How to Get Permanent Marker Off of Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are popular in many homes for their durability and stylish appearance. However, like any surface, they can be susceptible to stubborn stains. Permanent marker can be one of the most challenging stains to remove from quartz. The ink can penetrate the porous surface, making it difficult to erase completely. Fortunately, with the right techniques and cleaning solutions, you can get permanent marker stains off your quartz countertop.

What is Quartz?

Before exploring stain removal methods, it helps to understand what quartz countertops are made of.

Quartz is an engineered stone created from crushed quartz crystals combined with pigments and resins. It is much harder and less porous than natural stone. The resins bind the crushed crystals together to form a durable, non-porous surface.

While quartz is highly resistant to scratches, stains, burns, and cracks, it is not completely impervious. The resin binders that give quartz its solid surface can be stained by highly pigmented substances. Permanent marker ink is one such substance that can seep into the pores and leave behind stubborn stains.

With the right approach, however, you can break down those stains and restore the quartz to its original condition. Let’s look at the most effective techniques and cleaning solutions.

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Quartz

Removing permanent marker stains from quartz requires using the appropriate cleaning agents. Avoid abrasive scouring powders or scrub pads as they may damage the surface.

Here are the best methods for safely stripping away permanent marker from quartz:

1. Use a Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Non-acetone nail polish removers are effective at dissolving stubborn permanent marker stains.

  • Choose a non-acetone formula to avoid stripping the finish from the quartz surface.
  • Pour a small amount of remover directly onto the stained area.
  • Let it soak for 2-3 minutes. This allows the remover to break down the ink bonds.
  • Wipe away the excess polish remover and ink stain with a soft lint-free cloth or paper towels.
  • Follow up by cleaning the area with a quartz cleaner and water to eliminate any residue.

The nail polish remover’s solvents work to loosen the marker pigment so it can be easily wiped away without damaging the quartz. Test a small inconspicuous area first to ensure thequartz color is not affected.

2. Make a Baking Soda Paste

For a non-toxic option, make a paste with baking soda and water.

  • Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to apply the paste to the stained area.
  • Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that will lift the ink stain without scraping the finish.
  • Wipe clean with a damp sponge or cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly and follow up with a quartz-safe cleaner.

The gentle yet effective cleaning power of baking soda makes it ideal for erasing marker stains without damaging the quartz.

3. Try Commercial Quartz Cleaners

Specialized quartz cleaning products can also prove effective on permanent marker stains. Look for ones designed specifically for engineered stone.

  • Spray the cleaner directly onto the stain according to the product instructions.
  • Let it dwell for the recommended time, usually 3-5 minutes. This allows the cleaner to penetrate and breakdown the ink bonds.
  • Scrub gently with a soft brush or sponge in circular motions. Avoid abrasive pads.
  • Wipe away the stain residue with clean paper towels or soft cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

The active ingredients in commercial cleaners, such as alkaline salts and surfactants, work to dissolve stubborn stains without etching or dulling the quartz finish.

4. Use Isopropyl Alcohol

For a household staple, reach for a bottle of isopropyl alcohol.

  • Pour isopropyl alcohol directly onto a soft cloth.
  • Gently rub the stained area, allowing the alcohol to penetrate and dissolve the ink.
  • Wipe clean with another dry soft cloth.
  • Follow up by washing with soap and water to remove any residue.

The alcohol breaks down the binders in the marker ink, allowing the pigment to be lifted away without damaging the quartz. Just take care not to rub too aggressively.

5. Try Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Magic eraser cleaning pads can also tackle permanent marker on quartz. Their melamine foam construction allows them to break down and lift away stubborn stains.

  • Dampen the Magic Eraser pad under running water and wring out any excess.
  • Gently rub the stain using light, circular motions. Apply minimal pressure.
  • Wipe away any ink and residue with a damp cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

The Mr. Clean pads lift the marker stain through friction rather than harsh chemicals. But take care not to over-scrub, as the eraser can potentially dull the finish over time with excessive scouring.

Tips for Removing Permanent Marker from Quartz

When tackling permanent marker stains, follow these tips for best results:

  • Act quickly for fresh stains. Remove any marker ink immediately before it has a chance to set into the pores.
  • Blot (don’t scrub) fresh stains first with paper towels or a dry cloth. This helps lift as much pigment as possible before wiping with cleaners.
  • Spot test cleaner or remover on an inconspicuous area first. Check that it does not etch or discolor the quartz.
  • Only apply cleaners or removers directly to the stained area, not the entire countertop. This prevents damage to the surrounding finish.
  • Avoid abrasive scouring pads and powders that could scratch the quartz surface. Stick to soft-bristle brushes, sponges, and cloths.
  • Work in small circular motions when rubbing stained areas with remover. Too much back-and-forth scrubbing can damage the finish.
  • Rinse thoroughly after applying any cleaning agents. Residue left behind could attract more dirt.
  • Repeat stain removal process if needed. Some deep-set stains may require more than one application.
  • Clean and re-seal quartz regularly to protect from future stains. Use a quartz-safe sealant formulated for engineered stone.

With the proper supplies and techniques, even dried permanent marker stains can be erased from quartz surfaces. The key is using the right stain removal methods for your specific type of quartz.

Home Remedies to Avoid on Quartz

When dealing with stubborn permanent marker stains, it’s tempting to reach for homemade remedies like lemon juice, vinegar, toothpaste, or bleach. However, these substances can actually damage quartz surfaces. Avoid the following:

  • Vinegar – While often touted as a natural cleaner, vinegar is acidic. The acetic acid in vinegar can etch and dull quartz.
  • Lemon juice – Similarly, citric acid in lemon juice can damage quartz surfaces. Mixing lemon juice with baking soda is also too abrasive.
  • Toothpaste – The gritty texture of toothpaste may further grind permanent marker dye into the pores rather than lifting stains. The dyes in gel toothpaste could also discolor quartz.
  • Bleach – Bleach is too harsh for quartz and may strip the finish. Chlorine bleach could also react with resin in quartz and cause discoloration.
  • Acetone-based nail polish remover – Pure acetone is too strong and could damage the quartz resin binders. Opt for acetone-free removers instead.
  • Abrasive scrub pads or powders – Never use abrasive scouring pads, steel wool, or powders like Comet or Ajax. They will scratch and damage the quartz.

Always spot test any DIY cleaner on an inconspicuous spot first. When in doubt, stick to cleaners specifically designed for engineered stone. Play it safe by avoiding harsh, acidic homemade cleaners.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these step-by-step instructions for removing permanent marker from your quartz countertop:

Supplies Needed:

  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Soft bristle brush or sponge
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Quartz cleaner or isopropyl alcohol
  • Soft lint-free cloth or paper towels
  • Small bowl and spoon for mixing baking soda paste


  1. Act quickly when marker stains occur to prevent ink from setting into the stone. Blot fresh stains immediately with a paper towel or dry cloth.
  2. Apply a dime-sized amount of non-acetone nail polish remover directly onto stained area.
  3. Let remover soak for 2-3 minutes so it can break down the ink bonds.
  4. Use a soft bristle brush or sponge to gently rub the stained area in small circular motions.
  5. Wipe away remover and any lifted ink with a dry paper towel or soft cloth.
  6. Mix a paste of 2-3 tablespoons baking soda and a little water.
  7. Use a sponge or soft brush to apply paste onto any remaining stain.
  8. Allow paste to sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
  9. Wipe clean using a damp sponge or cloth.
  10. Wash area with warm soapy water to eliminate any residue.
  11. Apply a quartz cleaner or isopropyl alcohol to remove any leftover stain.
  12. Agitate gently with a sponge or soft brush.
  13. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
  14. Repeat as needed for deep set or dried marker stains.
  15. Reseal and wax quartz regularly to protect surface.

With some gentle yet effective cleaning methods, permanent marker stains can be erased from quartz countertops without damage. Maintaining your quartz properly will also help prevent future stubborn stains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about removing permanent marker from quartz countertops:

Can I use Clorox wipes on permanent marker stains on quartz?

No, avoid using Clorox or other bleach-based wipes on quartz. The bleach can react with the resin and cause discoloration. The alcohol in the wipes can also dull the finish over time. Use cleaners made specifically for engineered stone instead.

What about using WD-40 to remove permanent marker from quartz?

WD-40 is not recommended for quartz surfaces. The petroleum distillates can leave an oily residue and buildup that actually attracts more dirt. WD-40 could also stain the quartz itself over time.

Is rubbing alcohol ok to use on permanent marker stains on quartz?

Yes, isopropyl alcohol is safe for quartz. Pour some onto a soft cloth and gently rub stained areas to break down marker ink. Just don’t rub aggressively. Follow up by washing with soap and water.

Can I use a Magic Eraser on permanent marker stains on quartz?

You can use a Magic Eraser very gently on quartz. Dampen it first and use minimal pressure on stains. Over-scrubbing with the eraser can dull the finish though. Wipe off any residue after cleaning.

How do I prevent permanent marker stains on my quartz countertop?

Avoid exposing your quartz countertop to permanent markers in the first place. If kids will be using them for art projects nearby, lay down some protection like butcher paper first. Clean up any accidental marks right away with a blotting action.


Permanent marker stains on quartz countertops can be frustrating. But with the right cleaning techniques, you can safely erase those stubborn stains without damaging the quartz surface. Gentle yet effective cleaners like non-acetone nail polish remover, baking soda, and commercial quartz cleaners lift stains through chemical reactions rather than abrasive force.

To keep your quartz pristine, act fast when stains occur and avoid harsh homemade remedies. With some patience and the proper methods, you can restore your quartz countertops to their original unmarked condition. Handle stains properly, and your beautiful quartz surface will stay in top shape for years to come.