Quartz countertops are popular choices for many homeowners due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, like any countertop material, quartz requires proper care and cleaning to keep it looking its best. Many homeowners wonder if using Pine Sol to clean quartz countertops is safe and effective.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins, pigments, and other compounds. The quartz content typically makes up 90% or more of the material.
Unlike natural stone countertops such as granite and marble, quartz is non-porous and resistant to stains, scratches, heat damage and water absorption. The polymer resins make quartz more flexible and workable than natural stone.
Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns to suit any style. The mineral content gives it a look similar to natural stone while avoiding some of the maintenance issues. This combination of aesthetics and low maintenance is why quartz has surged in popularity for homes in recent years.
Is Pine Sol Safe for Cleaning Quartz?
Pine Sol is a household cleaning product made by Clorox that contains pine oil-based cleaners mixed with surfactants and other active ingredients. It is marketed as a multi-purpose cleaner good for household surfaces, floors, bathrooms and kitchens.
The active ingredients in original Pine Sol include:
- Pine oil – provides fragrance and cleaning action
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides – disinfects and removes grease
- Ethanol – dissolves dirt and grease
- Sodium tripolyphosphate – loosens dirt and grease
- Sodium carbonate – removes stains
- Glycol ether – dissolves grime
Many of these ingredients can be harsh chemicals and degreasers. When it comes to using Pine Sol on quartz countertops, it is not recommended by most manufacturers. The alkaline nature of Pine Sol and some ingredients like sodium carbonate are too abrasive for quartz surfaces. They can damage the resin binders, cause etching and discoloration over time.
Quartz is an engineered composite material that requires milder cleaners and cleaning methods. Strong chemicals and scrubbing can deteriorate the quartz and ruin the appearance and protective finish.
Better Alternatives for Cleaning Quartz Countertops
While Pine Sol may be too harsh for quartz, there are several effective and quartz-safe cleaning options:
1. Mild Dish Soap and Water
For routine light cleaning, plain dish soap and warm water often does the trick. Apply a small amount of mild, pH-neutral dish soap like Dawn directly on a soft sponge or cloth. Gently wipe down quartz surfaces, then rinse clean with water. Dish soap helps break down oil and grease buildup without damaging the quartz.
2. Vinegar and Water
A simple mixture of white vinegar and warm water makes an excellent natural quartz cleaner. The mild acid in vinegar disinfects and dissolves stains without etching or dulling quartz. Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts warm water and wipe over surfaces with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly. Vinegar can also be used straight for tough stains.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
As a mild oxidizing agent, hydrogen peroxide can lift stains and deodorize quartz surfaces. Mix peroxide and water at a 1:3 ratio and wipe over countertops with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly afterwards. Be careful not to leave peroxide on surfaces too long as it can discolor some materials.
4. Quartz Cleaning Spray
Specialty quartz cleaning sprays are widely available from tile and countertop retailers. Popular brands like Granite Gold and Black Diamond Stoneworks make quartz-safe cleaners. Look for sprays that specify they are safe for quartz and engineered stone. Always spot test in an inconspicuous area first.
5. Baking Soda and Water Paste
For scrubbing tougher messes, a paste of baking soda and water can help remove dried spills and residue without damaging quartz. Sprinkle some baking soda directly on the soiled area and add just enough water to make a spreadable paste. Gently scrub with a soft cloth or sponge rinse thoroughly. The mild abrasion and alkalinity help dissolve gunk without harming the surface.
Daily and Deep Cleaning Tips for Quartz
To keep quartz counters spotless and looking their best, follow these daily and weekly cleaning practices:
- Quickly wipe up spills as they occur to prevent stains setting in
- Wash surfaces with warm soapy water after food prep or cooking
- Use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratches and water spots
- Disinfect frequently handled areas like sink edges
- Remove oil buildup around cooking areas weekly
- Deep clean every 1-2 weeks with soft scrubbing
- Use a cleaner made specifically for quartz
- Avoid harsh chemicals and acidic or abrasive cleaners
- Don’t use scouring pads, steel wool or abrasive sponges
- Prevent damage by using cutting boards and trivets
- Follow any additional care guidelines from your countertop manufacturer
How to Remove Difficult Stains from Quartz
Quartz is impressively stain-resistant, but extremely stubborn stains can still occur in some cases. Here are some tips for removing tough stains:
For dried food, grease or soap scum – Make a paste with baking soda and water and gently scrub, then rinse. Alternatively, use a plastic putty knife to carefully scrape off buildup, then wipe clean.
For wine, coffee, juice or oil stains – Immediately blot with a paper towel. Apply hydrogen peroxide and scrub gently with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly.
For ink, marker or permanent marker – Try using a small amount of nail polish remover containing acetone. Rub gently with a cotton ball, then rinse several times. Alternatively, use baking soda and water scrub.
For hard water spots and mineral deposits – Mix together 1 TBSP white vinegar, 1 cup warm water, and 2 tsp mild dish soap. Apply to stains with a soft cloth, let sit 5 minutes, then scrub gently before rinsing.
For dye transfer or colored stains – Make a paste with baking soda and water and carefully scrub the stain. You can also try a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution. Rinse several times afterwards.
If stains persist despite cleaning attempts, it’s best to contact a professional quartz countertop installer for advice. Harsh scrubbing and chemicals can sometimes do more harm than good.
FAQ About Using Pine Sol on Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about using Pine Sol cleaner on quartz surfaces:
Is it okay to use Pine Sol on my quartz countertop?
No, Pine Sol and other cleaners containing strong chemicals are not recommended for quartz countertops. The caustic ingredients in Pine Sol like alkalis and degreasers can damage the resin binders in quartz. Always use only quartz-approved cleaners.
What happens if I accidentally use Pine Sol on my quartz?
Immediately rinse the Pine Sol off with water. Then clean the quartz thoroughly with a mild pH-neutral cleaner and water to remove any chemical residue. Avoid scrubbing and inspect closely for any etching, dulling or stains. Discontinue use of harsh cleaners.
Why can’t quartz handle strong cleaners that work on other surfaces?
Quartz is an engineered composite of natural stone particles and resin binders. The binders give quartz its flexibility but can be damaged by caustic cleaners safe for granite and other natural stone. Always follow manufacturer’s care guidelines.
How do I remove streaks or film left by Pine Sol on my quartz?
Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then clean with a soft cloth and mild dish soap, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide solutions. You may need to scrub gently with a baking soda paste to remove stubborn residue or stains left behind.
Is it okay to use Pine Sol if I dilute it first?
No, even diluted the ingredients in Pine Sol can harm quartz over time. To be safe, only use cleaners specifically designed for quartz and other engineered stone. Never take risks with harsh chemical cleaners.
While Pine Sol may be a versatile household cleaner, it should be avoided for quartz countertop surfaces. The caustic alkaline ingredients in Pine Sol can etch, discolor, and degrade quartz countertops with repeated use. Always stick to mild, quartz-approved cleaners like dish soap, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and specialty sprays. With the proper gentle cleaning methods, quartz countertops will maintain their beauty and durability for many years. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s care recommendations, and never use abrasive scrubbers. With some basic maintenance, your quartz counters will stay looking like new.