Quartz countertops are durable and low maintenance, but proper cleaning is still required to keep them looking their best. Many household disinfectants are too harsh and can damage quartz. With the right products and techniques, you can safely disinfect quartz countertops without causing etching or discoloration.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The result is a non-porous, stain-resistant surface that is more flexible and heat-tolerant than natural stone.
Here are some key facts about quartz:
- Extremely durable – resistant to scratches, chips and cracks
- Non-porous so resists staining
- Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns
- Heat and scratch resistant
- Requires minimal maintenance
- Not reactive to acidic foods like lemon juice
Can Quartz Be Disinfected?
Yes, quartz countertops can be disinfected without damage. However, caution must be used to avoid applying harsh chemicals that can deteriorate the finish.
Quartz is able to withstand most mild cleaner and disinfectants without issues. But concentrated bleach or alkaline chemicals can cause etching or discoloration over time.
Here are some general guidelines for disinfecting quartz:
- Use a dilute bleach solution – no more than 1 part bleach to 9 parts water
- Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads
- Rinse surface thoroughly after applying cleaner
- Blot spills instead of wiping to prevent spreading
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a specialty countertop sealer
Vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and ethyl alcohol are generally considered safe for occasional use on quartz surfaces. Rinse immediately after application.
Best Disinfectants for Quartz
To safely sanitize quartz countertops, stick to gentler disinfecting products free from harsh acids or alkaline ingredients.
Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic that breaks down into water and oxygen after use. It can be used full-strength or diluted with water. Rinse surface after 5-10 minutes of contact time.
Rubbing alcohol with a 70% ethyl alcohol content can kill many germs and viruses with no harsh fumes or residue. It evaporates quickly but may require repeated applications.
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant. For quartz, stick to a weaker solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and limit use to avoid any acid damage over time.
Mild Dish Soap
Dish soap containing detergent can disrupt germ cell membranes and lift away grease. Use a small amount in warm water and rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
A steam cleaner using only water can sanitize surfaces at temperatures above 140°F. Check that the steamer is safe for use on stone and always wipe dry any excess moisture.
How to Disinfect Quartz Countertops
Follow these steps to safely clean and disinfect your quartz countertops:
- Remove all debris, dirt and food particles. Quartz can harbor bacteria underneath mess and spills.
- Mix a sanitizing solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water or use a ready-to-use disinfectant labeled as safe for stone surfaces.
- Apply the sanitizing solution evenly across the surface using a clean cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing.
- Allow the disinfectant to sit for 5-10 minutes so it can fully destroy bacteria, germs and viruses.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Dry any spilled liquids immediately to prevent possible damage.
- For extra protection, consider applying a quartz-safe sealer every 1-2 years. This creates a protective barrier against stains.
- Inspect the countertop for any signs of change in gloss or texture. Immediately discontinue use of any product that appears to damage the quartz.
Facts about Disinfecting Quartz Countertops
- Heat and scrubbing can damage sealers and cause quartz to become prone to staining. Only use gentle, non-abrasive cleaners.
- Acids like lemon juice and vinegar have a low pH and can etch quartz surfaces. Wipe up spills immediately and limit use of acidic cleaners.
- visibly soiled areas may require an occasionally stronger cleaner. Spot test first and limit use to avoid long term damage.
- Non-porous quartz does not require deep cleaning or disinfecting as often as more porous natural stone.
- Resealing quartz every 1-2 years helps prevent staining and damage from spills sitting on the surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does bleach damage quartz counters?
Undiluted or prolonged exposure to bleach can damage quartz. But a mild solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water is generally safe for occasional disinfecting.
What removes bacteria from quartz?
Hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and diluted bleach can kill bacteria on quartz surfaces. Heat and UV light also destroy germs.
Can I use antibacterial wipes on quartz?
Yes, as long as they are not formulated with harsh acids or alkaline ingredients. Check the label and test a small area first before widespread use.
What is the best homemade quartz cleaner?
A mix of mild dish soap and warm water makes an everyday homemade cleaner. For disinfecting, a dilute vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solution works well.
Does quartz need to be sealed for sanitation?
Sealing is not mandatory for sanitation but helps prevent stains from spills sitting on the surface. Reseal quartz every 1-2 years for best results.
With proper care, quartz countertops can be kept clean, stain-free and sanitary for the life of your kitchen or bathroom. Using the safest disinfecting products minimizes the risk of damage to the quartz surface while still removing unhealthy germs and bacteria. Check product labels, always dilute bleach, and rinse thoroughly after cleaning to safely enjoy contamination-free quartz for years.