Quartz countertops are popular in many modern homes due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can get stained over time with spills and daily use. The good news is that quartz is non-porous, making it resistant to stains. With the proper cleaning methods, you can often remove stains from quartz and restore its original beauty. This comprehensive guide will provide tips on how to clean even stubborn stains on quartz countertops.
What Causes Stains on Quartz Countertops?
Quartz is impressively stain-resistant, but not completely stain-proof. Certain materials can leave behind stubborn marks if left on the surface. Here are some common causes of stains on quartz:
Food and Beverages
Foods and drinks that are strongly pigmented or acidic can seep into microscopic pits and pores in the surface. Examples include:
- Wine, coffee, tea, juice – These can leave behind colored stains.
- Tomato sauce, mustard, curry – Contain staining pigments.
- Citrus fruits – The acidity can etch the surface.
- Oil and grease – Can leave oily residue and buildup.
Cleaning agents, chemicals, and cosmetics can react with the quartz and alter its appearance:
- Bleach, oven cleaners, drain cleaners.
- Nail polish remover, perfume, makeup.
- Metal polish or jewelry cleaner.
- Dyes or pigments from potting soil, arts and crafts.
Hard Water Buildup
Mineral deposits from tap water can leave cloudy streaks and spots on quartz when left to accumulate.
- Melted plastic or rubber.
- Heat damage from hot pans or objects.
- Scrapes and scratches from rough handling.
- Discoloration from UV exposure.
How to Remove Common Stains from Quartz
The secret to cleaning quartz lies in using the gentlest method that effectively lifts the stain. Start with milder techniques and gradually work up to stronger methods for stubborn marks.
Step 1: Soft Cloth and Water
For light stains that have not set in, simply use a soft damp cloth or paper towel to wipe the area gently. The moisture can lift many fresh spills before they have a chance to soak in.
Avoid abrasive scrubbing, which may spread the stain further. Wipe in a circular motion and rinse the cloth as needed.
Step 2: Mild Soap and Water
If water alone does not do the trick, add a couple drops of mild dish soap. Use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the stain gently with the soapy water.
Rinse thoroughly afterwards, then dry with a soft towel. The soap helps lift oil-based spills. Take care not to use harsh detergents.
Step 3: Baking Soda Paste
For more stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste directly on the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help lift surface discoloration without damaging the quartz.
Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the paste. Rinse and dry the area thoroughly afterwards. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously.
Step 4: Hydrogen Peroxide
As a bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can help remove some stubborn food and beverage stains, like coffee and tea. Use a 3% solution. Apply a small amount directly on the stain and let sit for 10 minutes.
Use a soft cloth to blot the hydrogen peroxide and lift the stain. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if needed for tough stains. This generally lightens stains without damaging the surface.
Step 5: Acetone
For dried on oil stains or residues, try using a small amount of acetone on a soft cloth. Wipe the stain gently. Take care not to spread the spill.
Acetone can remove stubborn grease but can also damage quartz if used harshly. Use sparingly and rinse thoroughly afterwards. Wear gloves when handling. Work in a well-ventilated area.
Step 6: Quartz Cleaner
Specialized quartz cleaning solutions are formulated to remove all kinds of stains without harming quartz surfaces. Look for non-acidic cleaners made specifically for stone and quartz.
Apply a small amount directly on the stain as directed. Gently scrub with a soft brush or sponge. Avoid abrasive pads. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
Step 7: Magic Eraser
Magic erasers work well for surface stains on quartz. Their melamine foam lifts pigments and residues without scratching. Dampen the eraser and rub gently over the stain. Apply light pressure and avoid excessive scrubbing.
This works well for stains from food, drinks, and dyes that are not etched into the surface. Rinse and dry thoroughly afterwards.
Tips for Preventing Stains on Quartz
Prevention is key for keeping quartz counters in pristine condition. Follow these tips to minimize stains:
- Wipe up spills immediately before they have a chance to set in. A quick wipe makes cleaning much easier.
- Always use cutting boards, trivets and mats when prepping food or placing hot items on quartz. This prevents direct contact that can stain or damage the surface.
- Clean counters frequently with a mild soap and water to prevent buildup of grime.
- Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc. Always keep such products away from the counters.
- Rinse quartz surfaces thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residue.
- Reseal quartz annually with a penetrating sealer to reinforce stain protection.
- Check manufacturer care instructions and follow any specific maintenance guidelines.
Homemade Quartz Cleaning Recipes
Eco-friendly cleaning solutions can also effectively remove stains from quartz. Here are some easy homemade cleaner recipes:
All-Purpose Quartz Cleaner
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup mild dish soap
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3-4 drops essential oil (optional for scent)
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before use. Spray on quartz and wipe clean with a soft cloth or sponge.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup ammonia
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons liquid castile soap
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray directly on oily stains. Let sit 5 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
- 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol or vodka
- 1 cup water
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Combine in a spray bottle. Shake before spraying on quartz. Wipe clean with a soft cloth. Rinse afterwards.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Removing Specific Stains
Follow these targeted steps to remove some of the most common quartz stains:
Wine Stain Removal
- Blot away any excess wine immediately after spill. Avoid aggressive scrubbing.
- Mix a paste of baking soda and water. Apply on the stain and let sit 10 minutes.
- Use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub the paste over the stain.
- Rinse thoroughly and dry the area. Repeat if needed.
- As a last resort, apply hydrogen peroxide if stain persists. Blot gently and rinse.
Coffee Stain Removal
- Wipe away any excess coffee right away.
- Apply a few drops of dish soap directly on the stain. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Use a damp soft cloth to gently scrub the soapy stain.
- Rinse thoroughly and dry the area completely.
- If needed, spray diluted hydrogen peroxide. Let sit 10 minutes before rinsing.
Grease Stain Removal
- Carefully blot away any excess grease from the spill. Avoid spreading the stain.
- Apply some ammonia to a soft cloth. Gently rub the stain.
- Scrub using baking soda paste. Let sit briefly before rinsing.
- If grease persists, use a small amount of acetone on a cloth to lift any residue.
- Rinse thoroughly afterwards. Dry completely.
Berry Stain Removal
- Grab a paper towel and blot stain immediately. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
- Sprinkle baking soda directly on the stain. Add a little water to make a spreadable paste.
- Let paste sit on stain 5-10 minutes before scrubbing gently.
- Rinse paste residue thoroughly and dry the area.
- If needed, apply hydrogen peroxide and rinse after 5-10 minutes.
Hard Water Stain Removal
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and water.
- Apply the vinegar solution directly on the hard water stains.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the vinegar to dissolve the mineral deposits.
- Scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth.
- Rinse thoroughly afterwards and dry the area completely.
- Repeat process if needed for stubborn buildup.
How to Remove Challenging Stains from Quartz
Some stains can be especially tricky to remove from quartz surfaces. Try these techniques for stubborn marks:
- Dab vegetable oil on the stain and let sit 5-10 minutes. The oil helps lift oil-based stains before cleaning.
- Make a poultice by mixing flour and hydrogen peroxide into a thick paste. Apply on the stain for 30 minutes, then scrape off the dried paste.
- Use an acetone-dampened cloth to gently blot lifted oil residue. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
Etched Acidic Stains
- Rub lemon juice on the stain and let sit 5-10 minutes. The acid helps lift the etched stain.
- Make a baking soda paste. Apply on the stain for 15-20 minutes before scrubbing gently.
- Rinse well and dry. Repeat if needed. Avoid abrasive scrubbing which can worsen etching.
- Make a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Apply on stain and let sit 20-30 minutes.
- Use a plastic putty knife to carefully scrape the paste off once dry.
- Repeat process if needed until staining is removed.
- Avoid excessive force while scraping to prevent scratching quartz.
- Wet the stained area and apply some gel toothpaste.
- Let the toothpaste sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush.
- Rinse thoroughly afterwards. The abrasives in toothpaste help lift melamine stains.
- Repeat if needed, but avoid excessive force which can scratch quartz.
How to Treat Other Quartz Countertop Damage
Stains are not the only form of damage quartz can incur. Here are some solutions for other issues:
Acidic substances like citrus can leave faint frosted marks on quartz. Try gently rubbing the area with a baking soda paste using a soft cloth. Avoid abrasive pads. Consider resealing the surface afterwards to reinforce protection.
Cuts and Scratches
Gently sand very fine grit sandpaper (2000+ grit) over superficial scratches to buff them out. Use a sanding sponge for wider scratches. Take care not to polish through the quartz coating. Deeper chips may need professional repair.
Heat can discolor quartz and damage the coating. Unfortunately, this type of damage cannot be repaired. Try to prevent it by using trivets and hot pads. Replacement of damaged areas may be needed in severe cases.
Prolonged sun exposure can cause faint yellowish discoloration. Try applying hydrogen peroxide and gently scrubbing with baking soda paste. Avoid bleaching products which can worsen discoloration. Keeping curtains drawn when not in use can help prevent damage.
When to Call a Professional
While DIY methods can remedy many stains, some situations do require professional help:
- If stains cover a very large area, like an expansive spill.
- For stains that have set into the stone and significantly altered the appearance or texture.
- If you accidental damage the surface while attempting to remove a stain.
- If stains reappear shortly after removing them. This indicates a deeper issue.
- For stains from chronic issues like hard water that require whole-surface restoration.
Consult reputable stone restoration and quartz countertop specialists. They have industrial cleaning solutions and polishers that can erase difficult stains without damaging the surface.
Maintaining Quartz Counters Between Cleanings
Regular maintenance is key to preventing a buildup of stains on quartz:
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent soaking in.
- Rinse quartz with water daily to remove surface debris.
- Use a microfiber cloth to dry quartz after cleaning to avoid water spots.
- Clean quartz 1-2 times weekly with a mild soap and water.
- Avoid placing hot items directly on the surface. Always use trivets.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer.
- Avoid harsh cleaners and abrasive pads which can damage the surface over time.
FAQs About Cleaning Stains on Quartz Countertops
What is the best homemade quartz cleaner?
Mix together baking soda, dish soap, and water into a spreadable paste. Apply to stains, let sit briefly, then scrub gently before rinsing. The baking soda lift stains while the soap cuts through grease.
What is the best commercial quartz cleaner?
Look for non-acidic cleaners specifically formulated for quartz and stone. Popular options are Method Daily Granite & Stone Cleaner, Chi Quartz Cleaner, or StoneTech Revitalizer Cleaner. Always follow label instructions.
How do you clean set in stains on quartz?
For stubborn stains, use a baking soda paste and let sit longer, 15-30 minutes. If needed, follow up by applying diluted hydrogen peroxide and rinsing after 5-10 minutes. Avoid aggressive scrubbing which can damage the surface.
How do you polish out scratches on quartz?
Use very fine grit (2000+) sandpaper and gently buff in a circular motion to remove minor scratches and scuffs. Deeper scratches may require a professional resin treatment for an invisible repair.
Can you use Magic Erasers on quartz?
Yes, Magic Erasers effectively clean quartz surfaces without scratching, making them ideal for lifting surface stains. Just be sure to wring them out well so they are only slightly damp. Avoid excessive scrubbing pressure.
How do you seal and protect quartz counters?
Reseal quartz about once a year using a penetrating sealer made for natural stone. This waterproofs the surface to prevent stains from setting in. Granite Gold Sealer or Miracle Sealants 511 Porous Plus are great options.
Quartz is prone to staining from spills, grease, chemicals, and more. Thankfully, most stains can be removed with gentle yet effective cleaning techniques:
- Try mild solutions first like soap and water, then work up to more aggressive options if needed.
- Look for non-acidic cleaners specifically formulated for quartz.
- Make DIY pastes using gentle abrasives like baking soda.
- Use bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide cautiously to lift stubborn organic stains.
- Take care not to damage the surface when attempting stain removal.
- Prevent stains by sealing quartz annually and wiping spills immediately.
With some persistence and the proper methods, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new. Contact a professional for difficult stains that resist DIY removal. Consistent care will help your quartz countertops stay sparkling clean long-term.