How to Get Hard Water Stains Off of Quartz Countertop

Hard water stains on quartz countertops can be frustrating, but with a little effort and the right techniques, they can be removed. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of hard water stains on quartz countertops.

What Causes Hard Water Stains on Quartz?

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 entirely stain proof.

Hard water contains a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium. When hard water evaporates, it leaves behind mineral deposits that etch into the surface of the quartz, leaving unsightly spots and stains. Other contributors to hard water stains include:

  • Water with high pH or alkaline levels
  • Soap scum and residue
  • Spills from coffee, tea, wine, and other drinks
  • Grease and oil residues

Regular cleaning can prevent buildup of hard water stains. But once etched into the quartz, specialized techniques are needed to remove the stains and restore the countertop’s original appearance.

Cleaning vs. Removing Hard Water Stains on Quartz

It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and removing hard water stains:

Cleaning involves wiping down the countertop to get rid of dirt, debris, and buildup sitting on top of the surface. This can be done with a gentle quartz-safe cleaner and microfiber cloth. Cleaning helps prevent stain buildup but does not get rid of etched-in stains.

Removing involves using more aggressive techniques to get rid of stain deposits inside the pores of the quartz. This requires specialty poultice products, polishes, or professional intervention. Removing hard water stains takes more effort than regular cleaning.

How to Remove Light Hard Water Stains from Quartz

For light surface stains that have not etched deeply into the quartz, try these simple cleaning methods first:

Clean with pH Neutral Quartz Cleaner

  • Use a high quality pH neutral cleaner made specifically for quartz. Look for Granite Gold, Hoover Stone, and Countertop Magic cleaners.
  • Spray directly onto the stain and let sit for 5 minutes. This allows the cleaner time to break down the mineral deposits.
  • Wipe down with a soft microfiber cloth using a circular motion. Apply light pressure.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry surface completely.

Baking Soda Paste

  • Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water.
  • Apply paste directly onto the stain and let sit for 10 minutes. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that will help loosen mineral deposits.
  • Scrub gently with a soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Rinse clean and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

White Vinegar

  • Undiluted white vinegar naturally breaks down mineral deposits.
  • Pour vinegar directly onto the stain. For tough stains, let vinegar sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth rinsing frequently.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry completely. Vinegar can dull quartz, so rinse thoroughly.

Repeat staining cleaning methods focusing on stubborn spots. This should help remove light hard water marks.

How to Remove Stubborn Hard Water Stains from Quartz

For deeper hard water stains that simple cleaning cannot remove, use these aggressive techniques:

Hard Water Stain Removers

Specialty stain removers are formulated to penetrate, dissolve, and draw out stubborn mineral deposits from quartz pores. Popular products include:

  • Bar Keeper’s Friend: Contains oxalic acid that breaks down rust, lime, calcium, and magnesium deposits. Make a paste, apply to stain for 5 minutes, scrub, and rinse.
  • CLR Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover: Spray onto stain, let sit 5-10 minutes, scrub with pad, and rinse. Can also soak stain overnight.
  • WD-40 Specialist Quartz & Granite Cleaner: Spray and wipe down with soft cloth using circular motions. Rinse thoroughly.

Always spot test removers on inconspicuous part of quartz first and rinse thoroughly after use.

Quarried Stone Poultice

Poultices are absorptive cleaning pads that draw out deep stains through extended contact time and abrasion:

  • Choose alkaline-based poultice made for quartz like Stain-RX quartz poultice.
  • Mix poultice powder with water following package directions. Spread thick layer onto stain.
  • Cover with plastic wrap. Let poultice dry completely, usually 24-48 hours.
  • Scrape off and scrub residue. Rinse clean. Repeat if needed.

Polishing Compound

As a last resort, use a quartz polishing compound to buff out etching:

  • Apply polishing cream designed for quartz onto a soft pad.
  • Buff stained area using circular motions applying moderate pressure.
  • Clean residue and rinse well. Reseal quartz countertop after polishing.

Avoid over-polishing as this can create uneven spots on the countertop. Hire a professional if you are uncomfortable with polishing.

Tips to Prevent Hard Water Stains on Quartz

Prevention is key to keeping quartz stain-free and looking its best:

  • Use coasters under glasses and bottles
  • Rinse spills immediately
  • Clean up drying water spots
  • Avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners
  • Use limescale filtering shower heads
  • Install water softening system if severe hard water
  • Reseal quartz every 1-2 years

With proper care and these removal techniques, you can keep stubborn hard water stains at bay and restore the original beauty of your quartz countertops.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if quartz countertops have hard water stains?

Hard water stains on quartz appear as whitish circular spots, streaks, or film. They are usually noticeable in kitchen and bathroom areas prone to water exposure. Stains become more visible when light reflects off the countertop surface.

What is the best homemade hard water stain remover?

White vinegar or a baking soda paste provide effective homemade options for removing light hard water marks. They help break down mineral deposits without harsh chemicals. For tougher stains, try a specialty poultice or remover specifically formulated for quartz.

Can Quartz countertops be permanently damaged by hard water?

If left untreated for prolonged periods, hard water stains can permanently etch into the surface of quartz countertops. The good news is that most stains can be removed with the right techniques if addressed promptly. Avoid abrasive scrubbing which can worsen etching.

Should you seal quartz countertops after removing stains?

It’s a good idea to reseal quartz countertops after intensive stain removal to renew stain resistance. Polishing quartz also exposes pores that need sealing. Use a penetrating sealer made for quartz every 1-2 years. Follow product instructions carefully.

What is the most damaging thing for quartz countertops?

Quartz countertops are vulnerable to damage from excessive pressure or force in concentrated areas. Dropping heavy objects, using quartz as a cutting board, and moving appliances without protection can scar, chip, or crack quartz. Avoid harsh chemicals and acidic cleaners which can etch the surface.


Hard water stains are an inevitable part of having quartz countertops, especially in areas with hard water. Thankfully, even stubborn stains can be removed with specialty cleaners and poultices. The key is to address stains early before they have a chance to etch into the quartz pores. With proper care and prompt treatment, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new for years.