Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, like any countertop material, quartz can still get stained from spills and daily wear and tear. The good news is that quartz is non-porous, making it resistant to stains. With the right cleaning methods, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean stains on quartz countertops.
What Causes Stains on Quartz?
Quartz is made from natural stone and polymer resins that create a hard, nonporous surface. This makes it resistant to most stains. However, some stubborn substances can still discolor quartz if left for prolonged time periods. Common staining culprits include:
- Oil, grease, and food residue
- Wine, coffee, and juice
- Dyes from colorful foods like beets or berries
- Mineral deposits from hard water
- Metal marks from pans or appliances
- Mold and mildew
Thankfully, these stains are only on the surface and can be removed with the right cleaning approach. Avoid abrasive scouring pads or powders that could scratch the quartz finish.
General Cleaning Tips for Quartz
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining
- Use a mild soap and warm water for routine cleaning
- Disinfect surface with a quartz-safe cleaner weekly
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a sealant made for engineered stone
- Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners etc.
How to Remove Common Stains from Quartz Countertops
Cleaning Oil-Based Stains
Oily residues from food prep and cooking can leave behind sticky buildup or dark stains. Here is how to tackle oil on quartz:
- Blot away any excess oil immediately after spill occurs. Avoid aggressive scrubbing as this could drive stain deeper.
- Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water and apply to the stain. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Use a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge to gently rub soapy area in circles. Rinse clean.
- For stubborn marks, make a paste with baking soda and water. Lightly rub paste on stain and rinse. The baking soda will help lift grease.
- Commercial degreasers made for quartz can also help eliminate oily stains without damaging surface.
Eliminating Food and Drink Stains
Certain foods and beverages like coffee, wine, juice, berries, and tomatoes can permanently stain if not promptly removed:
- Immediately wipe up any spills with a paper towel or cloth. Avoid aggressive scrubbing.
- Mix 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle filled with warm water. Spritz over the stain and let sit for 5 minutes before wiping clean with a soft cloth. The peroxide will bubble away the stain.
- For tough stains, apply a liquid cleanser like Bar Keeper’s Friend or Soft Scrub to a damp cloth. Use gentle circular motions to clean stained area, then rinse. These contain oxalic or citric acid to help break down stains.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges can also lift away stubborn food and drink stains with minimal scrubbing. Be sure to rinse surface afterwards.
Removing Dried-On Food Messes
Caked-on food spills that have dried on the counter can be tricky to remove. Here are some tips:
- Soak a cloth or paper towel in warm water and place over hardened food debris for 5-10 minutes to soften it. The warmth and moisture will loosen the mess for easier cleaning.
- Use a plastic scraper to gently lift the softened food off the quartz. This avoids abrasions from aggressive scrubbing.
- For stuck-on gunk, apply some baking soda and water to make a spreadable paste. Apply over mess and let sit briefly before scrubbing with a soft bristled brush. Rinse cleaned area thoroughly.
- Avoid using metal scrapers or scouring pads on quartz. Always use plastic or wood scrapers.
Cleaning Up Spills from Colored Liquids
Berry juices, wine, colored sodas, and other vibrant liquids can stain quartz counters. Here is how to treat them:
- Immediately blot as much as possible after a spill occurs. Avoid aggressive wiping as this can spread the stain.
- Mix 2-3 drops of dish soap into some warm water. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and gently dab the stain to lift it.
- For stubborn stains, make a baking soda paste by mixing 2 tbsp baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste. Apply to the stain, allowing it to sit for 5 minutes before wiping clean with a damp cloth.
- Mr Clean Magic Eraser sponges can lift many colored stains with minimal scrubbing. Be sure to rinse afterwards.
- Avoid bleach or alkaline cleaners as these can react with pigments and set the stain.
Removing Water Marks and Mineral Deposits
Hard water can leave behind mineral deposits on quartz that appear as spots or faded areas. To treat them:
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Mist over the mineral deposits and wipe with a soft cloth after 5-10 minutes. The acetic acid in vinegar will dissolve the minerals.
- For stubborn deposits, use a poultice made by mixing baking soda and water into a thick paste. Apply over marks, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 24 hours before rinsing clean. This draws out deep-set minerals.
- A citric acid powder cleanser can also be effective by making minerals water soluble for easier removal. Mix with just enough water to form a paste then scrub over marks lightly.
- Avoid abrasive cleaning powders or scouring pads as these can scratch quartz.
Removing Mold and Mildew Stains
Being nonporous, quartz resists mold and mildew growth. But in damp areas, some discoloration can occur. To remove it:
- Mix 1 cup bleach into 1 gallon of warm water. Using gloves and a soft cloth, wipe the diluted bleach onto stained areas of the quartz. Allow to sit briefly before rinsing clean. Bleach will kill mold and mildew stains.
- Make a baking soda paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking soda with just enough water to form a thin paste. Spread onto stained areas, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then scrub gently before rinsing. The abrasiveness of baking soda scrubs away the stains.
- Hydrogen peroxide can also help wipe out mold stains. Spray full-strength peroxide onto the stains, allowing it to bubble for 5 minutes before wiping clean.
- Be sure to address and fix any moisture issues to prevent recurrence of mold growth. Improve ventilation and reduce humidity.
How to Prevent Stains on Quartz Countertops
By taking some simple precautions, you can avoid many stains on your quartz counters:
- Use cutting boards, trivets and pads when prepping food to avoid direct contact of oils, juices, and coloring agents with the quartz surface.
- Immediately wipe any spills with a absorbent cloth. Don’t let puddles sit.
- Clean quartz regularly with a pH-neutral stone cleaner.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with an impregnating sealer formulated for engineered stone. This creates a water and stain repellent barrier.
- Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc.
- Repair any cracks or damage to maintain the protective surface layer.
When to Call a Professional
For the most part, you can clean and remove stains from quartz counters yourself using the techniques above. But if stains are very deep-set, extensive, or unable to be removed with normal cleaning, consider calling for professional help. Companies specialize in deeper restoration and stain removal for stone surfaces.
Be sure to try gentle cleaning approaches first before resorting to more abrasive scrubbing or chemical cleaners which can damage the finish. With some persistence and the right methods, you can keep your quartz counters pristine. Proper maintenance and prompt treatment of spills can help prevent staining issues from developing in the first place.