Is Alcohol Safe for Cleaning Quartz?
In general, alcohol is safe for cleaning quartz countertops. Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This material is non-porous, so spills and stains don’t penetrate the surface. Alcohol-based cleaners can be used to sanitize quartz and remove some types of dirt and stains without damaging the material.
However, it’s important to dilute alcohol-based cleaners before using them on quartz. Undiluted alcohol or high concentrations of alcohol can potentially dull the surface over time. The manufacturers of popular quartz brands like Caesarstone and Cambria recommend diluting alcohol cleaners with water at a 1:1 ratio.
Using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) straight from the bottle to clean quartz is not recommended. Opt for an alcohol-based cleaner specifically marketed as quartz-safe and follow the diluting instructions on the label.
The Best Way to Clean Quartz Countertops
While diluted alcohol cleaners are quartz-safe, they are not necessarily the best choice for routine cleaning. Here are some better options:
- Mild soap and water – For day-to-day cleaning, plain dish soap and warm water is highly effective. The antibacterial properties of dish soap remove most dirt, spills, and germs from the nonporous quartz surface.
- pH-neutral stone cleaner – Specialty stone cleaners designed for engineered quartz can gently clean without etching or damaging the finish. Look for pH-balanced formulas.
- Hydrogen peroxide – As a mild bleach, hydrogen peroxide can help remove some stubborn stains. Dilute it with water before applying it to the quartz.
- Baking soda – For a natural cleaning option, make a paste of baking soda and water and use it to scrub the quartz. Baking soda is mildly abrasive to lift dirt but soft enough not to scratch.
- Glass cleaner – For shining and polishing quartz, a standard glass cleaner works wonderfully to clean the smooth surface without leaving streaks or residue.
When to Use Alcohol on Quartz
There are a few scenarios when using diluted alcohol on quartz countertops can be helpful:
- Disinfecting the surface – Alcohol can sanitize quartz better than soap and water alone. Use a dilute alcohol cleaner if someone who is sick has been in contact with the countertop.
- Removing oil stains – Rubbing alcohol can break down and remove cooking oil that has stained the quartz.
- Hard water spots – Hard water mineral deposits come off well with diluted alcohol and a soft cloth.
- Dried-on food – Alcohol can help loosen and remove food that has dried and caked onto the quartz.
- Marker stains – Permanent markers often stain quartz less if treated quickly with diluted alcohol.
However, for routine cleaning, stick to milder cleaners like soap and water. Only use alcohol cleaners occasionally as needed for stubborn messes.
What NOT to Use on Quartz
Some cleaners and chemicals should be avoided on quartz because they can etch or discolor the finish:
- Undiluted bleach – Don’t use full-strength bleach or let it sit too long on quartz. Opt for hydrogen peroxide instead.
- Vinegar – Acidic vinegar can dull and etch quartz over time. Even diluted vinegar is risky.
- Ammonia – While good for cleaning glass, ammonia is too harsh for engineered stone. Avoid it.
- Abrasive cleaners – Anything gritty or abrasive can scratch quartz. Don’t use products like Comet or Ajax.
- Acetone – Nail polish remover and other acetone products can damage the resin binders in quartz. Stay away from them.
- Scouring pads – Never scrub quartz with an abrasive pad. Even soft scrub sponges may scratch over time.
How to Disinfect Quartz Countertops
To safely kill germs on quartz, first clean the surface with warm soapy water. Then spray with a diluted bleach cleaner or alcohol solution (1/2 cup bleach or alcohol mixed with 1 gallon of water).
Make sure to only leave the disinfectant on the quartz for 1-2 minutes before wiping. This prevents the chemicals from soaking in too long and potentially damaging the surface.
As an extra precaution, buff the quartz with a soft cloth and plain water after disinfecting. This removes any chemical residue. Keeping quartz counters clean and free of germs requires regular gentle cleaning more than harsh disinfection.
Maintaining the Beauty of Quartz
Quartz countertops are built to handle years of use with minimal maintenance. Follow these tips to keep quartz looking like new:
- Clean spills quickly to prevent stains from setting.
- Use cutting boards and trivets to protect from scratches and burns.
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years with a specialty quartz sealer.
- Avoid using cleaners that contain acids, alkalis, or abrasives.
- Inspect quartz regularly for any chips or flaws needing professional repair.
- Have quartz counters professionally refinished if etching or dullness ever occurs.
While alcohol-based cleaners are not the best choice for regular use, they can be safely used in diluted concentrations to clean quartz countertops. For routine cleaning, mild dish soap and water is recommended. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach, vinegar, and ammonia. With proper care, beautiful quartz countertops will maintain their luminous finish for many years.