inconspicuous spot first.

Try a Specialized Quartz Cleaner

Specialized quartz cleaners are formulated to remove stains without damaging the surface. Look for quartz cleaner at home improvement stores or from your countertop supplier.

Apply a small amount of quartz cleaner directly to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub gently with a soft cloth or sponge, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid abrasive pads.

Sand and Refinish Small Areas

For very small, localized stains, carefully sanding and refinishing the stained spot can remove damage. Use fine 120-150 grit sandpaper and minimal pressure to gently smooth out the stained area.

Finish by polishing with a quartz-specific compound. This should only be done by a professional to blend repairs into the surrounding countertop. Harsh sanding can damage quartz.

Consult a Professional as Needed

For stains that don’t respond to home treatment, talk to a professional countertop installer. They have commercial products, tools, and experience available to treat tough stains without compromising the quartz surface.

With prompt care for spills, stains on quartz counters are highly preventable. But even if a stain occurs, the right products and methods can successfully restore the pristine quartz surface.

How to Prevent Stains on Quartz Countertops

While quartz counters are impressively stain resistant, some basic precautions will keep them looking like new. Here are some smart ways to prevent quartz stains:

Use Trivets and Placemats

Get in the habit of using trivets and placemats when placing hot pots or dyed objects on quartz. Trivets protect from heat damage that makes stains more likely. Placemats avoid direct contact with potential stain sources.

Cork, felt, or silicone trivets are gentle options. Placemats can be cloth, paper, or silicone. Keep plenty on hand!

Clean Up Spills Quickly

Don’t give spills a chance to set! Have some paper towels or a dish cloth handy to wipe the quartz surface right after any kitchen mishap. For liquids like wine or juice, rinse the area with clean water afterwards.

Set a rule that spills get wiped up immediately in a household with quartz counters. Making this a consistent practice is the best stain prevention.

Avoid Prolonged Chemical Exposure

While quartz stands up to typical use of chemicals much better than natural stone, it’s still best to limit exposure. When using cleaners, disinfectants, and other household chemicals, don’t let them sit too long on quartz surfaces.

Spot test chemicals in an inconspicuous area first. And rinse the surface with water after use to remove any residue.

Use Quartz-Safe Cleaners

To keep quartz counters spotless, use the right cleaners designed for engineered stone. Quartz cleaners contain mild detergents that clean without etching or damaging the surface.

Avoid abrasive scouring powders or anything too alkaline or acidic. Check labels and confirm a cleaner is recommended for quartz before use.

Reseal Quartz Yearly

While quartz doesn’t require sealing as frequently as some surfaces, an annual resealing helps boost stain protection. Use a product made specifically for sealing quartz.

Yearly resealing fills in microscopic scratches and keeps the quartz looking its best. Be sure to only use sealers designed for engineered stone.

Don’t Cut Directly on Quartz

Avoid cutting directly on quartz counters. This preserves the smooth surface and prevents nicks that could harbor stains over time.

Use a cutting board for food prep. Never cut meat or vegetables directly on quartz. Small scratches from knives can’t be removed.

By taking a few sensible precautions, homeowners can enjoy stain-free, like-new quartz counters for many years of beauty and performance. Keep surfaces clear, wipe spills quickly, use trivets and placemats, and follow the manufacturer’s care recommendations. With routine care, quartz will stay looking fabulous.

FAQs about Stains on Quartz Countertops

Can quartz counters stain from coffee and tea?

No. Quartz resists most food and beverages with ease. A quick wipe with a damp cloth removes coffee, tea, juice, wine, soda, vinegar, and other routine kitchen spills. Just avoid letting any liquids sit for prolonged periods. The non-porous quartz surface prevents these common stains.

Do red wine and berries stain quartz?

In most cases, no. Brief exposure to juices and wine is no problem for quartz since liquids don’t penetrate the solid surface. Just be sure to wipe up the spill promptly. If a red wine or berry juice spill dries and sits on quartz for an extended time, a mild stain is possible. But it likely will require industrial-strength levels of dye to set into quartz.

Can tomato sauce stain quartz counters?

Ketchup, pizza sauce, marinara, and other tomato-based products are very unlikely to stain quartz counters during normal use. Like other food items, just avoid letting tomato sauce sit for extremely long periods. As long as spills get promptly wiped up, tomato sauce is no match for quartz. If a dried tomato stain occurs, use a baking soda paste to gently remove it.

Can oils stain quartz?

Yes, oil spills left unattended can potentially stain quartz. Oils like vegetable, olive, or motor oil can penetrate the surface over time, especially when heated. To prevent oil stains, always use trivets and wipe up spills immediately. Hot oily spills in particular should be cleaned right away before the heat pushes oil into the surface. With quick response, oil will not stain quartz counters.

Can nail polish or hair dye stain quartz?

Yes, prolonged exposure to products like nail polish and hair dye can lead to quartz counter stains. Nail polish, hair dye, and other coloring agents contain strong pigments and dyes designed to permanently color surfaces. Dyes can penetrate quartz given enough time. Wipe up spills right away and avoid letting bottles sit directly on quartz. With prompt clean up, products with dyes won’t stain quartz.

Does lemon juice stain quartz counters?

No. While acidic juices like lemon, lime, and orange will etch and damage marble, they generally won’t impact quartz. Brief exposure to citrus juices is not a concern thanks to quartz’s non-porous surface. But you still don’t want to leave a sliced lemon sitting on a quartz counter all day – wipe up excessive juice. Overall, minor spills and usage of lemons during food prep will not stain quartz.

Can permanent marker stain quartz?

It is possible for permanent marker to stain quartz countertops if left for prolonged periods, as the ink can penetrate the solid surface material. However, prompt clean up of any permanent marker spills prevents this. Using a little rubbing alcohol or quartz cleaner generally removes fresh permanent marker before staining can occur. Avoid leaving permanent markers uncapped directly on quartz.

Does bleach stain quartz counters?

In most cases, no. Light household use of diluted bleach to disinfect quartz surfaces will not cause staining. But prolonged exposure to concentrated, undiluted bleach could potentially damage and discolor quartz over time. Never let straight bleach sit directly on quartz. Always dilute bleach and wipe surfaces dry after use. With responsible use, bleach will not stain quartz.


Quartz countertops are engineered to be an extremely stain-resistant surface that holds up beautifully to the rigors of busy kitchens. While no material is 100% impervious to stains with absolute prolonged exposure, quartz counters are about as stain-proof as it gets for a practical, cost-effective option.

With simple practices like using trivets, promptly wiping up spills, and avoiding unnecessarily harsh chemicals, most homeowners find their quartz counters stay spotless for decades. When stains on quartz do occur, effective treatment options exist to remove damage.

For kitchens and bathrooms that demand a low-maintenance, highly stain-resistant surface able to withstand heavy use, quartz checks all the boxes. With reasonable care, quartz countertops stay looking like new while resisting stains better than almost any other material.