Quartz countertops are popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. A common question that arises is whether quartz counters stain easily or not. The short answer is that quartz is resistant to stains but not completely stain-proof. With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops can retain their beauty for many years.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. It is harder and more durable than natural stone like granite or marble. The resins make quartz non-porous, so it resists staining, scratches, and heat damage better than other countertop materials.
Quartz gets its stain resistance from the resin that binds the crushed quartz particles together. The lack of pores and voids makes it difficult for stains to penetrate the surface. However, it is still possible for some stains to occur with prolonged exposure or highly pigmented substances.
Common Causes of Staining on Quartz
While quartz resists stains well, it is not impervious. With the right substances and conditions, staining can occur. Here are some of the common causes of stains on quartz counters:
Prolonged Exposure to Strongly Pigmented Foods and Liquids
Foods and drinks with deep, rich colors like wine, coffee, and turmeric can stain if left on the surface for extended periods. The pigments penetrate into microscopic scratches over time. Minimizing contact time can prevent stains.
Oils, grease, and lotions contain staining agents that can leave residue on quartz. Food prep messes should be cleaned up promptly.
Harsh Chemicals and Cleaners
Abrasive cleaners, drain cleaners, paint removers, and oven cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can damage and discolor quartz sealant. Only use cleaners made specifically for quartz.
Excessive heat from hot pans and appliances can scorch quartz and create burns or permanent marks. Always use trivets and hot pads.
Failing to clean spills promptly, inadequate sealing, and lack of routine maintenance can allow stains to set on quartz over time. Follow manufacturer guidelines.
Direct Sunlight Exposure
UV rays can slowly alter the color of quartz and cause yellowing or fading, especially on lighter colors. Use window treatments to minimize direct sunlight.
Tips to Prevent Quartz Countertop Stains
With proper care, it is possible to keep quartz looking pristine for years. Here are some useful tips to prevent stains:
- Clean up spills immediately, especially oils, wines, and pigment-rich foods. The quicker you act, the less chance for stains.
- Blot liquids instead of wiping to avoid spreading stains.
- For food prep, use a cutting board instead of chopping directly on the counter.
- Avoid abrasive scouring pads and powder cleansers which can scratch the surface.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for engineered stone. This fills microscopic flaws that could hold stains over time.
- Avoid exposing quartz to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Use drapes or blinds.
- Place hot pans, pots, and appliances on trivets to prevent scorching.
- Check the manufacturer’s care guide and use only recommended cleaners. Many chemicals can damage the finish.
- Rinse the countertop after using cleaning products to prevent residue buildup.
How to Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops
Even with careful use, stains can still occur on quartz surfaces. But all is not lost! Here are some techniques to remove common quartz countertop stains:
For Food and Drink Stains:
- First, blot any excess liquid and remove solid debris. Don’t aggressively scrub the area as this can spread the stain.
- Mix a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub it onto the stain with a soft cloth or sponge.
- Alternatively, use a non-bleach cleaner made specifically for quartz counters. Spray it onto the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean with a soft cloth.
- For tough stains, make a paste with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Apply it and let it bubble on the stain for 5-10 minutes before wiping. This can lift stubborn pigment stains.
For Oil-based Stains:
- First wipe away any oil residue with a paper towel. Pretest an inconspicuous area first to ensure the cleaner will not dull the surface.
- Apply a degreasing cleaner like an all-purpose spray or stone soap. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Use a soft nylon scrub brush and scrub the stained area in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly.
- For heavy grease buildup, use an ammonia-based cleaner. Rinse completely afterward.
For Hard Water Stains:
- Mix white vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and spray onto the stain. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Use a soft cloth to wipe away the stain. Rinse with clean water and dry completely.
- For stubborn hard water marks, apply some baking soda paste. Let it dwell for 10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.
For Heat Damage:
- Heat damage may permanently scar quartz counters. But try rubbing a wet magic eraser on the singed area using minimal pressure.
- Use a razor blade scraper gently on the damaged section moving with the grain direction. Take care not to scratch the surrounding area.
- Sanding and polishing by a pro may be needed for severe burning or discoloration. This will buff out the top damaged layer.
When to Call a Pro
If stains persist after multiple cleaning attempts, or you see etching, pitting, or scorch marks, it’s best to call a professional quartz countertop installer. They have commercial-grade treatments and tools to remove tough stains without damaging the surface further. This includes:
- Using a handheld steamer to loosen stubborn stains
- Light sanding and polishing to remove etched or burned areas
- Hydrofluoric acid cleaning for cement grout haze that won’t budge
- Deep cleaning and resealing services every few years
Will Quartz Stain Over Time?
When properly cared for, quartz resists stains remarkably well over many years of use. The key is prompt cleaning of spills before they have a chance to set. Annual resealing also provides added protection by filling in micro abrasions that occur naturally over time.
However, quartz is not indestructible. Prolonged exposure to staining agents can cause gradual discoloration in the affected area. But this takes quite a while compared to more porous natural stone. With regular maintenance and careful use, quartz countertops should stay beautiful and stain-free for the lifetime of your kitchen or bath.
What is the Best Quartz Color for Stain Resistance?
If stains are a big concern for your family’s lifestyle, lighter quartz colors are your best bet. The least stain-prone options include:
- Whites and creams: These quartz colors hide stains the best. Caesarstone White Attica is a popular stain-resistant white.
- Light grays: Cool, light grays like London Gray are more forgiving of stains than warm beiges which show more contrast.
- Speckled quartz: Many brands like Cambria feature neutral backgrounds with flecks of color blended in. The mottling helps disguise minor stains.
- Neutrals like tans and light browns. While darker than white, these earthy tones still hide stains relatively well.
Stay away from darker quartz colors and those with heavy patterns or bold streaks if stains are a big concern. Opt for lighter, more uniform colors and textures instead.
Are There Completely Stain-proof Quartz Options?
While no quartz is 100% impervious to stains, certain brands formulate their quartz to better withstand common staining agents:
- Silestone Nebula Series uses an enhanced stain protection formula, making it one of the most stain-resistant quartz options.
- Cambria Quartz is specially treated to resist wine, lemon, tea, and coffee stains that plague other brands.
- LG Viatera quartz counters are crafted to resist hot grease stains that could mar standard quartz.
- Quartzite is actually a natural stone known for exceptional stain resistance, comparable to engineered quartz.
- Dekton Ultracompact Surfaces are technically not quartz but are highly stain, scratch, and heat resistant.
While more stain-proof than regular quartz, even these specialty products can still stain if not properly maintained. But they provide peace of mind if your family’s kitchen or bath habits will put counters to the test.
Does Quartz Countertops Stain Easily – Conclusion
Quartz countertops are far more stain-resistant than marble, granite, and other natural stone surfaces. Thanks to advanced engineering and resin binders, liquids and foods generally won’t penetrate quartz counters. However, prolonged exposure to pigments and oils can still result in some staining over time. By promptly cleaning up spills, using trivets and cutting boards, and resealing every 1-2 years, it is easy to keep quartz counters in pristine shape for many years. Opt for lighter quartz colors and brands that offer enhanced stain protection. With proper maintenance, quartz countertops will retain their like-new beauty and avoid easily staining.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stains on Quartz Countertops
Can you get oil stains out of a quartz countertop?
Yes, oil stains can be removed from quartz using degreasing cleaners made specifically for stone surfaces. Apply a degreaser, let it soak for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with a soft brush and rinse thoroughly. Avoid abrasive scrubbers which could scratch quartz.
Do coffee stains come out of quartz?
Coffee stains can be removed from quartz counters with some effort. First blot any excess liquid, then make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub it into the stain and let it sit briefly before rinsing. For stubborn stains, use a hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste. Be sure to clean spills ASAP before the stain sets.
What removes yellow stains from quartz?
For yellow stains on quartz, first try mixing equal parts white vinegar and water and applying it to the stain. Let it sit a few minutes before wiping and rinsing. If that fails, make a baking soda paste and scrub it on the stained area using a soft cloth, then rinse. This can lift discoloration without damaging the quartz.
Can quartz counters stain from tomatoes or pizza sauce?
Yes, acidic foods like tomatoes and pizza sauce can stain quartz counters over time. The acid etches microscopic pits that allow pigment to soak in. Be sure to clean up acidic spills quickly. Gently scrub with baking soda paste then rinse. Avoid abrasive pads which spread etching damage.
Can you bleach quartz countertops to remove stains?
It’s best not to use bleach or chlorine-based cleaners on quartz counters as these chemicals can damage the finish or discolor the surface over time. For stubborn stains, make a mild hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste. Be sure to test any cleaners on an inconspicuous spot first before applying widely.
Does quartz stain worse than granite?
Quartz generally resists stains much better than granite or marble. Granite is porous and can absorb liquids, leading to difficult staining issues. Quartz’s non-porous surface makes it very stain resistant. However, no stone is 100% stain-proof, so spills should be cleaned quickly on any countertop material.
Can you stain quartz countertops permanently?
It is possible but difficult to permanently stain a quartz countertop. Prolonged exposure to oils, dyes, or harsh chemicals can cause lasting discoloration. But with a hydrogen peroxide/baking soda paste and some elbow grease, most stains can be removed. Badly burned or etched areas may require professional refinishing. But permanent stains are rare with proper care.
Do white quartz countertops stain easily?
White quartz counters are among the most stain-resistant. Light colors like white, cream, and light gray best disguise stains. However, all quartz can stain if spills aren’t wiped up promptly. Even white quartz needs occasional deep cleaning to keep it immaculate. But white quartz certainly stains far less than darker colors.
What is the most stain resistant quartz?
Some of the most stain-resistant quartz options include Silestone Nebula series, Cambria quartz, Viatera by LG, and engineered quartzite like Caesarstone. While no quartz is 100% stain-proof, these options use enhanced formulas and science to better repel everyday stains from coffee, wine, lemon juice, oils, and more.