Quartz countertops are popular in many homes today due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, even quartz can develop a dulled appearance over time with regular use. Buffing is an easy process that can restore the shine and luster to your quartz countertops. With a little time and elbow grease, you can make them look as good as new.
What You’ll Need
Buffing quartz countertops doesn’t require any special equipment. Here are the basic supplies you’ll need:
- Quartz countertop polish or sealant
- Soft cloths
- Hand towels
- Spray bottle with water
- Polishing pad or buffing block (optional)
Choose a polish made specifically for quartz or a clear quartz sealant. Avoid waxes, which can cause buildup. The soft cloths will be used for applying the polish and buffing. Damp hand towels help remove residue. A spray bottle with water is useful for keeping the surface wet while polishing. A polishing pad or handheld buffing block makes the job easier but isn’t essential.
Cleaning Before Polishing
Before buffing, thoroughly clean the quartz to remove any dirt, grease or residue. This gives the polish a clean surface to adhere to.
Here’s how to clean quartz countertops prior to polishing:
- Remove everything from the countertop. Clear off any appliances, dishes, etc.
- Mix a few drops of dish soap into warm water in a spray bottle. Spray down the entire surface.
- With a damp microfiber cloth, wipe the quartz clean. Use a scrubbing motion on more stubborn grime.
- Rinse the countertop with clear water. Wipe up any puddles or streaks with a dry towel.
- Allow the quartz to air dry completely.
Using a Store-Bought Quartz Polish
Specialized quartz polishing products provide an easy solution for restoring shine. Look for a polish that claims to enhance, brighten or deep clean quartz.
Follow the product label instructions carefully. Here are some general tips for using quartz polish:
- Shake the bottle well before each use.
- Apply a small amount of polish directly onto the countertop.
- Using a soft buffing pad or microfiber cloth, rub the polish over the surface.
- Add gentle pressure to work the polish into the quartz. Move the pad in small circular motions.
- Let the polish dry for a few minutes. Then buff with a clean dry cloth until any haze disappears.
- Reapply polish and buff again if needed for a brighter shine. Be sure to buff off all residue between coats.
The abrasives in the polish will help remove superficial stains and etching. Going over the entire surface will ensure it has an even, uniform appearance.
Polishing by Hand with Windex
For a inexpensive and effective polish, you can use Windex and some elbow grease. The ammonia in glass cleaner helps brighten quartz.
- Windex or other glass/surface cleaner with ammonia
- Microfiber cloths
- Hand towels
- Soft polishing pad (optional)
- Spray Windex liberally over a small area of the countertop.
- Working in circular motions, rub into the quartz with a polishing pad or microfiber cloth. Apply moderate pressure.
- Let Windex sit for 2-3 minutes. The ammonia will help lift dirt from the surface.
- Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Use a dry hand towel to remove all moisture and residue.
- Repeat over the entire countertop surface. Reapply Windex as needed.
- Continue polishing and wiping until you achieve the desired shine. This may take 15-20 minutes of work.
- Lastly, clean any remaining Windex residue with clear water. Dry thoroughly with towels.
The vigorous circular hand motions are key for removing cloudiness and surface buildup from your quartz. Take your time to rejuvenate the entire surface.
Using a Handheld Buffer
For professional-level polishing, use a handheld buffing machine. These tools have rotating buffing pads that speed up the polishing process. Options include:
- Cordless buffing pads that run on battery power
- Electric buffing pads with a cord
- Air-powered buffing blocks attached to an air compressor
Always start with a soft buffing pad. Here are some tips for using a handheld buffer on quartz:
- Clean the quartz thoroughly before buffing.
- Apply a dollop of quartz polish or rubbing compound to pad. Dab gently onto surface.
- Keeping the buffer moving at all times, polish countertop using moderate pressure.
- Work systematically over entire surface to ensure even polishing.
- Avoid letting buffer sit in one place, which can create uneven shine.
- Wipe up residue and reapply polish as needed.
- Finish by using a microfiber cloth to remove any swirl marks and residue.
The motion and pressure of the buffer will produce a brighter, Light circular motions work better than aggressive rubbing. Take precautions not to drop or bang the buffing block onto the quartz.
Maintaining a Polished Finish
To keep your quartz countertops looking lustrous, you’ll need to repeat the buffing process every so often. How often depends on frequency of use. For kitchen counters subject to daily use, every 6-12 months is a good timeframe. Buff less often for quartz surfaces used more sparingly.
You can also maintain the polished look with more frequent mini-cleanings:
- Wipe up spills as soon as they occur. Letting moisture sit leads to etching.
- For quick touch-ups, rub a cloth dampened with quartz polish over high-traffic areas.
- Avoid using abrasive cleaners. Stick to gentle soap and water for routine cleaning.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating quartz sealer.
Stay diligent about using coasters under glasses and avoiding direct heat exposure to preserve your buffing efforts. With regular care and polishing, quartz countertops will continue looking like new for years to come.
Troubleshooting Issues During Polishing
Buffing quartz is usually a straightforward process. But you may encounter a few issues:
Residue leftover – Some polishes leave behind a stubborn hazy film even after buffing. Use a cloth dampened with soapy water to remove residue. Avoid moisture damage by drying thoroughly after rinsing.
Scratches not going away – Superficial swirls and etching should diminish with polishing. Deep scratches or chips will remain. Unfortunately, these require professional resurfacing.
Sections duller than others – With irregular polishing, some spots may look shinier. Re-buff the dull areas until the quartz has uniform shine.
Pad getting stuck – If using a buffing pad, be sure to keep it constantly moving. Stopping in one place can create friction and drag on the quartz.
Heat damage – Exposure to excessive heat can cause permanent dullness and discoloration. Unfortunately, this type of damage can’t be buffed out.
FAQs About Buffing Quartz
Buffing quartz yourself for the first time? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What type of pad is best for polishing quartz?
Use a soft pad or microfiber cloth. Options like terrycloth, flannel and chamois work well. Avoid stiff pads that could potentially scratch. For power buffers, a soft foam polishing pad is ideal.
How can I get rid of hard water spots on my quartz?
Hard water stains need a little more oomph to remove. Make a paste with baking soda and water and gently rub over the deposits. Or use lemon juice and let sit before scrubbing. Rebuff once deposits are gone.
Is it possible to over-polish and damage quartz?
Yes, if you apply too much pressure and friction for too long it can gradually erode the surface over time. Use moderate pressure and avoid lingering too long in one spot to prevent wearing down the quartz prematurely.
How often should I polish my quartz kitchen countertops?
For the average kitchen, a thorough polishing every 6-12 months is sufficient. High-traffic kitchens may need buffing every 3-4 months. Gauge frequency based on when dullness reappears.
Will a stained quartz need to be professionally resurfaced at some point?
Over many years, significant staining can build up that professional resurfacing is needed. But regular buffing and cleaning allows most homeowners to avoid resurfacing during their lifetime.
Is it safe to polish outdoor quartz surfaces?
Yes, outdoor kitchen countertops and other exterior quartz can be buffed just like indoor. The polishing process will be the same. Just avoid doing it in direct sunlight or high heat.
Can I use my electric drill with a buffing pad to polish faster?
It’s best to avoid this, even at low speeds. A drill doesn’t allow the same control and precision as a specialized buffer. The high-speed motion risks damaging the surface.
What household items can I use to polish quartz?
Non-abrasive options that provide a good shine include glass cleaner, marble polish, a light coat of mineral oil, or plain white toothpaste gently buffed. Always test on an inconspicuous spot first.
Keeping quartz countertops looking like new doesn’t require much – just a bit of effort using the right polish and techniques. With a simple buffing routine every 6-12 months, you can enjoy lustrous, like-new quartz for decades before professional resurfacing becomes necessary. Be sure to properly prep and clean before polishing. Work systematically across the entire surface using circular motions and moderate pressure with soft pads. Maintain the finish between buffing by promptly wiping spills and avoiding harsh cleaners. Your quartz will reward you with unmatched durability and long-lasting beauty when properly maintained.