White quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, even quartz can get stained over time from spills, grease, food, chemicals, and more. Knowing how to properly clean and care for white quartz countertops is essential to keeping them looking like new.
This comprehensive guide will provide tips and step-by-step instructions for removing all types of stains from white quartz countertops. We’ll cover recommended products, techniques, and best practices to clean quartz safely and effectively. With the right approach, you can erase stains and restore the pristine beauty of your white quartz.
How Quartz Countertops Get Stained
Before jumping into stain removal, it’s helpful to understand what causes stains on quartz surfaces in the first place. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Oils and Grease
Food prep involving oil, butter, or grease can leave behind sticky residues that attract dirt and grime over time. Oil-based stains tend to penetrate deeper into the pores of natural stone countertops like marble or granite. However, quartz is non-porous, so oil-based stains remain on the surface and are easier to remove.
Spilled juices, wine, coffee, vinegars, and other liquids can soak into quartz and leave discoloration if not wiped up promptly. Acidic drinks like lemon juice are especially prone to etching if left to sit. Dried-on liquid stains tend to be more stubborn to remove.
Foods and Condiments
Foods that stain like tomatoes, mustard, and spices can leave faint stains on quartz countertops after sitting for awhile. Certain vibrant foods like beets or berries may temporarily stain if not cleaned soon after spilling.
Hard Water Stains
Mineral deposits from hard water can leave white marks on quartz, especially around wet areas like sinks. These water spots are largely surface stains that can be removed with the right cleaning approach.
Exposing quartz counters to excessive direct heat can damage the solid surface resin and cause yellowing or white marks. Always use trivets and hot pads to protect quartz.
Harsh cleaners, paint removers, oven cleaners, and strong alkaline or acidic products can etch, discolor, and degrade quartz surfaces if used improperly. Know which chemicals to avoid.
How to Remove Stains from White Quartz Countertops
Cleaning stains from white quartz requires using the appropriate techniques and products for the type of stain. Here are step-by-step guides for removing common quartz countertop stains:
Removing Dried Food and Grease Stains
Food and greasy buildup can become stuck on and dried onto your white quartz over time. Here is a simple cleaning method to remove these stubborn stains:
Step 1: Apply a degreasing cleaner like Formula 409 or Greased Lightning to the stained area. Spray or wipe on directly.
Step 2: Let the degreaser sit for 5-10 minutes to penetrate the stain.
Step 3: Scrub the area in circular motions using a soft cloth, sponge, or non-abrasive scrub pad. Apply extra pressure to work the degreaser into stuck-on stains.
Step 4: Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water to remove all degreaser residue.
Step 5: Dry the area completely with a soft, absorbent cloth. Check that the stain is gone. Repeat as needed for stubborn stains.
Eliminating Dried Liquid Stains
For dried-on stains from juices, wine, soda, vinegar, and other liquids:
Step 1: Mix a solution of 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup warm water. Stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Apply the baking soda solution to the stain using a soft sponge or cloth.
Step 3: Let it sit for 5 minutes to lift the stain. Gently scrub if needed.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a soft towel. Check that the stain is removed.
Step 5: For stubborn stains, try repeating with undiluted white vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing.
Removing Food Stains
For stains from foods like mustard, berries, tomato sauce, spices, etc:
Step 1: Scrape or wipe away any excess food from the countertop.
Step 2: Apply a few drops of dish soap directly onto the stain.
Step 3: Using a damp sponge, gently scrub the dish soap into the stain in small circular motions. Avoid aggressive scrubbing.
Step 4: Once the food stain appears lifted, rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
Step 5: For stubborn food stains, try letting the dish soap sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. Repeat as needed.
Eliminating Hard Water Stains
To remove those white water spots and mineral deposits:
Step 1: Make a paste with 2 parts baking soda and 1 part water.
Step 2: Using a soft cloth or sponge, apply the paste to the hard water stained areas of the quartz.
Step 3: Let the paste sit for 5-10 minutes to penetrate the stain.
Step 4: Scrub gently in a circular motion to lift the hard water stain.
Step 5: Rinse thoroughly with clean water and wipe dry. Check that the stain is gone.
Step 6: For really stubborn hard water marks, use undiluted white vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse.
Cleaning Heat Stains
If you notice yellowing or white marks from excessive heat exposure:
Step 1: Make a paste from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mix to form a spreadable consistency.
Step 2: Using a soft cloth, gently spread the paste onto the heat-damaged areas of the quartz.
Step 3: Allow the paste to sit for 20-30 minutes. Reapply if it dries out.
Step 4: After time is up, scrub the paste using circular motions. Rinse clean with water.
Step 5: Dry thoroughly with a soft towel. Repeat as needed for difficult heat stains.
Removing Chemical Stains and Etching
For damage from harsh cleaners, acids, alkaline substances, etc:
Step 1: Mix baking soda and water to make a thick paste.
Step 2: Spread the paste gently over any etched or damaged areas. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Scrub in a circular motion with a soft cloth or sponge.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Check for stain removal.
Step 5: For deeper etching, try an etching repair kit made for quartz or Solid Surface countertops. Follow kit instructions carefully.
Tips for Preventing Stains on Quartz
The easiest way to keep white quartz counters stain-free is by preventing stains in the first place through proper care and maintenance:
- Wipe up spills immediately as they occur, don’t let them dry on.
- Avoid exposing quartz to excess heat by using trivets and boards.
- Clean quartz regularly with a mild soap and water.
- Use a sponge or soft cloth only, never abrasive pads.
- Rinse cleaning solutions thoroughly to prevent residue buildup.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like oven cleaner, paint remover, etc.
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years with a specialty impregnating sealer.
- Don’t use quartz as a cutting board to avoid deep scratches and cuts.
Best Products for Cleaning White Quartz Countertops
Having the right quartz-safe cleaning products on hand helps ensure you can pre-treat stains for faster removal. Here are some recommended cleaners:
- Dish soap – For cleaning food stains and countertop grime. Choose gentle, environmentally-friendly formulas.
- Baking soda – Acts as a non-abrasive scrub and stain-lifter for quartz. Mix with water to make a paste.
- White vinegar – Helps dissolve stains, remove residue, and disinfect quartz. Avoid frequent use.
- Hydrogen peroxide – Mixed with baking soda, it helps lift stubborn stains from quartz.
- Baby wipes – Helpful for quick cleanup of crumbs, dust, and fingerprints. Choose unscented wipes.
- Degreasing cleaner – Spray-on products like Formula 409 work well on oil, grease, and grimy buildup.
- Etching repair kit – Contains compounds engineered to remove acid damage and resurface quartz.
- Impregnating sealer – Seals pores to prevent stains on quartz. Reapply every 1-2 years.
Answering Common Questions About Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Many homeowners have additional questions about the proper care and cleaning of quartz countertops. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Can I use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean white quartz?
No, avoid using bleach, oven cleaner, paint remover, drain cleaner, and other harsh chemicals on quartz surfaces. They can damage and discolor the finish. Stick to gentle, pH-neutral cleaners.
How often should white quartz counters be cleaned?
Clean quartz at least once a week with mild soap and water. Wipe up spills ASAP. For heavy use areas, do a deeper cleaning monthly. Avoid excessive cleaning which can damage the finish.
What is the best way to clean tough dried-on stains from quartz?
Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the stain for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing gently. You can also try diluted hydrogen peroxide. Avoid abrasive pads which can scratch.
My quartz has cloudy spots and residue. How do I remove it?
Hard water mineral deposits and cleaning product residue can leave cloudy marks on quartz. Remove them with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Rinse well after cleaning.
Can you use vinegar and bleach to clean quartz counters?
Never mix vinegar and bleach – it creates toxic chlorine gas! Vinegar is safe for occasional use on quartz. However, avoid bleach entirely as it can discolor and damage the surface.
How can I get rid of hard water stains on my white quartz?
Baking soda or vinegar pastes work well on hard water spots. Apply and let sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean. You can also use a hard water stain remover made for quartz.
What is the best quartz countertop cleaning product I can buy?
Look for pH-neutral quartz cleaners like Granite Gold Daily Cleaner or Method Daily Granite Cleaner. Stay away from harsh chemicals and abrasive scrubbers. Dish soap and baking soda work great in a pinch.
Regular cleaning and prompt stain removal are key to maintaining the pristine look of white quartz countertops. With the right techniques and quartz-safe products, you can effectively erase stains caused by food, grease, liquids, hard water, heat damage, and chemicals.
Be sure to properly prep and seal your quartz counters when they are installed. Taking preventative steps will also help avoid stains and etching from occurring in the first place. With this comprehensive cleaning guide, you can keep your white quartz counters looking like new for years to come.