Quartz countertops are a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, stylish appearance, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can get stained over time. While quartz is non-porous and resists stains better than other natural stone countertops, spills can leave behind stubborn stains if not cleaned up promptly. Fortunately, you can bleach quartz countertops to remove stains and restore their original beauty.
What is Quartz?
Before learning how to bleach quartz, it helps to understand what quartz countertops are made of. Quartz countertops are engineered stone, made from approximately 90% ground natural quartz crystals and 10% polymer resins and pigments. The quartz provides strength and durability, while the resins bind the material together into a solid slab.
The resins make quartz non-porous, so spills and stains don’t penetrate the surface. This makes quartz very stain-resistant compared to porous natural stone like granite. However, with time and use, stubborn stains can still occur on the surface. The good news is that the resins also make it possible to bleach quartz to remove stains without damaging the material.
Can You Bleach Quartz Countertops?
Yes, you can bleach quartz countertops. The key is to use the right type of bleach and application method. Household chlorine bleach is an effective stain remover for quartz. Just be sure to follow safety precautions when handling bleach. Never mix bleach with other cleaners, especially those containing ammonia, as toxic fumes can result.
It’s also important to spot test the bleach first in an inconspicuous area. Some quartz contains colored resin to achieve a unique tone or pattern. The bleach can potentially lighten or discolor these colored areas. Check for any adverse effects on a small test spot before bleaching the entire surface.
Bleach Types for Quartz
Here are the best bleach options for removing stains on quartz:
- Chlorine bleach: The most common household bleach, like Clorox, works well for quartz. Opt for regular bleach over a “splash-less” formula.
- Oxygen bleach: Non-chlorine bleaches like OxiClean also effectively whiten quartz. These are gentler than chlorine bleach.
- Alkaline bleach: Cleaners like Soft Scrub with bleach are formulated for stone and contain an alkaline bleach.
- Acidic bleach: Do NOT use toilet bowl cleaners or acidic bleach products. These etch and damage the quartz surface.
- Color-safe bleach: This won’t have enough whitening power to remove stubborn quartz stains.
How to Bleach Quartz Countertops
Follow these steps for best results when bleaching quartz:
- Clear counters: Remove everything from the surface, including appliances, rugs, and food.
- Protect surfaces: Tape off any areas you don’t want bleached, like walls or floors. Cover nearby surfaces with plastic sheeting.
- Spot test: Apply a few drops of diluted bleach to an inconspicuous spot and check for any discoloration after 1-2 minutes.
- Mix solution: In a spray bottle, mix 2/3 cup bleach and 1 gallon warm water. For heavy stains, use full-strength bleach.
- Apply bleach: Spray or wipe the solution onto stained areas. Ensure the surface stays wet with bleach for 5-10 minutes.
- Scrub stains: Use a soft brush or Scotch-Brite pad to gently scrub affected areas. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
- Rinse thoroughly: Wipe away all bleach residue with clean water, rinsing several times. Vinegar neutralizes any remaining bleach.
- Dry and polish: Buff the counters with a microfiber cloth once completely dry.
Bleaching a Whole Quartz Countertop
For an overall brightening effect or to remove minor stains across the entire surface, you can dilute the bleach and gently clean the whole quartz countertop:
- Mix 1 cup bleach with 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket.
- Dip a soft scrub brush in the solution and gently scrub the wet quartz surface.
- Work in sections, rinsing with clean water frequently to remove bleach residue.
- Rub vinegar over the surface last to neutralize any remaining bleach.
- Buff dry with a cloth.
Take care not to overscrub any one area when bleaching the whole countertop or you may lighten the spot.
What Kind of Stains Can Bleach Remove from Quartz?
Bleach can help remove many common stains from quartz surfaces, including:
- Coffee and tea stains
- Food stains from spices, oils, grease, or food coloring
- Dyes from colored liquids like red wine or beet juice
- Residual soap scum or hard water spots
- Bacteria stains from raw meat juices
- Rust stains from pots or metal objects
- Marker or ink stains
- Water rings or mineral deposits
For best results, treat stains as soon as possible. Old, dried-on stains are harder to remove. Bleach may lighten very stubborn stains but not remove them completely. Avoid letting stains set on quartz to prevent permanent discoloration.
How to Bleach Specific Stains on Quartz
Use these tips to target certain tough stains with bleach:
Coffee and Tea Stains
- Mix oxygen bleach like OxiClean with warm water to make a paste.
- Apply paste to the stain and allow to sit for up to an hour.
- Scrub with a damp rag or soft brush then rinse.
Red Wine Stains
- Dab some undiluted chlorine bleach directly on the stain.
- After 5 minutes, wipe up the bleach and rinse.
- For tougher stains, apply bleach, cover with plastic wrap, and leave overnight.
Food Coloring Stains
- Spray diluted chlorine bleach and let sit 5-10 minutes.
- Use a white nylon scrub pad and baking soda to gently scrub.
- Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
Soap Scum Stains
- Use an alkaline bleach cleaner like Soft Scrub to scrub stains.
- You can also scrub with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
- Rinse well and wipe dry.
Quartz Bleaching Precautions
While it’s safe to bleach quartz, there are some important precautions to take:
- Never mix bleach with vinegar, ammonia, or other acids. This creates toxic chlorine gas.
- Use proper ventilation. Open windows and run kitchen or bathroom fans when bleaching.
- Wear gloves and eye protection when handling bleach. Avoid skin and eye contact.
- Rinse surfaces very thoroughly after bleaching. Bleach residue can damage quartz if left on the surface.
- Spot test colored quartz first. Bleach can potentially lighten or discolor resin-based color patterns.
- Start with diluted bleach. Use full-strength only on toughest stains.
- Avoid over-scrubbing, which can damage the quartz surface over time.
- Don’t use bleach on Quartz with a polished finish, as it can damage the glossy surface.
With the proper precautions, you can safely renew your quartz countertops by removing stains with bleach. Be sure to give countertops a thorough rinsing to remove all bleach residue when finished.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops
Regular cleaning and prompt stain removal are the best ways to keep quartz looking like new. Here are some care tips:
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent stains.
- Clean frequently with a mild soap and warm water.
- Disinfect surfaces with diluted hydrogen peroxide.
- Use a stone cleaner to remove soap scum and hard water marks.
- Reseal quartz once a year with a stone sealer to prevent staining.
- Avoid abrasive pads and acidic cleaners which can dull the finish.
- Use trivets and cutting boards to protect from hot pans and knives.
Proper cleaning and sealing helps boost stain resistance between occasional bleaching. Keeping quartz counters beautiful for years involves both ongoing care and periodic deep cleaning.
FAQs About Bleaching Quartz Countertops
Still have some questions about using bleach on quartz? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Does Bleach Damage Quartz?
When used properly on stain-resistant quartz, bleach will not damage or etch the surface. Always follow label dilutions, rinse thoroughly, and spot test first. Avoid excessive scrubbing. Bleach can damage more delicate surfaces like marble.
What’s the Best Bleach for Quartz?
Regular 6% household chlorine bleach works well for quartz. Check that it does not contain lemon or other acids. Oxygen bleach and alkaline cleaners are also safe quartz bleach options.
How Long Should You Leave Bleach on Quartz?
5-10 minutes is usually enough time for diluted bleach to work on typical stains. For tough stains, full strength bleach can be left on for up to an hour. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
Does Bleach Remove All Stains from Quartz?
Bleach can remove most stains from quartz surfaces. However, it may not remove all traces of extremely stubborn or dried-on stains. Older stains are harder to eliminate completely.
How Often Can You Bleach Quartz Countertops?
You can safely bleach quartz every few months for a deep cleaning. More frequent bleaching risks damaging the surface over time. Good daily cleaning should limit the need for heavy-duty bleaching.
Can You Use Bleach Wipes on Quartz?
Yes, disinfecting wipes with diluted bleach are safe for quartz counters. Check that they do not contain lemon, vinegar or other acids. Rinse surfaces after using wipes.
Bleach is an effective way to remove stains from quartz countertops without harming the durable surface. By using the proper diluted chlorine or oxygen bleach products and application techniques, you can successfully brighten up stained quartz. Take safety measures when handling bleach, spot test colored quartz, and be sure to rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
Coupled with diligent daily cleaning and prompt spill removal, occasional bleaching keeps resilient quartz countertops looking like new for many years. With this guide, you can confidently use bleach to clean and restore the original beauty of your quartz countertop surfaces.