How to Get Pen Off of Quartz Countertop

What You’ll Need

Before you start, gather the following supplies:

  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Magic eraser/melamine foam
  • Soft cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Toothpaste
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Eyeglass cleaner

Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the quartz surface. Stick to gentle cleaning solutions when possible.

Remove Surface Stains with Polish Remover

For light pen marks on the surface, start by applying a small amount of non-acetone nail polish remover to a soft cloth. Gently rub the stain in circular motions until it starts to fade. The acetone in the polish remover will help break down the pigments in the ink.

Rinse the area with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel once the stain has lifted. This method works well for fresh ink stains.

Use a Magic Eraser

For more stubborn stains, grab a melamine foam magic eraser. Simply wet the eraser, then gently rub over the mark using minimal pressure. The melamine foam will help lift the stain without damaging the finish.

You can also try spraying a bit of eyeglass cleaner onto the eraser for extra cleaning power. Rinse and dry the countertop once the ink is removed.

Make a Baking Soda Paste

For older, set-in stains, mix a thick paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste directly to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that will help break down pigment without etching the surface.

Once the time has passed, wipe away the paste using a damp cloth. Rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly. Check that the stain has lifted – if not, repeat the process.

Use White Vinegar

White vinegar is another pantry staple that can eliminates tough pen stains on quartz. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, then dip a soft cloth into the solution. Apply to the stain and allow to sit briefly before wiping clean.

The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through residue, while the water dilutes it for safe use on countertops. Just avoid rubbing too hard, as vinegar could etch the surface over time with repeated use.

Apply Toothpaste

Believe it or not, toothpaste contains compounds like silica that can help scrub away stubborn ink stains without damaging the finish. Simply dab a small amount of regular (non-gel) toothpaste onto the mark.

Let it sit for 5-10 minutes so the paste can work, then scrub with a damp cloth. Rinse thoroughly once the stain fades. The mild abrasives get into the nooks and crannies to lift residue.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

Lastly, try applying some isopropyl alcohol directly onto the stain using a cotton ball. Let it soak in for a few minutes, then wipe clean. The alcohol will break down any remaining pigment and help remove any oily residue left behind by other cleaners.

Just be cautious not to let alcohol sit too long, as it could dull the finish over time. Use it as a last resort if needed.

Prevent Future Stains

Once you’ve conquered the pen stain, make sure to seal and protect the area so ink doesn’t set in again. Use a penetrating sealer made for natural stone to safeguard the surface. Avoid placing open pens, markers or other staining items directly on your countertops.

Act quickly when stains occur to make removal easier. With the right techniques and a gentle touch, you can keep your quartz looking like new.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of pens can stain quartz countertops?

All types of ink, including ballpoint, gel, and felt tip pens, can potentially stain quartz surfaces. Permanent markers and Sharpies are especially prone to leaving behind stubborn marks.

Can I use Clorox wipes on quartz countertops?

No, you should avoid using harsh cleaners like bleach or hydrogen peroxide. The chemicals can damage, pit, and etch quartz over time. Stick to gentle cleaners listed above.

What should I not use to clean quartz?

Avoid abrasive scrub pads, powders, or anything too harsh. Acids like lemon juice or vinegar should only be used sparingly. Steel wool, scouring pads, or alkali-based cleaners can also damage quartz.

Does Windex work to remove stains from quartz?

Yes, Windex or any other glass cleaner can help lift some stains from quartz since they contain ammonia. Spray a small amount on the mark and wipe with a soft cloth. Avoid using repeatedly though.

What is the best homemade quartz countertop cleaner?

Make a simple solution of a few drops of mild dish soap, warm water, and a splash of vinegar. You can also use a mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Apply with a soft sponge and rinse well.


Removing pen stains from quartz may seem daunting at first, but with a gentle touch and the right cleaning solutions, you can lift even the toughest marks. Test out nail polish remover, magic erasers, baking soda, vinegar, toothpaste, or rubbing alcohol to find what works best.

Just take care not to use anything too harsh or abrasive, as this can damage the finish. With a little patience, your quartz countertops will look pristine again. Act quickly as soon as an ink stain occurs to make removal much easier.