How to Get Hard Water Stains Off Countertop Quartz

Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, hard water can leave unsightly stains and mineral buildup on quartz that can be difficult to remove. With the right techniques and products, you can get your quartz counters looking like new again.

Why Quartz Countertops Stain

Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This makes them non-porous and resistant to scratches, heat, and stains. However, they are not completely stain-proof.

Hard water contains a high amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium. When hard water evaporates, it leaves behind mineral deposits on surfaces. On a quartz countertop, those deposits appear as spots, streaks, and stains.

Other common causes of stains on quartz counters include:

  • Spills from foods and beverages like coffee, tea, juice, wine, oil, etc. The pigments can seep into microscopic pits and pores in the surface.
  • Soap scum and hard water marks from cleaning products and tap water.
  • Mold and mildew growth in damp areas around a sink.
  • Dirt, grime, and grease buildup over time.
  • Metal marks from pots, pans, and utensils.

Regular cleaning can prevent some stains by removing buildup before it bonds tightly to the surface. But once stains set in, a bit of elbow grease is needed to remove them.

Cleaning vs. Deep Cleaning for Quartz Counters

Regular maintenance cleaning involves quick wipe downs with a soft cloth and mild soap and water to remove light dirt and spills as they occur. This prevents the buildup of grime that can lead to stains over time.

Deep cleaning is required periodically to tackle stains that regular cleaning cannot remove. It involves using more aggressive cleaning solutions and tools to scrub, degrease, disinfect, and polish the countertop back to its original condition.

Deep cleaning is recommended for quartz countertops every 6-12 months to keep them looking their best. More frequent deep cleaning may be needed for counters in high-traffic kitchens or bathrooms, or if hard water is an ongoing issue.

How to Remove Existing Hard Water Stains from Quartz

Removing existing hard water stains from quartz requires breaking down the mineral deposits. This can be accomplished with specialty cleaning products and some old-fashioned elbow grease.

Step 1: Clear the Counters

Start by clearing everything off the counters so you can access the entire surface area. Remove any stuck-on crumbs or debris with a soft cloth.

Step 2: Mix a Stain Removal Solution

Make a cleaning solution specifically formulated to remove stains and minerals. Good options include:

  • Vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water (for mild stains)
  • Liquid barkeepers friend or Cerama Bryte (oxalic acid-based cleaners)
  • Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into a paste

Avoid harsh alkaline cleaners like bleach, ammonia, and alkaline lime scale removers, as these can damage and etch quartz surfaces.

Step 3: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Apply the cleaning solution directly onto the stained areas of the countertop. For larger areas, pour some of the solution onto a soft cloth and wipe over the stains.

Let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes so it has time to break down the mineral deposits. Reapply more solution as needed to keep the area wet.

Step 4: Scrub the Stains

Use a soft cloth, sponge, or non-abrasive scrub pad designed for quartz to gently scrub the wet stains. Apply light pressure and work in circular motions. Avoid scrubbing too aggressively, as this can damage the quartz.

For stubborn spots, let the solution sit for longer before scrubbing. You can also try using a plastic scraper or the rough side of a sponge for extra scrubbing power.

Step 5: Rinse Clean

Once the stains have lifted, rinse the countertop thoroughly with clean water to remove all residue. Wipe the surface completely dry with a soft cloth.

Inspect closely and repeat the process on any remaining stained areas until the quartz is stain-free.

Tips for Preventing Hard Water Stains on Quartz

Once you’ve succeeded in removing hard water stains from your quartz countertops, here are some tips to help prevent future stains:

  • Wipe spills quickly – Don’t let liquids sit on quartz. Dry with a paper towel or soft cloth right away so minerals can’t bond.
  • Blot wet surfaces – After cleaning, go back over the surface with a dry cloth to soak up excess water. This prevents water spots as it dries.
  • Use coasters – Place coasters under glasses, vases, bottles, etc. to block moisture transfer that can lead to marks.
  • Rinse thoroughly – When cleaning quartz, rinse all soap residue thoroughly to prevent cloudy film buildup. Dry completely.
  • Clean frequently – Regular maintenance cleaning prevents grimy buildup that’s harder to remove. Quartz can be cleaned daily if needed.
  • Control humidity – Prevent mold and mildew growth by controlling moisture levels in the room, especially around sinks.
  • Consider a water softener – In hard water areas, a whole-house or sink-mounted water softener can greatly reduce mineral deposits.
  • Seal annually – Re-application of quartz sealants every 6-12 months prevents stains from setting in.

With diligent daily care and deep cleanings as needed, you can keep quartz looking like new for years before stains ever set in. But even if hard water takes its toll, these removal techniques can restore their original beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Hard Water Stains from Quartz Countertops

Can I use vinegar to remove hard water stains from quartz?

Yes, you can use vinegar to safely remove mild hard water staining from quartz. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water and wipe onto stains. Let sit briefly before scrubbing and rinsing. The acidic vinegar helps dissolve mineral deposits. Avoid bleach or alkaline cleaners.

What is the best homemade solution for removing hard water stains from quartz?

An effective DIY hard water stain remover is mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a spreadable paste. Apply the paste to stained areas, wait 5 minutes, then scrub gently before rinsing. The combination of the two ingredients breaks down minerals without damaging quartz.

Should I use a plastic scraper to remove hard water stains from quartz?

Yes, you can safely use a plastic scraper to help remove stubborn hard water stains from quartz countertops. Apply pressure gently in small circular motions. Avoid metal scrapers or abrasive pads as these can scratch quartz. The plastic scraper allows you to target stuck-on deposits.

What store-bought cleaners work best for removing hard water stains from quartz?

Popular commercial cleaners that work well for removing hard water stains from quartz countertops include Bar Keeper’s Friend, Cerama Bryte, CLR, Zud, or other cleaners containing oxalic or other acids formulated to dissolve minerals. Avoid alkaline cleaners. Always check the label to verify safe use on quartz before applying.

Can I use Windex or glass cleaner to remove marks from quartz?

No, you should avoid using Windex, glass cleaner, or other ammonia-based cleaners on quartz countertops. The ammonia can damage and pit the quartz surface over time. For routine cleaning, use a mild soap and water solution instead. Use specialized stain removers for hard water deposits.

How can I prevent hard water stains from returning to my quartz countertop?

To prevent future hard water stains on quartz, wipe up spills quickly, rinse surfaces thoroughly after cleaning, use coasters, control humidity, consider installing a water softener, seal quartz annually, and perform routine maintenance cleaning. Fast action and frequent cleaning prevents stains from setting in.

How often should I deep clean quartz counters to prevent stains?

For optimal results, you should deep clean quartz countertops every 6-12 months using a dedicated quartz cleaner. This periodic heavy-duty cleaning removes grime buildup before permanent stains can form. Clean more frequently in high-use kitchens. Annual resealing also helps prevent stain absorption.

Can neglected hard water stains permanently damage quartz?

No, even deeply set hard water stains should not permanently damage a quartz countertop surface. With the proper cleaning techniques and products, even stubborn stains that have built up over time can be removed. The minerals only leave surface deposits that you can fully restore the quartz from.


Hard water stains can be frustrating, but they don’t have to be permanent eyesores on your beautiful quartz countertops. With a little bit of scrubbing using the right products, even heavy built-up stains can be removed to restore the counters to a like-new condition.

Be diligent about quick cleanup of spills, routine maintenance cleaning, and periodic deep cleaning and resealing to help prevent stains in the first place. But if stains do occur, arm yourself with the most effective DIY cleaner or commercial stain remover for quartz counters to get them looking flawless again.