Using car wax on quartz countertops is not recommended. Quartz countertops have a very different composition compared to car paint, requiring specially formulated quartz cleaners and sealants to keep them looking their best.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz bound together with resins and pigments. This material is very durable, stain resistant, and easy to maintain. However, using the wrong products can damage the surface or leave behind residue. Car wax contains abrasives, oils, and other ingredients meant for automotive paint finishes. Applying car wax to quartz countertops can lead to etching, discoloration, and reduced shine. There are better options specifically designed to clean, protect, and beautify quartz surfaces in your home.
What are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone countertops, have become incredibly popular in recent years. Made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders, pigments, and other compounds, quartz offers an attractive, low maintenance, and durable alternative to natural stone and laminate.
Composition of Quartz Countertops
- Quartz crystals – Quartz slabs contain from 90-94% ground quartz aggregate, which forms the structure and hardness. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals in nature, ranking a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.
- Polyresin binders – A polymer resin acts as the binding agent. Polyresin gives the slabs their shape, helps make the material non-porous, and allows flexibility in manufacturing.
- Pigments – Pigments are added to the slabs during production to achieve different colors and visual styles. Manufacturers can create slabs that mimic granite, marble, and other natural stone looks.
- Other compounds – Small amounts of additional compounds like aluminum oxide, silica, mirrors, glass, shell particles, or synthetic materials may be used to enhance the appearance and workability of the quartz.
This engineered composition allows quartz slabs to be made is virtually any color, pattern, and texture. It also results in a durable, stain resistant, and low maintenance countertop surface.
Benefits of Quartz Countertops
Quartz offers many advantages over natural stone and other countertop materials:
- Durability – With high quartz content and lack of natural pores and cracks, quartz resists scratches, chips, cracks, heat damage, and more.
- Stain resistance – Non-porous quartz repels stains from spills, oils, juices, wine, and more. Does not require regular sealing like natural stone.
- Low maintenance – Easy to clean with soap and water. Does not need polishing or sealing. Keeps appearance longer.
- Consistent patterning – Manufactured nature allows consistent veining and speckling across all slabs.
- Variety of colors/styles – Available in wide range of patterns, textures, and colors. Can mimic look of other materials.
- Hygienic – No natural pores to trap bacteria. Good for kitchens.
- Cost effective – More affordable than natural stone but with similar visual appeal.
With the right maintenance and cleaning regimen, a quartz countertop can stay looking like new for many years before needing replacement.
Proper Care and Cleaning of Quartz Surfaces
While quartz countertops are highly durable and low maintenance compared to other options, they still require some care and proper techniques to keep them clean and prevent damage over time. Here are some dos and don’ts for caring for quartz:
- DO use a mild soap and warm water for regular cleaning. Dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner work well.
- DO blot up spills quickly to prevent staining. Acids like lemon juice and wine can etch quartz.
- DO use a non-abrasive soft sponge or cloth for scrubbing. Avoid stiff brushes or abrasive pads.
- DON’T use harsh cleaners like bleach, oven cleaner, etc. Check cleaner labels.
- DON’T let soap residue dry on the surface which can lead to streaks or film buildup.
Tough Stains and Residue
- DO use a baking soda and water paste to gently scrub tough stains. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
- DO use a plastic putty knife to remove dried on residue. Be gentle to avoid scratching.
- DO use a quartz-specific cleaner for stubborn stains not removed with baking soda.
- DON’T use harsh chemicals like paint removers, turpentine, etc.
- DON’T use abrasive powders, scouring pads, or stiff brushes when cleaning.
- DO use a diluted bleach cleaner or alcohol pad to disinfect the surface. Avoid excessive rubbing.
- DO rinse surface thoroughly after disinfecting to prevent damage from cleaning agents.
- DON’T allow pure bleach or cleaning agents to soak into the surface.
- DON’T use very hot water when disinfecting as rapid heating/cooling can damage the slab.
Sealing and Polishing
- DO use a quartz polish occasionally to enhance shine and protection. Apply sparingly.
- DO reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a quartz-specific sealer for added stain protection.
- DON’T use wax, polish, or sealers designed for other materials like granite.
- DON’T over apply sealer or polish which can lead to buildup and hazy appearance.
With the proper gentle cleaners and techniques, quartz countertops are easy to keep clean and looking like new for many years before needing re-polished or resealed. Harsh chemicals and abrasives can damage the finish.
Why Car Wax Should Not Be Used on Quartz
Car wax contains ingredients suited for use on automotive paint finishes, but not engineered stone surfaces like quartz countertops. Using a wax formulated for cars can leave residue, affect appearance, and even damage quartz over time.
Formulated for Paint, Not Stone
Car wax is designed to bond with and protect the paint, clear coat, and gel coat on vehicles. The waxes contain abrasives to remove oxidation and contaminants from paint. They also contain polymers, oils, and silicone to flatten scratches in the clear coat and leave a protective barrier.
The polymers and oils that make car wax effective on automotive paint finishes can leave behind a residue and film on quartz. This causes hazing, streaks, and visible buildup over time ruining the beautiful finish.
Can Contain Solvents Harmful to Quartz
Some car waxes also contain solvents like kerosene, naptha, or turpentine to boost cleaning ability. While these can break down wax or contaminants in paint, they can also react with the resins in a quartz countertop damaging the finish. Even if a car wax doesn’t list harsh solvents, it is best to avoid using on quartz.
Can Lead to Dull, Faded Appearance
The tinting agents and chemicals in car wax formulated to add “warmth” or a wet look to paint may not react well with quartz over time. This can lead to an unnatural yellowish or dulled finish. Wax buildup in crevices and seams can also make the countertop appear dirtier overtime.
Abrasives Can Cause Micro-Scratches
Car waxes often contain fine abrasives and rubbing compounds to remove defects in auto paint at the microscopic level. These are too harsh for quartz countertops, causing scratches in the surface that accumulate over time and become visible to the eye. This leads to a faded, worn appearance.
Better Options Specifically for Quartz
Rather than using a car wax, it is better to use quartz-specific cleaners and sealers when maintaining your countertops. These are formulated without abrasives and chemicals that can harm quartz. They are designed to thoroughly clean while leaving behind a layer of protection without greasy buildup or residue.
Best Products for Cleaning and Protecting Quartz Countertops
Instead of using car wax, here are some of the best products specifically designed to properly care for quartz countertops without damaging the finish:
- Weiman Stone Cleaner & Polish – Spray cleaner safe for everyday use. Helps maintain shine.
- Method Daily Granite Cleaner – Non-toxic cleaner from plants and essential oils.
- Zep Commercial Quartz & Granite Cleaner – Foaming cleaner good for heavy dirt. Rinses clean.
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Cleaner – Cleans without residue buildup. Leaves sheen.
Degreasers and Deglossers
- Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser – Powder cleaner to cut through grease and wax buildup.
- Alpha Granite & Quartz Deglosser – Removes residue and dulls gloss for uniform appearance.
- Hope’s Perfect Countertop Deglosser – Spray-on deglosser removes residue buildup from sealers.
Sealers and Polishes
- Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator Sealer – Penetrating sealer protects against stains. Apply every 1-2 years.
- GranQuartz Seal and Shine Polish – Water-based spray polish adds protection and enhances shine.
- Stonetech High Gloss Finishing Sealer – Semi-permanent sealer provides durable stain protection.
- TriNova Granite Sealer and Protector – Natural stone sealer suitable for quartz. Long lasting formula.
Using the proper quartz-safe products minimizes the risk of damaging the finish while optimizing protection and appearance. Avoid car wax and other automotive products.
Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Follow this simple step-by-step process for keeping quartz counters clean using the proper specialty quartz cleaning and care products:
- Quartz cleaner or mild soap
- Soft, non-abrasive sponge or cloth
- Baking soda and water paste (optional)
- Plastic putty knife (optional)
- Quartz polish and/or sealer
- Clean microfiber cloths
- Rinse quartz with warm water and wipe dry to remove loose debris.
- Apply a small amount of quartz cleaner or mild soap and scrub entire surface using a soft sponge or towel. Avoid circular motions.
- Use a plastic putty knife to gently remove any dried-on spills. Take care not to scratch surface.
- If needed, make a paste of baking soda and water and use to scrub stubborn stains. Rinse thoroughly.
- Rinse cleaned surface several times with warm water and dry completely with a clean cloth.
- Apply a small amount of quartz polish and buff in completely with a dry microfiber cloth.
- Reseal quartz countertops every 1-2 years for added stain protection. Apply sealer sparingly according to label directions.
- Inspect quartz regularly for signs of damage and reapply sealer if water is no longer beading on the surface.
FAQs About Using Car Wax on Quartz Countertops
Can car wax be used on quartz countertops?
No, car wax should not be used on quartz countertops. The ingredients in car wax like abrasives, polymers, oils, and solvents can build up residue, lead to discoloration, and even etch or scratch quartz over time. Products specifically formulated for quartz maintenance are a better option.
What happens if you use car wax on quartz?
Using car wax on quartz countertops can clog the pores leading to visible film buildup over time. It can also cause hazy streaks, a yellowed appearance, and swirl mark scratches as the wax is applied. Harsh solvents found in some waxes may also damage the resin binding agents.
Why can car wax be used on cars but not quartz?
Car wax is designed to bind with automotive paint which is a very different material than quartz stone. The substances added to car wax help it clean and protect vehicle paint but are not formulated for use on engineered stone. Using car wax on quartz risks leaving behind residue and damaging the finish.
Is car wax too abrasive for quartz?
Yes, the fine abrasives and rubbing compounds in car wax used to remove defects in auto paint can slowly scratch and degrade quartz countertops leaving them looking worn and faded over time. Always use quartz-safe cleaning products free of abrasives.
What’s the best wax for quartz countertops?
Do not use any wax products formulated for cars or other materials on quartz countertops. For protecting quartz, use a quartz-specific polish or sealer which contains no abrasives or chemicals that can damage the finish. Quartz polish adds shine while quartz sealer provides long-term stain prevention.
- Car wax contains abrasives, solvents, oils and silicone intended for automotive paint that can damage quartz counters.
- Using car wax risks etching, discoloration, residue build up, and loss of shine on quartz over time.
- Specialty cleaners and sealers designed for quartz provide a streak-free shine without buildup or abrasion.
- Follow safe quartz cleaning techniques using soft sponges, mild soap, and quartz polish for best results.
- Reseal quartz counters every 1-2 years with a penetrating quartz sealer to maintain stain protection.
- Avoid car wax and automotive products not formulated for engineered stone like quartz surfaces.
Quartz countertops offer beauty, durability, and easy maintenance when properly cared for. While car wax may seem like a quick shine-enhancing solution, the truth is that it can damage quartz over time leading to a worn, cloudy appearance. Investing in specialty quartz cleaners provides the best results. With the proper gentle cleaning regimen, you can safely keep quartz counters looking like new for many years before needing a professional restoration. Using car wax risks marring the finish, so it’s best avoided in favor of quartz-specific products designed to properly clean and protect without damaging the engineered stone surface.