Quartz countertops are popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms because of their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can get stained from spills and daily wear and tear. With the right cleaning methods and products, you can remove stains from quartz and keep your countertops looking like new.
What Causes Stains on Quartz Countertops
Quartz is non-porous, so spills and stains remain on the surface rather than soaking into the material. Common causes of staining include:
- Food and beverages like coffee, tea, wine, juices, spices, and oils. The acidic and pigmented nature of these substances can etch or discolor the quartz surface.
- Hard water deposits and soap scum buildup. Minerals in hard water and residue from soapy cleaners can leave dull, whitish stains.
- Dirt, grime, and residue from daily use. Things like dust, lotions, cosmetics, and cleaning chemicals can leave behind stubborn marks over time.
- Metal marks from pans, appliances, jewelry, etc. The metal can oxidize and leave rusty looking stains on the quartz.
Cleaning Solutions for Quartz Countertop Stains
Mild Dish Soap and Warm Water
For basic cleaning, use a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and a small amount of mild dish soap. The soap helps cut through grease and grime. Avoid harsh detergents which can damage the quartz sealant.
Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to stains. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing gently with a soft bristle brush. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that works well on organic stains.
Hydrogen peroxide can lift many stubborn stains through its bleaching and disinfecting properties. Dab it on with a paper towel and let it react for 10 minutes before wiping clean. This works well for coffee, tea, wine, and food discolorations.
White vinegar’s acidic nature makes it ideal for removing hard water deposits, soap scum, and mineral stains. Pour undiluted vinegar on the stain and let sit for up to an hour before wiping clean with water.
Cleaning Spray (Stone Cleaner)
Look for a specialty quartz cleaner to tackle tough stains. These sprays contain gentle chemicals and abrasives tailored to quartz. Spray on the stain, allow it to penetrate for 5-10 minutes, then scrub away. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach.
For stubborn stains, use a soft nylon scrub brush or cleaning pad designed for quartz. Apply your chosen cleaning solution, allow it to soak in, then scrub in circular motions while rinsing frequently with water. Avoid aggressive scouring pads.
For dried, caked-on messes, apply heat to soften the gunk before cleaning. Hold a hair dryer to the stain for 30 seconds before scrubbing with an approved pad and quartz cleaner. This works well for gum, grease, and food residues.
Tips for Preventing Quartz Countertop Stains
- Wipe up spills immediately before they can soak in and cause stains.
- Use cutting boards, trivets, placemats etc. to protect the surface from knives, hot pots/pans, and ceramic/glassware.
- Clean quartz regularly with a mild soap and water to prevent buildup of grime.
- Avoid harsh chemicals and acidic cleaners which can strip the quartz sealant.
- Re-seal your quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating quartz sealer to renew stain protection.
- Don’t use quartz as a cutting surface. Use a chopping block to avoid dulling and scratching.
Commonly Asked Questions About Cleaning Quartz Countertop Stains
Can I use bleach or abrasive cleaners on my quartz countertop?
No, avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, or acidic cleaners (like limescale removers) on quartz. They can damage the protective sealant layer. Also avoid abrasive powders or scouring pads that could scratch the surface.
How can I remove dried/caked-on food and grime?
For stubborn dried-on messes, apply heat with a hairdryer to soften the gunk, then use a plastic scraper to gently lift off the residue before scrubbing clean with a nylon pad and quartz-safe cleaner. This method works well for food, gum, grease etc.
My quartz has cloudy splotches – what causes this?
Cloudy spots are usually caused by mineral deposits from water or cleaning products. Try cleaning with white vinegar to dissolve the minerals. For heavier buildup, use a quartz-specific cleaner formulated to remove etched deposits and restore shine.
Can stains reappear after cleaning quartz?
It’s possible for some organic stains to reappear even after cleaning due to remaining residue deep in the porous surface. Use a bleach-free quartz stain remover and scrub with a soft brush to thoroughly lift out all trapped residue. Avoid moisture after cleaning to prevent re-emergence.
I accidentally marked my quartz with a permanent marker. How do I remove it?
Test gentle cleaners like baking soda or diluted hydrogen peroxide first. If that fails, try a stain remover like Bar Keeper’s Friend applied with a non-abrasive scrub sponge. Avoid aggressive scrubbing and let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes before wiping. If residue remains, reapply cleaner until fully removed.
Quartz countertops are prone to stains from daily use, but nearly all stains can be removed with the proper cleaning methods. Using non-abrasive cleaners and scrubbing gently keeps quartz looking fresh and damage-free. Be sure to wipe spills quickly, avoid cutting on the surface, and reseal quartz regularly to minimize stains. With some elbow grease and quartz-approved cleaners, you can keep your countertops spotless for years to come.