Quartz countertops are a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, like any countertop material, quartz can become stained over time with use. The good news is that quartz is non-porous, making stains relatively easy to remove with the proper cleaning methods. Here is an in-depth guide on how to fix stains on quartz countertops.
Supplies Needed for Stain Removal
Before tackling stain removal, gather the proper supplies:
- Mild dish soap or delicate stone soap
- Soft cloths and sponges
- Clean water
- 50/50 vinegar and water solution
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Non-abrasive scrubbing pad or soft-bristle brush
- Poultice powder (pre-mixed or homemade blend)
- Painter’s tape
- Eye and skin protection
Assessing the Stain
Not all stains on quartz countertops are created equal. To properly remove them, you must first identify the type of stain.
Types of Stains on Quartz
There are five common categories of stains:
Caused by food, beverages, plant matter, mildew, mold, or bacteria. Examples are coffee, tea, wine, fruit juice, and vegetables.
Caused by vegetable oils, grease, cosmetics, lotions, butter, etc.
Caused by reactive metals like copper and iron. Prolonged contact can etch into the surface.
From markers, pens, permanent ink, etc. These can be challenging to remove entirely.
Mineral deposits and hard water stains. These appear after evaporation of standing water.
Determining Stain Age
It’s also important to consider how long the stain has set:
- New stains are within 24 hours old.
- Intermediate stains are 1-7 days old.
- Old stains exceed 1 week old.
New and intermediate stains are easier to remove than old, stubborn stains.
Performing a Spot Test
Always do a spot test of any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the quartz. This will indicate if the solution is too harsh and could potentially damage the finish.
Cleaning Solutions for Stain Removal
With the supplies gathered and stain assessed, you can choose the best cleaning solutions for removing it:
For New and Intermediate Stains
- Dish soap – dissolve in warm water and apply to stain with soft cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly.
- Baking soda paste – mix with just enough water to form spreadable paste. Apply and let sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.
- Vinegar solution – moisten stained area with 50/50 vinegar and warm water. Allow to sit briefly before wiping and rinsing.
- Hydrogen peroxide – apply small amount directly on stain and allow to bubble. Rinse thoroughly once bubbling stops.
For Old, Stubborn Stains
- Poultice – cover stain completely with poultice paste. Allow to set according to directions, then rinse. May require repeating.
- Bleach or ammonia – use as absolute last resort and carefully spot test first. Apply sparingly to stain and rinse immediately.
Step-by-Step Stain Removal Process
Follow these steps closely for best results removing stains from quartz:
1. Prepare the Countertop Surface
- Clear countertop of any dishes, appliances, food, etc.
- Tape down paper towels or plastic wrap around the stain to prevent runoff to other areas.
- Ensure you have adequate ventilation.
- Put on gloves and eye protection.
2. Try First Cleaning Attempt
- Start with the gentlest option like dish soap or DIY poultice based on stain type and age.
- Follow directions accordingly. Allow time for solution to work before rinsing.
- Scrub gently with soft cloth, sponge or non-abrasive pad. No rough scouring.
- Completely rinse area with clean water, wiping excess moisture with dry towel.
3. Check Results
- Allow countertop to fully dry.
- Inspect area under adequate lighting to determine if stain persists.
- If stain appears gone, skip to final step #5.
- If stain remains, proceed to next cleaning attempt.
4. Use Stronger Solution
- Try next strongest cleaning solution based on stain type, like baking soda paste or vinegar.
- Follow same method as first attempt, allowing longer dwell time. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Check results again under lighting. If stain reduced but still present, repeat same solution focusing directly on remaining stain.
- If no improvement from second attempt, try third strongest solution. Continue gradually trying more aggressive solutions like poultice or bleach until stain is removed.
5. Finish Treatment
- Once stain is no longer visible, remove any protective coverings and wipe area down with damp microfiber cloth.
- Thoroughly rinse countertop with clean water to remove all cleaning solution residues. Wipe completely dry with towel.
- Seal treated area with countertop-safe sealant to prevent potential recurrence of stain.
- Avoid placing any items on treated area and restrict use for 24 hours.
Tips for Preventing Future Stains
Once you’ve successfully removed difficult stains from your quartz countertop, keep them from returning with these preventive measures:
- Immediately wipe up all spills. Never let liquids idle on quartz.
- Avoid direct contact between metals and quartz. Use trivets and cutting boards.
- Clean quartz regularly with mild soap and water.
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years with an appropriate sealer.
- Don’t place hot pans directly on quartz. Always use trivets.
- Use cutting boards for food prep to prevent staining and scratching.
- Lift objects instead of sliding them across quartz.
Common Questions about Stain Removal
Still have some questions about fixing stains on quartz countertops? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions:
What are the best commercial stain removers for quartz?
Look for cleaners specifically formulated for engineered stone. Popular brands include Granite Gold and StoneTech. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or alkaline cleaners.
Will lemon or olive oil remove stains from quartz?
No, acidic products like lemon juice or oils can damage quartz over time. Stick to mild dish soap, baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide for DIY stain removal.
What should I do about a very noticeable stain on a quartz countertop?
For significant stains that don’t respond well to regular cleaning methods, consider calling in a professional stone restoration company. They have commercial-grade poultices, polishers and etch removers.
Can I use nail polish remover on quartz?
Definitely not! Nail polish remover contains acetone which can quickly damage the resin coat and etch quartz. Stick to hydrogen peroxide for stubborn ink and dye stains.
Why do some stains keep reappearing on my quartz countertop?
If stains recur in the same spots, moisture is likely getting trapped under the countertop along the edges or around cracks. Proper caulking and sealing is required to prevent this issue.
When to Call a Professional
For the most part, stains can be removed from quartz countertops with the proper supplies, methods and techniques. However, for the following scenarios, it’s best to contact a professional stone restoration company:
- Multiple aggressive cleaning attempts have been unsuccessful.
- Stain has penetrated through sealants into the stone.
- Stain removal has resulted in etching or other damage.
- Mineral deposits cover a very large area.
- You do not feel comfortable handling harsh chemicals.
Reputable companies have industrial-strength poultices, equipment and expertise to remove the most severe stains without harming your countertops. This is the safest option when DIY efforts have failed.
Quartz countertops are prone to staining over time, especially in busy kitchens. But with the right supplies and techniques, most stains can be successfully removed at home without damaging the countertop surface.
Assess the stain type and age. Start with gentler cleaning solutions first before gradually stepping up to stronger methods if needed. Always spot test, take safety precautions, rinse completely and follow with sealing.
While staining on quartz can be frustrating, it is a manageable problem. With some patience and diligence, you can get your quartz countertops looking like new again and prevent future stains.
How to Prevent Staining on Quartz Countertops
Along with knowing how to remove stains from quartz countertops, preventing them in the first place through proper care and maintenance is key. Here are top tips for keeping your quartz stain-free.
Use Cutting Boards
- Never cut directly on your quartz countertop.
- Always use a cutting board for food preparation.
- Choose boards made of wood, plastic or bamboo.
- Beware of warped boards that don’t lay flat.
- Discard boards with deep grooves or cuts.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect boards after each use.
Lift Don’t Slide
- Instead of sliding objects across the quartz, lift them.
- Sliding puts abrasive force across the surface.
- Lifting straight up avoids scratching.
- Use trivets and hot pads to move hot cookware.
Clean Up Messes ASAP
- Don’t leave spills or messes sitting on quartz.
- Immediately wipe up food, liquids, grease, etc.
- Dab gently with a soft cloth or sponge.
- Avoid aggressive scrubbing or abrasive pads.
- Thoroughly clean area with dish soap and warm water.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
- Do not use products with bleach, ammonia or acids.
- Vinegar, lemon juice, etc. can damage and etch quartz.
- Stick to mild dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda.
- Consult dealer for recommended cleaners.
- Reapply sealer every 1-2 years.
- Sealing helps protect quartz from stains.
- Use a product designed for engineered stone.
- Avoid DIY sealers like oils or waxes.
- Hire a pro if unsure about proper sealing.
Don’t Place Hot Items Directly
- Always set a trivet or hot pad before putting down hot pans, dishes, etc.
- Sudden extreme heat can potentially damage quartz.
- Let cookware cool somewhat first before setting down.
- Use trivets under appliances like crockpots and electric griddles.
Clean with Soft Materials
- Use a soft sponge, cloth or brush for cleaning.
- Avoid rough scouring pads, steel wool, or abrasive scrub brushes.
- Check bottoms of cleaning tools for grit that could scratch.
- Use gentle, circular motions when scrubbing the quartz.
Keep Quartz Dry
- Dry quartz thoroughly after cleaning, wiping up spills etc.
- Never allow excess water or moisture to sit.
- Check under edges and around seams for trapped moisture.
- Immediately dry if water splashes near seams and cracks.
Ensure Proper Caulking/Sealing
- Have quartz professionally installed and sealed properly.
- Caulking should completely seal seam between countertop & wall.
- Look for gaps, shrinking or cracks in caulk and re-seal.
- Make sure backsplash is completely sealed to quartz.
Caring properly for quartz countertops involves being proactive. Keep cutting boards handy, act quickly when spills occur, use gentle cleaning techniques, and take steps to keep quartz as dry as possible. With regular sealing and avoiding harsh chemicals, you can keep quartz in pristine condition and prevent frustrating stains.
How to Remove Different Types of Stains from Quartz
Quartz countertops are susceptible to a number of different stains depending on the substances they come in contact with. Each stain type requires a specific removal technique. Here are tips for removing common quartz stains:
Oils, grease, cosmetics and food residue often penetrate quartz leaving unsightly stains.
- Dish soap
- Baking soda paste
- Vinegar diluted with water
- Degreasing cleaner like Granite Gold Polish
Create a paste with baking soda and water and apply to the stain. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before gently scrubbing and rinsing. For stubborn oil stains, use a degreaser specifically formulated for stone.
Metals like iron, copper and bronze can oxidize and leave metallic stains on quartz. These stains may turn rusty orange, green or black over time.
- Poultice powder
- Hydrogen peroxide
Make a paste with poultice powder and water following instructions. Cover stain fully and allow to dry completely. Rinse thoroughly. For slight discoloration, dab hydrogen peroxide and scrub gently before rinsing.
Foods, beverages, leaves, sap and living organisms like mold introduce organic matter that can be challenging to remove from the porous surface of quartz.
- Chlorine bleach diluted with water
- Mineral spirits
For stubborn organic staining, carefully apply full-strength chlorine bleach sparingly to the stain for 1-2 minutes maximum. Rinse several times. Repeat if needed. Alternately, use mineral spirits followed by ammonia rinses.
Pens, markers, stamps, permanent ink and copy toner can sink into the material leaving unsightly discoloration. Avoid using ink directly on quartz.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Peroxide-based cleaner
Dab rubbing alcohol onto the stain and wipe in circular motions before rinsing. For stubborn ink, apply a small amount of acetone followed by hydrogen peroxide. Rinse immediately.
Standing water results in mineral deposits and etching on quartz. These appear as whitish marks and spots where moisture evaporated.
- Vinegar solution
- Lime remover
- Buffing powder
Create a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Apply to stain and allow to sit briefly before scrubbing and rinsing. Use a lime-removal product formulated for natural stone for heavy hard water staining.
How to Avoid Stain Recurrence
To ensure stains don’t return after removing them from quartz:
- Reseal treated areas to prevent absorption of new stains.
- Ensure quartz is completely dry after cleaning up spills.
- Always use cutting boards and trivets.
- Clean quartz regularly with mild soap and water.
- Address any moisture issues like leaks and poor caulking.
When to Call a Professional
Contact a stone restoration company if:
- Stains cover a very large area.
- Stains penetrate deep into quartz.
- Stains return despite thorough cleaning.
- Harsh chemicals are required.
Professionals have industrial-grade removal solutions, equipment and experience to remediate severe staining while protecting the integrity of your quartz.
There are many types of stains that can blemish quartz countertops. Identifying the stain and using the proper techniques and cleaning solutions is key to removal. For best results preventing stains from returning, follow up cleaning with sealing. With some persistence and care, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new.
How to Remove Common Food and Beverage Stains from Quartz
As a popular material in kitchens, quartz countertops are prone to stains from food and drinks. Certain items can leave stubborn marks if not cleaned promptly. Here are tips for removing some of the most common food and beverage stains.
Coffee and Tea Stains
Coffee and tea are absorptive stains. The longer they sit, the deeper they soak in.
- Blot up excess liquid immediately. Avoid aggressive rubbing.
- Mix dish soap and warm water. Use soft sponge to lift stain.
- For older stains, make a baking soda paste. Apply and lightly scrub.
- Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue gone.
Wine and Juice Stains
Sugary juices and alcohol readily penetrate the porous surface. Red wine is especially problematic.
- Immediately soak up excess liquid.
- Pour boiling water over stain to help lift it up.
- Sprinkle salt on stain. Scrub gently with cut lemon. Rinse.
- Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into paste. Apply to stain.
Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Stains
Vinegar etches while oils seep deep into the stone. Set-in stains require poultice.
- Blot up excess dressing right away.
- Use paper towel to dab more vinegar to lift oil. Rinse.
- Make a DIY poultice with baking soda and water. Apply to stain.
- Allow poultice to dry completely before rinsing away.
BBQ Sauce Stains
The high sugar content causes the sticky stain. Chronic stains may require professional help.