Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces known for their durability, easy maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, like any other countertop material, quartz can get stained by spilled liquids, particularly those that are greasy, acidic or contain pigments that can permeate the non-porous surface. The good news is that most stains on quartz can be removed with the right cleaning methods and products. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to fix quartz countertop stains.
Assessing the Stain
Before trying to remove a stain from your quartz countertop, it’s important to assess what kind of stain it is and how long it has set. This will determine the best way to tackle removing it.
- Identify what caused the stain – Was it an oil-based substance like cooking oil? Acidic liquids like wine, coffee or tomato sauce? Or darker stains from spices, makeup or ink? Knowing the source will help pick the right removal method.
- Determine how long the stain has set – A fresh stain will be easier to remove than one that has dried and set into the stone for a longer time. Long-standing stains may require more cleaning steps.
- Look at the size of the stained area – Small localized stains will need less intensive cleaning than large or widespread stains.
Cleaning Products and Tools for Stain Removal
Having the right supplies will make stain removal much easier. Here are some recommended products and tools to have on hand:
- pH-neutral stone cleaner – Look for one specifically formulated for engineered stone. This is a mild cleaner safe for regular use.
- Dish soap – For greasy stains, a small amount of dish soap in warm water can help cut through the oil.
- Baking soda – Works as a gentle abrasive to lift some stains. Make a paste with water to scrub stains.
- Hydrogen peroxide – Helps whiten and brighten quartz. Use a 3% solution.
- Bar keeper’s friend – Contains oxalic acid to help remove rust, coffee, tea stains.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – The melamine foam helps lift pigmented stains.
- Baby oil – Penetrates and loosens oil-based stains.
- Scotch-Brite scrub pad – For gently scrubbing tougher stains.
- Old toothbrush – For scrubbing stains in crevices or textured areas.
- Microfiber cloths – For wiping and buffing the countertop.
Stain Removal Techniques and Methods
With the right supplies and knowing what kind of stain needs to be tackled, you can move on to trying these effective techniques for removing quartz countertop stains:
For Food and Grease Stains
- Mix a few drops of dish soap into warm water and use a microfiber cloth to wipe the stain gently. Rinse with clean water and dry.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it to the stain and let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a Scotch-Brite pad and rinse.
- Use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on a microfiber cloth to wipe the stained area. Let it fizz for a minute, then rinse.
For Dried/Set-In Oil Stains
- Apply some baby oil onto the stain and let sit for 10-15 minutes to penetrate and loosen the oil residue. Wipe away withdish soap and water.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water. Spread on the stain and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight, then scrub off in the morning.
For Coffee, Tea and Wine Stains
- Use Bar Keeper’s Friend and a damp microfiber cloth to gently scrub the stain in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
- Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into a spreadable paste. Apply to the stain for 20-30 minutes then scrub and rinse away.
- For lighter stains, dab hydrogen peroxide on the stain, let fizz for a minute, wipe and rinse.
For Dried Candle Wax
- Place a paper towel over the dried wax and use a warm iron to melt the wax into the towel. Replace towels until all wax is absorbed.
- Hold an ice cube on the wax to harden it, then gently scrape away with a plastic scraper. Clean any residue with dish soap.
For Ink, Makeup, Dye and Rust Stains
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the stain and let sit for 15 minutes. Wipe away then scrub with baking soda paste if needed. Rinse.
- Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to gently scrub and lift the pigment away. Dampen the eraser and wring out excess water first.
- Make a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. Rub it into the stain for 1-2 minutes using a soft toothbrush, then rinse.
For Hard Water Stains
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Soak a microfiber cloth and place over the stains for 1 hour. Re-soak and scrub if needed.
- Use a calcium, lime and rust remover spray. Mist generously over stains, let sit 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Preventing Future Stains
While quartz countertops are pretty stain resistant, you can take some preventative steps to avoid stains happening in the first place:
- Use trivets, mats and coasters under hot pots/pans, drinkware and oils to avoid direct contact with the quartz.
- Clean up spills immediately before they have a chance to set and stain.
- Seal quartz annually with a stone sealer for added stain protection.
- Avoid using materials like nail polish remover, paint remover, etc. directly on the countertop.
- Cut foods like lemons, limes, tomatoes on a cutting board instead of directly on the quartz.
With the right cleaning methods and preventative care, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new and free of stains. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific quartz as well. Consistent cleaning and caution around potential staining agents will help your quartz countertops stay pristine and stylish for many years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fixing Quartz Countertop Stains
Can all stains be removed from quartz counters?
Most stains can be removed from quartz with the right cleaning methods. However, deep-set stains that have permeated the material for a very long time may cause permanent discoloration that can’t be undone.
What household items can I use to remove stains?
You likely already have effective stain cleaners like dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and vinegar at home. Bar Keeper’s Friend and Magic Erasers also work very well. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
How can I get rid of dried food and grease stains?
For stuck-on food and oily stains, let baby oil or baking soda paste sit on the spot for 10-15 minutes to penetrate and lift the residue before scrubbing and rinsing. Repeat if needed.
Why do some stains reappear after I clean them?
This can happen if the stain permeated deep into the porous areas of the quartz. Reapply cleaners, let sit longer and scrub thoroughly. On severe stains, professional help may be needed.
What is the best way to prevent quartz countertop stains?
Using trivets, coasters and immediate clean-up of spills can prevent many stains. Annual sealing and avoiding direct contact with staining agents like oils, dyes and acids also helps.
Quartz counters are prone to stains, but nearly all of them can be removed with the proper cleaning techniques. Knowing what caused the stain and having the right tools and cleaners on hand makes a big difference in stain removal. Gentle abrasives like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, Bar Keeper’s Friend and melamine foam are very effective at lifting stains without harming the integrity of the quartz. With some elbow grease and the methods outlined above, you can successfully erase stains from your quartz and keep them looking like new. Be sure to take steps to prevent future stains as well. Your beautiful quartz countertops will stay pristine and stylish for years to come with proper care and cleaning.