Quartz countertops are a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodels thanks to their durability, appearance, and low maintenance. But how much maintenance do quartz countertops really require? Here is a detailed look at what kind of care and upkeep quartz countertops need.
What Are Quartz Countertops?
Before diving into maintenance, let’s start with a quick overview of what exactly quartz countertops are. Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone countertops, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polymer resins and pigments.
The quartz content typically makes up 90% or more of the material, with resins added for binding purposes and pigments introduced for coloration. The mixture is molded into slabs, cooled, polished, and sealed. The end result is an extremely hard, non-porous material ideal for kitchen and bath surfaces.
Compared to natural stone countertops like granite and marble, quartz offers superior durability, lower porosity, consistent color patterns, and resistance to scratches, cracks, and heat. Quartz also requires less sealing than granite or marble.
Day-to-Day Cleaning and Care
One of the biggest advantages of quartz countertops is that routine cleaning and maintenance is quick and easy compared to other countertop materials. Here are some tips for keeping quartz surfaces looking their best day-to-day:
- For regular cleaning, wipe down quartz countertops using a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and mild soap. Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive pads.
- Dry surfaces thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water spots and mineral buildup. A squeegee can help speed up drying.
- For stubborn dried spills or messes, use a non-abrasive cleaning pad and spray cleaner formulated for stone surfaces.
- Quartz is stain-resistant, but rinse spills like wine, coffee, or juice promptly to avoid potential staining.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
- Do not use abrasive cleaners, alkaline chemicals, bleach, ammonia, or acidic cleaners (like those for granite) on quartz surfaces. They can damage the finish.
- Vinegar, lemon juice, and other mild acids can dull quartz over time. Avoid using them.
- If using a granite cleaner by mistake, rinse immediately with water.
Prevent Heat Damage
- Quartz can withstand moderate heat. But avoid direct high heat from pots, pans, or appliances to prevent cracking, scorching, or discoloration.
- Always use trivets or hot pads under hot cookware, bakeware, electrical appliances, etc.
- For water spot removal, use a cleaning polish or microfiber cloth. Avoid scraping tools.
- Disinfect quartz regularly with a non-bleach stone cleaner to kill germs.
- Use cutting boards rather than cutting directly on the counter.
Weekly and Deep Cleaning
In addition to daily wipe-downs, quartz should receive occasional deeper cleanings to keep the finish glossy and flawless. Here are some recommendations:
- Once a week, clean quartz with a PH-neutral stone cleaner or quartz-specific cleaning product. This removes any built-up grime.
- Apply the product to the entire surface using a damp cloth or sponge. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing clean.
- For a DIY deep cleaning solution, make a paste with baking soda and water. Spread onto quartz and let sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing off. The baking soda has mild abrasive qualities to clean without scratching.
- Using disinfecting wipes or sprays helps kill germs and bacteria that simple cleaning leaves behind. Look for ones labeled safe for stone.
- Rub the disinfectant over all quartz surfaces and let it sit wet for 3-5 minutes before wiping dry with a paper towel.
- If quartz becomes especially grimy from oil buildup, use a degreasing cleaner formulated for stone once a week until the oil is removed. This prevents staining.
- Apply the degreaser, allow to soak for 5-10 minutes, then scrub and rinse thoroughly.
While quartz is incredibly durable, the surface can potentially become damaged if proper care isn’t taken. Follow these tips to keep your countertops looking pristine:
- Never allow spills, water, or cleaning solutions to sit on quartz for extended periods. Wipe up promptly to avoid possible staining and discoloration over time.
- Place trivets or boards under all hot pans and dishes. Cutting directly on quartz can also scratch the surface.
- Don’t let spills like wine, coffee, juice, or oils sit on quartz. Promptly wipe up acidic and staining substances.
- Avoid excessive pressure that can chip quartz edges. Never sit or stand on counters. Lift heavy objects carefully to avoid cracking.
- Some quartz brands may have specific maintenance dos and don’ts. Always check the manufacturer’s care guide.
- Quartz is factory sealed but may need resealing every 1-2 years depending on use. Use a penetrating sealer made for quartz.
Minor damage can sometimes occur over years of use. Here’s how to restore quartz’s original beauty:
- Light scratches can often be buffed out using fine-grit sandpaper (400-600 grit) and a bit of water. Rub over scratches in a circular motion.
- Avoid excessive pressure to prevent creating deeper grooves. Rinse and dry when done buffing.
- Small chips on edges or cracks can be repaired with a coloring putty stick that matches quartz. Fill in damage according to putty directions.
- Larger chips may need a pro patch job. Never try extensive repairs yourself or damage can worsen.
- For stain removal, start with a PH-neutral cleaner. If that fails, try a poultice paste made for stone. Spread over stain, allow to dry, then rinse.
- Severe stains may be permanent. Avoid exposing quartz to harsh chemicals or dyes that can create stubborn staining.
- Etching from acidic spills causes light marks. Use a marble polishing compound and soft cloth to rub out.
- For dullness and discoloration, restore shine and color with a quartz-specific polishing kit.
- Don’t attempt repairs unless you’re confident they won’t make damage worse. For more serious issues, always call a quartz fabrication/installation specialist. Improper repairs can lead to costly replacement.
How Quartz Compares to Other Countertops
Quartz is easier to maintain than granite or marble, but how does it compare to other popular countertop materials? Here’s a look:
Quartz vs. Granite
- Quartz needs less frequent sealing than natural stone granite. Granite requires yearly resealing.
- Spills and acids etch marble more readily than quartz. Quartz resists staining better.
- Quartz doesn’t require using specialty stone cleaners needed for granite. Mild soap and water is fine.
Quartz vs. Marble
- Marble is prone to scratching and etching from acids. Quartz is harder and more durable.
- Quartz resists water marks and staining much better than porous marble.
- Quartz can handle exposure to oils, juices, wine, etc. that will stain marble permanently.
Quartz vs. Laminate
- Laminate is susceptible to scratching, chipping, burns, and water damage. Quartz is far more durable.
- The seamless appearance of quartz has more high-end appeal than plastic laminate.
- Laminate requires no more than simple wipe-downs. Quartz needs occasional deep cleaning.
Quartz vs. Tile
- Grout lines on tile can stain and harbor germs much more than quartz’s seamless surface.
- Quartz requires less day-to-day maintenance than tile countertops.
- Dropped objects will chip tile but not damage quartz as readily.
Quartz vs. Butcher Block
- Butcher block wood requires oiling and sealing to avoid water/rot damage. Quartz is non-porous.
- Butcher block shows cut marks over time. Quartz resists scratching and knife marks better.
- Butcher block needs more routine maintenance with re-oiling every 1-2 months.
Quartz vs. Concrete
- Acidic foods and cleaners will etch and stain concrete more easily than quartz.
- Raw concrete’s porous surface requires extensive sealing. Quartz rarely needs sealing.
- Concrete develops cracks and flaws more readily. Quartz remains smooth and pristine longer.
Quartz vs. Stainless Steel
- Stainless steel shows fingerprints, water marks, and signs of use more than quartz.
- Stainless can dent from dropped objects. Quartz chips less easily on impact.
- Stainless requires frequent polishing to maintain its luster. Quartz’s shine endures with less upkeep.
Maintaining That “New” Look
With proper everyday care, weekly deep cleaning, immediate spill removal, and avoiding countertop stressors, quartz can stay looking like new for many years before needing replacement. Be vigilant about using trivets and cutting boards, wiping surfaces after each use, and giving countertops routine disinfecting and degreasing.
By following the manufacturer’s care recommendations and addressing minor repairs right away, your quartz can retain its original beauty and function for the duration of your ownership. With just a little attentive maintenance, quartz countertops will far surpass other options when it comes to durability with minimal upkeep required.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertop Maintenance
Quartz countertops are growing in popularity for kitchen and bathroom renovations thanks to their many benefits. But how much maintenance does quartz require compared to other countertop materials? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about caring for quartz surfaces.
How often do I need to seal my quartz countertop?
- Quartz countertops are factory sealed and do not require frequent resealing. Only an occasional reapplication of sealer (once every 1-2 years) is needed to maintain protection. Quartz does not absorb liquid easily like natural stone, so sealing is minimal.
What’s the best way to clean quartz everyday?
- For routine daily cleaning, simply use a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and mild soap. Avoid abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals. Wipe the surface clean and make sure to dry thoroughly with a paper towel or cloth to prevent water spots.
Are quartz countertops scratch resistant?
- Quartz is very hard and durable, making it resistant to scratches and chips from normal daily use. However, cutting directly on the surface or excessive force can damage quartz. Always use a cutting board and handle the surface with care to prevent scratches.
How do I get rid of hard water spots on my quartz?
- Hard water deposits can leave behind stubborn spots. Use a cleaning polish, microfiber cloth, or non-abrasive scrubbing sponge with warm water to gently remove water spots on quartz. Avoid scraping with sharp tools to prevent scratching the surface.
Can I use bleach or alkaline cleaners on quartz?
- No, you should never use alkaline, acidic, or abrasive cleaners on quartz surfaces. Bleach, vinegar, ammonia, and other harsh chemicals can damage, dull, or etch quartz. Stick to PH-neutral stone cleaners and soaps.
What should I do about oil stains on my quartz countertop?
- Oil can penetrate and stain quartz over time. Use a degreasing cleaner formulated for stone to remove oil, allowing it to soak for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Avoid letting oil sit, wipe up spills right away.
How do I get a cigarette burn out of my quartz counter?
- For small cigarette burns, carefully scrape away the top damaged layer with a plastic putty knife, then use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth and polish the surface. Don’t scratch deeply into undamaged areas.
Can I cut food directly on my quartz countertop?
- It’s best to avoid cutting any foods directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to protect the surface from deep scratches and cuts that can harbor bacteria. The non-porous surface prevents bacteria absorption, but scratches make cleaning more difficult.
Does routine cleaning with soap and water sanitize quartz properly?
- Thorough wiping with mild soap and water keeps quartz clean for everyday use. But proper disinfection requires occasionally using a stone-safe disinfecting cleaner or wipe to kill germs and bacteria that normal cleaning leaves behind.
Regular wiping, prompt spill removal, avoidance of harsh cleaners, and careful handling are key to maintaining quartz countertops. With the proper care, quartz surfaces can stay looking pristine and avoid damage. Following the manufacturer’s care instructions and addressing any issues immediately allows quartz countertops to retain their durability, beauty, and low maintenance.