Quartz countertops are popular in kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetically pleasing appearance, and resistance to stains. However, even quartz can get stained over time from spills, grease, food, and other substances. The good news is that most stains can be removed from quartz with the proper cleaning methods and products. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean stain off quartz countertop.
How to Identify the Type of Stain on Quartz
Before cleaning a stained quartz countertop, it’s important to identify what type of stain it is to use the appropriate removal method. Here are some common stain types and what causes them:
Oil-based stains on quartz are usually caused by:
- Cooking oils like vegetable, canola, olive or sesame oil
- Grease and fat drippings
- Butter, margarine and lard
- Cosmetics like lipstick, mascara and foundation
- Lotions and moisturizers
- Candle wax
- Automotive fluids like motor oil
Oil-based stains often appear as dark, greasy looking spots. They can penetrate deep into the pores of quartz.
Water-based stains are caused by:
- Coffee, tea, juice, soda, wine, alcohol and other beverages
- Vinegar, sauces and salad dressings
- Fruit and vegetable juices
- Dyes from colored liquids like Kool-Aid
- Soap scum and hard water deposits
These stains look like colored rings, droplets or film on the quartz surface. They tend to be lighter than oil-based stains.
Organic stains come from:
- Food particles like tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, curry
- Spices like turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, curry powder, saffron
- Leaf and grass stains
- Mold and mildew
- Dirt and mud
Organic stains often look like food splatter or dried, caked-on residues. They can range from light to dark in color.
Hard Water Stains
Hard water contains a high amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Prolonged exposure causes cloudy, whitish hard water stains on quartz.
Prolonged exposure to acidic substances like citrus, vinegar, alcohol, tomatoes and baked-on spills can etch light marks into quartz. These appear like dulled, rough spots.
Once you identify the stain type, you can use the right removal techniques and products.
Cleaning Supplies Needed for Quartz Stain Removal
Having the proper supplies on hand will make stain removal much easier. Here are some recommended products:
- pH-neutral stone cleaner: Specialized stone cleaners are formulated to deep clean quartz without damaging the surface. Look for a cleaner with a neutral 7pH.
- Dish soap: For greasy stains, dish soap helps cut through the oily residue. Choose a mild formula, not heavy-duty detergent.
- Baking soda: Works as a gentle abrasive to lift stains and neutralize acids. Make a paste with water to scrub marks.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Helps whiten and remove stubborn organic stains. Use a 3% solution.
- Bar keeper’s friend: Contains oxalic acid to eliminate rust, mineral deposits and surface stains.
- Scotch-Brite non-scratch scrub sponge: For extra scrubbing power on tough stains. Won’t mar quartz.
- Old toothbrush: Useful for scrubbing stains in crevices and textured areas.
- Microfiber cloths: For applying cleaners and drying quartz without leaving lint or streaks.
- Spray bottle: For applying stone cleaner and hydrogen peroxide solutions to stains.
- Plastic scraper: Helps gently lift baked-on food residue and gunk without scratching.
Avoid abrasive scrubbers, stiff brushes, steel wool, and acidic cleaners which can scratch, dull or etch quartz. Now let’s go over how to clean different stain types.
How to Remove Oil-Based Stains from Quartz
Oil-based stains require a deep clean to lift from the pores of quartz:
Step 1: Blot Fresh Stains
If the stain is still wet, blot immediately with a paper towel. Don’t rub, which can spread the oily residue.
Step 2: Remove Excess Oil
Use a plastic scraper to gently lift off any thick buildup or greasy film sitting on the quartz surface. Wipe away scraped residue with a paper towel.
Step 3: Create Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Apply paste over the stain and let sit for 5 minutes. Baking soda will draw out the oils.
Step 4: Scrub with Dish Soap
Use a non-scratch scrub sponge or toothbrush dipped in warm water and dish soap to scrub stained area for 1-2 minutes. Rinse well.
Step 5: Disinfect with Peroxide
Spray a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution over the stain. Let bubble for 2-3 minutes to sanitize. Rinse thoroughly.
Step 6: Clean with Stone Cleaner
Spray a pH-neutral stone cleaner onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe the stain in circular motions. Rinse and dry completely. Check if stain has lifted. Repeat process if needed.
Removing Water-Based Stains from Quartz
Water-based stains sit on the surface so they can be cleaned with less abrasive methods:
Step 1: Absorb Liquid Spills
Immediately blot wet spills with a dry, absorbent cloth so the stain doesn’t spread or set.
Step 2: Flush with Water
Hold a steady stream of warm water over the stain to rinse away any residue. Blot dry with a cloth.
Step 3: Clean with Dish Soap
Apply a few drops of dish soap and water solution directly on the stain. Use a non-abrasive scrub sponge in circular motions for 60 seconds. Rinse thoroughly.
Step 4: Disinfect with Peroxide
Spray 3% hydrogen peroxide over the area and let bubble for 2-3 minutes to remove bacteria. Rinse well.
Step 5: Remove Soap Scum
For soap scum stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Let sit 5 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.
Step 6: Apply Stone Cleaner
Use a pH-neutral stone cleaner and microfiber cloth to wipe away remaining stain residue. Rinse and dry quartz completely.
Cleaning Organic Stains Off Quartz Countertops
Food, dirt and grime require deep cleaning agents to lift from quartz pores:
Step 1: Scrape Excess Residue
Use a plastic scraper to gently lift any chunky spilled foods, thick sauces or mud. Take care not to scratch quartz.
Step 2: Apply Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste of 3 baking soda to 1 water. Spread paste over stain, allowing to sit for 5 minutes to absorb grime.
Step 3: Scrub with Stiff Brush
Dip an old toothbrush in warm water and dish soap. Gently scrub stained area in circles for 1-2 minutes to lift residue from pores.
Step 4: Rinse and Wipe Away
Rinse paste thoroughly with clean water. Wipe area with hydrogen peroxide on a cloth to sanitize. Rinse again.
Step 5: Remove Tough Stains
For stubborn organic stains, make a paste with Bar Keeper’s Friend and water. Gently scrub for 1 minute before rinsing.
Step 6: Clean with Stone Cleaner
Spray stone cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and wipe to remove the last of the stain residue. Rinse and dry completely.
Eliminating Hard Water Stains from Quartz
Hard water leaves unsightly mineral stains that require acidic cleaners to remove:
Step 1: Soften with Vinegar
Spray undiluted white vinegar over the hard water stain. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to allow acidic vinegar to dissolve minerals.
Step 2: Scrub with Baking Soda
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a toothbrush or non-scratch sponge to gently scrub the stain for 1-2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
Step 3: Clean with Bar Keeper’s Friend
Make a paste with Bar Keeper’s Friend and water. Apply to stain for 3-5 minutes. The oxalic acid will cut through mineral deposits. Rinse well.
Step 4: Remove Residue
Mix equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Spray over the stained area and wipe away with a clean microfiber cloth.
Step 5: Stone Cleaner Rinse
Spray neutral stone cleaner onto quartz. Wipe clean with a cloth to remove any haze and residue. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
Step 6: Buff to Shine
Use a soft cloth to buff the quartz in circular motions. This will restore the surface shine.
How to Remove Etch Marks from Quartz
Etch marks require refinishing to remove the roughened texture:
Step 1: Smooth with Baking Soda
Make a paste from baking soda and water. Rub onto etch marks using a soft cloth or non-scratch sponge for 2-3 minutes. Rinse clean.
Step 2: Clean with Peroxide
Spray etched areas with peroxide. Let bubble for 2-3 minutes. Wipe away with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly.
Step 3: Re-polish Surface
Apply a quartz polish product or a small amount of mineral oil to etched areas. Buff in gentle circles for 1-2 minutes. Remove excess oil.
Step 4: Use Fine Sandpaper
If etch marks remain, wrap 2000 grit wet sandpaper around a sponge. Gently smooth affected area for 30 seconds. Rinse and dry.
Step 5: Clean and Shine
Spray quartz cleaner over sanded areas. Wipe away residue with a cloth. Buff dry with a soft towel to restore shine.
Tips for Preventing Quartz Stains
While stains can nearly always be removed from quartz, prevention is the best policy:
- Clean up spills immediately before they have a chance to set and stain.
- Use cutting boards and trivets to protect quartz from hot pans, staining foods and acidic liquids.
- Seal and maintain quartz every 6-12 months with professional-grade sealant. This makes the surface more stain resistant.
- Avoid harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia or abrasive scrubbers that can damage quartz.
- Rinse quartz thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residue that could attract dirt.
- Don’t let soaps, lotions, oils or standing water pool on the quartz.
By properly caring for and maintaining your quartz countertops, you can keep them looking like new for years to come. With a bit of time and elbow grease, even the most stubborn stains can be removed from quartz using the effective techniques outlined above.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Stains from Quartz Countertops
Can you use bleach to clean quartz countertops?
No, avoid using bleach or chlorine-based cleaners on quartz. The chemicals in bleach can discolor and potentially damage the surface over time. Use a pH-neutral stone cleaner instead.
What happens if you don’t seal quartz countertops?
Without a protective sealant, quartz becomes more prone to staining from spills and daily use. Sealing fills in microscopic pores, making the surface less penetrable. Reseal quartz every 1-2 years.
Can lemon remove stains from quartz?
Yes, lemon juice can help remove some water-based stains and hard water buildup. The acidic lemon juice dissolves mineral deposits. Avoid using lemon on etch marks. Rinse thoroughly.
How do you get dried food off quartz?
Use a plastic scraper to gently lift dried, caked-on food. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the area for 5 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush. Rinse clean.
Does Windex stain quartz?
Windex contains chemicals like ammonia that can dull quartz overtime. Use a specialized stone cleaner or mild dish soap and water solution instead. Avoid harsh chemicals.
Can I use vinegar and water to clean quartz?
You can use a diluted vinegar and water solution to remove hard water stains from quartz. Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Avoid undiluted vinegar which can etch the surface.
What is the best homemade quartz cleaner?
Make a natural quartz cleaner by mixing 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap, 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide, and 2 cups warm water. Apply with a soft sponge 1-2 times weekly for cleaning.
How do you polish a stained quartz countertop?
Gently buff stained quartz in circles with a soft cloth and mineral oil or polish made for engineered stone. This helps restore shine and smoothness. Avoid polishes with abrasives or acids.
Can you use Magic Eraser on quartz?
Magic Eraser contains a mild abrasive that could potentially dull your quartz. Instead, use baking soda and water paste as a gentler abrasive scrub to lift stains.
Quartz countertops are prone to staining over time like any natural stone surface. However, nearly any type of stain – from oils and grease to food and hard water – can be removed from quartz using the proper techniques and cleaning solutions. Identify the stain and use the right products for the job, while being gentle enough not to damage the quartz. With some elbow grease and persistence, you can restore stained quartz counters to a like-new condition again. Implementing preventative measures can also minimize staining issues. Keep this guide handy so you can safely and effectively clean stain off quartz countertop.