Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. While very durable, quartz can lose its luster and become dull over time from regular use and cleaning. Fortunately, it is possible to restore the shine and polish to dulled quartz countertops through proper cleaning and polishing techniques.
What Causes Quartz Countertops to Dull?
There are a few key factors that can lead to quartz countertops becoming dulled and losing their shine:
- Everyday wear and tear – Normal use of your countertops like food prep, placing dishes and cookware on the surface, etc. can slowly erode the top layer of the quartz over time. This leads to a duller appearance.
- Etching – Acidic foods and cleaners can etch the surface of the quartz, creating microscopic pits and valleys that diffuse light. This gives the countertop a clouded, worn look.
- Loss of sealant – Most quartz countertops are sealed at installation to protect the surface. Over time this sealant wears away, exposing the quartz to etching and wear.
- Buildup of dirt, grime and residue – Grease, dirt, hard water deposits and leftover cleaning product residue sitting on the surface can give quartz a dull, dirty look.
How to Polish Dull Quartz Countertops
The good news is that with the proper supplies and techniques, you can often restore the original polish and shine to your quartz countertops. Here are some effective methods:
Cleaning and Scouring
- Clear the countertops of everything and wipe away any loose dirt or debris.
- Mix a mild cleansing cleaner (like dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner) with warm water in a bucket.
- Use a soft scrub brush or sponge to gently scrub the entire surface of the quartz. This will lift away built-up grime that is dulling the finish.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
- Apply a small amount of quartz polish or sealing product designed specifically for engineered stone.
- Rub over the surface in circular motions using a clean, soft cloth. Apply moderate pressure.
- Let the polish sit for 5-10 minutes. The sealants and abrasives will work to restore light reflection.
- Buff the countertops using a fresh dry cloth until the shine returns. Remove any excess product.
- Every 1-2 years, reseal your quartz countertops with a specialty stone sealer made for quartz surfaces. This fills in porous areas and creates a protective barrier.
- Apply the sealer evenly across the counters following the product instructions, usually in a thin layer using overlapping circular motions.
- Allow the sealer to soak in and cure completely, which usually takes 24-48 hours.
- This will refresh the polish and prevent future dulling and etching.
Household Products That Can Polish Quartz
If you don’t have commercial quartz polishes on hand, some common household items can work in a pinch:
- Baking soda – Mix with water into a paste and gently rub over the surface with a damp cloth. Rinse thoroughly after.
- Glass cleaner – Spray on and wipe down with a soft cloth to polish. Avoid products with ammonia.
- Olive oil – Apply a thin coat of oil and rub with a soft cloth. Wipe away any excess.
- Toothpaste – Squeeze out a small amount, rub into surface with a damp cloth using circular motions. Rinse off.
When to Call a Professional
In most cases, you can restore the polish and shine to your dull quartz countertops yourself. However, if you have severe etching or pitting that cannot be smoothed out with basic polishing, you may need to call in a professional quartz restoration company. They have access to more powerful buffing tools and chemical treatments that can grind down and resurface badly damaged quartz.
Maintaining the Shine
Once your countertops are freshly polished, be sure to take steps to maintain that shine:
- Use cutting boards, trivets and hot pads to protect from scratches and burns.
- Clean up spills immediately, especially acidic substances like juice or wine.
- Avoid harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia and abrasive scrubs.
- Clean frequently with mild soap and water.
- Reseal every 1-2 years with a quartz-specific sealer.
- Consider applying a quartz wax occasionally for added protection.
With proper care and regular polishing, your quartz countertops can stay luminous and beautiful for many years before needing a professional resurfacing. Pay attention for signs of dulling and don’t let the damage become too severe before restoring the shine and luster.
FAQ About Polishing Dull Quartz Countertops
Can you polish quartz countertops that have dulled?
Yes, it is possible to polish and restore the shine to dull quartz countertops using the proper cleaning techniques and quartz-specific polishing products. Gentle scrubbing, commercial polishes, resealing, and buffing can typically revive the surface luster.
What is the best product to polish quartz countertops?
Look for polishing creams and sealers specifically formulated for use on engineered stone surfaces like quartz. Products containing alpha hydroxy acids and silicone dioxide are ideal for polishing without etching the surface. Avoid polishes with abrasive grit.
How do you polish dull spots on quartz?
Target polish dull spots by gently scrubbing them with baking soda and water paste, then rub in a circular motion with a quartz polish cream or an impregnated polishing pad designed for engineered stone. This lightly abrades the surface to restore light reflection.
Can you use a Magic Eraser to polish quartz?
Magic Eraser sponges contain melamine foam which is a very mild abrasive. With light pressure, they can be used to buff out fine scratches and restore some polish. Be cautious not to erode the surface. Test on a small spot first.
How often should you polish quartz countertops?
It’s best to thoroughly polish quartz every 6-12 months to keep the surface shiny and prevent dulling. Clean more frequently with mild soap and water. Use quartz-specific polishing products each time – avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners.
Why does my polished quartz look dull after cleaning?
This can happen when leftover residue from cleaning products sits on the surface. Always rinse thoroughly with clean water after washing quartz. Wipe any remaining moisture with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. Rewash and polish if needed.
Can damaged quartz be repaired without replacing?
Severely damaged quartz with deep scratches or etching can often be repaired with professional resurfacing instead of full replacement. Technicians grind down the damaged layer and expose fresh quartz underneath for a renewed surface.
How long does a quartz countertop polish last?
With proper care and avoidance of harsh cleaners, a professional polishing can last 6 months to a year before redoing is needed. Daily maintenance cleaning extends polish life. Resealing every 1-2 years helps too.
What is the cost to professionally polish quartz countertops?
Professional quartz polishing services typically charge around $2-$6 per square foot. Whole kitchen countertop polishing may cost $200-$500 or more depending on size. Frequency of polishing needed will impact overall maintenance costs.
While quartz countertops are very durable, constant use can cause them to become dulled over time. Etching, wear, loss of sealant and buildup of residue are common culprits. Thankfully, there are several effective options for restoring the original shine and polish at home using specialty cleaning and polishing products. With proper care going forward, your refreshed quartz surfaces can maintain their luminous, light-reflecting finish for years before needing professional resurfacing. Be sure to polish and reseal your quartz regularly to keep it looking its best.