How to Clean Stains Off of Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are popular in many modern kitchens and bathrooms because of their durability, stylish appearance, and low maintenance. However, like any countertop material, quartz can still get stained over time from spills, food residue, soap scum, hard water spots, and more. The good news is that quartz is non-porous, so stains tend to stay on the surface rather than absorbing deep into the material. With the right cleaning methods and products, you can safely remove stains from your quartz and restore its original beauty.

What Causes Stains on Quartz?

Quartz is resistant to most everyday stains, but it is still possible for certain substances to leave discolorations if left on the surface. Common causes of stains on quartz countertops include:

  • Food and Beverages: Things like wine, coffee, tea, juices, soda, vinegar, and oils can stain if spilled on quartz. Foods like tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, and curry can also leave stains if not wiped up promptly.
  • Soap Scum and Hard Water: Residue from soaps, bath products, and hard water minerals can build up on quartz over time, leaving cloudy streaks and spots.
  • Hair Dyes and Cosmetics: Chemicals in hair color and makeup, like mascara, eyeliner, and foundation, can leave pigmented stains.
  • Ink and Dye Transfer: Pen ink, marker ink, newspaper print, and clothing dyes can transfer onto the surface upon contact.
  • Rust and Metal Marks: Pans, cookware, and metal objects can oxidize and leave rust stains. Jewelry and accessories may also leave metal marks.
  • Flames or Extreme Heat: Exposing quartz to direct flames or very high heat can scorch or discolor the surface.

How to Remove Common Stains from Quartz Countertops

Here are the best methods for cleaning and removing the most frequent quartz countertop stains:

Food Stains

For stains caused by foods and beverages like wine, coffee, oil, tomatoes, etc:

  • Blot up excess liquid immediately with a paper towel. Avoid abrasively scrubbing the stain at this point.
  • Mix a gentle cleaner like dish soap, laundry detergent, or ammonia-based cleaner with warm water.
  • Use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to wipe the stain with the cleaning solution. Apply light pressure and wipe in a circular motion.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • For stubborn stains, let a damp cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide or baking soda paste sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Soap Scum and Hard Water Stains

To remove cloudy soap scum and mineral deposits from hard water:

  • Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the stained area. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Scrub gently with a soft scrubbing brush or Magic Eraser sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
  • Full strength white vinegar or lemon juice can also help dissolve soap scum. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  • Prevent buildup by using a squeegee to wipe off excess water and regularly cleaning with an ammonia-based cleaner.

Hair Dye and Cosmetic Stains

For removing pigmented hair dye or makeup stains:

  • Apply an alcohol-based cleaner like rubbing alcohol or hairspray to the stain. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes.
  • Scrub with a non-scratching white nylon scrub pad.
  • Rinse and wipe dry. The alcohol will break down the pigments.
  • For tough cosmetic stains, cover with baking soda paste for 5 minutes before scrubbing. The abrasion will help lift the stain.

Ink, Dye, and Rust Stains

To eliminate pen ink, marker, newspaper print, clothing dye, or rust stains:

  • Try using an old dry erase marker to dot over the stain. The ink solvents may draw out the stain. Wipe off immediately with a dry cloth.
  • Dab hydrogen peroxide on the stain and let bubble for 2-3 minutes before wiping.
  • Make a baking soda and water paste and apply to the stain for 5 minutes before scrubbing.
  • For stubborn dye transfer, use acetone nail polish remover applied with a cotton ball to break down the pigments.
  • For rust stains, use a rust removal chemical and follow product instructions. Wipe off residue.

Heat or Flame Marks

If your quartz was damaged by direct heat or flames:

  • Unfortunately heat damage can be irreversible and may require a professional resurfacing.
  • Try gently scrubbing with baking soda and vinegar using a soft brush. This may improve appearance.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to open flames or setting hot pots directly on the surface in the future. Use trivets and hot pads.

How to Maintain and Prevent Staining on Quartz

Follow these tips to keep your quartz counters stain-free and looking like new:

  • Wipe up all spills as soon as they happen. Don’t let liquids sit.
  • Clean quartz regularly with a gentle soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleansers.
  • Use a squeegee after washing to wipe off excess water. Letting water pool can lead to buildup.
  • Reseal quartz once a year with a stone sealer to enhance water repellency and stain resistance.
  • Don’t cut directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board. Scratches can make it more stain prone.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to very high temperatures from cooking. Use trivets and hot pads.
  • Clean up food messes from children or pets promptly. Don’t allow food or drinks to sit on the surface for prolonged periods.
  • Rinse fruits, vegetables, meats thoroughly before setting on quartz to avoid juice runoff stains.
  • Don’t place wet sponges, clothes, or cleaning supplies directly on quartz. The moisture can discolor.

With proper daily and routine cleaning habits, you can keep quartz countertops looking like new for many years. Be sure to address any stains immediately using the techniques above to remove them fully. With quartz’s durable stain resistance, your counters will stay pristine with regular care and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Stains from Quartz Countertops

Can you use bleach to clean quartz countertops?

No, avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals like oven cleaners on quartz countertops. They can damage or discolor the surface. For deep cleaning, use a gentle cleaner like dish soap with warm water and scrub gently with a soft cloth or sponge.

What is the best homemade cleaner for quartz stains?

A baking soda paste made with water or a mix of diluted hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can work well for cleaning many stains from quartz. For soap scum, white vinegar or lemon juice helps dissolve buildup. Always test homemade cleaners on a small patch first and scrub gently.

What should you not use to clean quartz?

Avoid abrasive cleaners, alkaline chemicals, acids, wax, polish, bleach, SOS pads, and scrubbing pads containing abrasives. These can scratch and dull quartz’s shine. Also avoid harsh solvents like paint removers, nail polish remover or mineral spirits that could damage the resin binders.

Can you use Magic Erasers on quartz?

Yes, Magic Erasers are very effective for cleaning quartz countertops. The melamine foam is a mildly abrasive that can lift many stains without scratching. Be sure to wet the eraser first and test scrub gently on an inconspicuous spot before tackling stains.

How do you deep clean quartz?

For a deep clean of quartz, first remove surface clutter. Mix a few squirts of dish soap with warm water in a bucket. Dip a soft microfiber cloth in the solution and wring out well. Wipe down the entire surface using circular, overlapping motions. Pay extra attention to stained or high traffic areas. Rinse and wipe completely dry.

Does quartz need to be sealed?

Quartz does not require sealing in the way natural stone does. However, sealing 1-2 times per year with a stone sealer can help add an extra layer of protection by increasing water repellency. This prevents stains from setting in. Look for sealers specifically made for quartz.

How do you polish dull quartz?

If your quartz has dulled or etched over time, you can restore its shine and polish using a quartz polishing compound or automotive buffing compound. Rub a dime sized amount over the affected area using a soft cloth and buff in circular motions. Rinse clean and dry well. Avoid wax or polish, which will create a film.


Quartz countertops are prone to staining from time to time, but with the proper cleaning techniques, you can safely remove spots and discoloration. Address stains immediately by blotting up spills, using mild soapy water or baking soda paste, and scrubbing gently with soft cloths or sponges. For prevention, reseal yearly, use trivets for hot items, thoroughly rinse produce, and immediately wipe any spills. With regular light cleaning and observation of care guidelines, you can keep quartz counters spotless for their lifetime.