Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz countertops are prone to messes and spills that can leave unsightly stains if not cleaned properly. Many homeowners wonder if using a steam cleaner is an effective and safe way to clean quartz. Here is a detailed look at whether steam cleaning is advisable for quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resin and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%, making it an extremely hard and durable surface.
Some key features of quartz countertops:
- Highly resistant to scratches, heat, and stains
- Non-porous so does not require sealing
- Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
- Requires low maintenance
- Not as prone to etching from acids as natural stone
- Withstands daily wear and tear
Is Steam Cleaning Safe for Quartz?
Steam cleaning is generally considered safe and effective for cleaning quartz countertops. The high heat helps loosen and dissolve grease, oils, and sticky residues. Steam also sanitizes surfaces.
However, there are a few precautions to take when steam cleaning quartz:
- Use lower steam temperatures – Quartz can withstand high heat but it’s still best to use lower steam temperatures to avoid any potential damage. Around 200°F or lower is ideal.
- Don’t use on joints or seams – Directing steam where sections of quartz meet could allow moisture in and cause damage. Avoid focusing steam on countertop seams.
- Check manufacturer guidelines – Some quartz brands may have specific warnings about using steam. Check your countertop manufacturer’s care instructions first.
- Use soft cloths – Rub surfaces gently with a soft, clean cloth to avoid scratches. Don’t use abrasive pads.
As long as proper precautions are taken, steam cleaning offers an effective chemical-free way to sanitize quartz countertops without harming the surface.
Step-by-Step Guide to Steam Cleaning Quartz
Follow these steps to safely steam clean your quartz countertops:
1. Vacuum loose debris
First, use a handheld vacuum to pick up any loose crumbs or dust on the countertop. This prevents debris from turning to mud when introduced to steam.
2. Fill steam cleaner reservoir
Fill the steam cleaner reservoir with distilled water to prevent mineral deposits. Check that the steam temperature can be adjusted to 200°F or lower.
3. Steam entire surface
Working in sections, hold the steam head 1-2 inches above the quartz surface. Steam the entire section for 5-10 seconds until condensation forms, then wipe away with microfiber cloth.
4. Focus on stained areas
Linger slightly longer over any dried spills, grease stains, or sticky residues to help loosen the mess before wiping away.
5. Sanitize and dry
After steaming the entire countertop, go over it one last time with a sanitizing cloth. Then wipe surface completely dry with clean microfiber towels.
6. Inspect for streaks
Inspect countertops at an angle under lighting to check for any remaining streaks or moisture. Re-wipe and dry as needed for a streak-free shine.
Tips for Cleaning Quartz Countertops
- For daily cleaning, use a mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Disinfect surfaces periodically with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.
- Blot spills quickly to prevent staining. Don’t rub the area aggressively.
- Regularly wipe with a stone cleaner made specifically for quartz.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer for added stain protection.
- Avoid using cleaners containing lemon, vinegar or other acids.
Can You Use Other Steam Cleaners on Quartz?
Handheld steam cleaners are safe for quartz countertops as long as steam temperature is adjustable and kept under 200°F.
Steam mops are not recommended as they may distribute too much concentrated steam from the flat mop head. This can potentially cause moisture damage to seams.
Auto detailing steam cleaners are fine for quartz if the steam temperature can be set low enough. The higher power on these steamers requires caution to prevent overheating the surface.
Clothes steamers are generally not advisable for countertop use as they may drip water or get too hot. Stick to cleaner models designed specifically for household steam cleaning.
How Does Steam Cleaning Compare to Other Methods?
Steam cleaning effectively sanitizes quartz and removes most stains with the power of hot vapor alone. Water temperature should be monitored carefully.
Cleaning sprays like concentrated quartz cleaner are very effective for daily maintenance. May require some scrubbing for tougher messes.
Baking soda is a mild abrasive good for removing stains. Make a paste with water and gently rub area with soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly after.
Dish soap cuts through grease well. Mix a few drops with warm water and wash counters with soft cloth when needed. Avoid frequent use.
Vinegar helps dissolve some stains but should be avoided as acids can damage and etch quartz over time.
FAQs About Steam Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Is it okay to steam clean quartz daily?
No, daily steam cleaning is not recommended for quartz countertops. The heat and moisture from frequent steaming could potentially damage the solid surface seal or cause cracks at seams. Steam clean quartz countertops only occasionally as needed.
What kind of steam cleaner is best for quartz?
Look for a handheld steam cleaner with variable temperature control suitable for stone surfaces. The steam should dispense from a nozzle head instead of a flat mop pad. Always keep steam under 200°F.
Can I use quartz cleaning sprays after steaming?
Yes, you can use a specially formulated quartz cleaner spray after steam cleaning to sanitize and polish. Avoid cleaning products with lemon, vinegar or acid. Check labels and manufacturer guidelines.
How do I steam clean a quartz backsplash?
Turn the steam cleaner nozzle to a more focused jet setting to direct steam at backsplashes. Keep heat low and hold nozzle 6 inches back. Don’t oversaturate backsplash grout. Wipe with soft cloth afterwards.
Should I avoid steaming if my quartz is cracked?
Yes, do not steam clean quartz countertops if you see any existing cracks or damage. The heat and moisture can seep into cracks and cause further damage. Repair any cracks before attempting to steam clean.
When done properly using lower steam temperatures, steaming is generally safe and effective for cleaning most quartz countertop surfaces. It allows chemical-free removal of grime, stains, and bacteria. Pay special attention to manufacturer guidelines and avoid over-steaming to prevent moisture damage around seams. With some basic safety precautions, steam cleaning provides a fast way to restore the beautiful shine and sanitization of quartz countertops.