Permanent marker stains on quartz countertops can be frustrating, but with a little time and effort, they can often be removed. Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, making it very durable and stain resistant. However, permanent marker contains dyes that can sometimes penetrate the porous surface. Fortunately, there are several methods you can try to get rid of permanent marker stains from your quartz.
Why Removing Permanent Marker on Quartz is Difficult
Permanent marker is designed to permanently bond with surfaces, making it very difficult to remove once it has set. The dyes in permanent marker can actually stain the inside of the pores on quartz countertops. Here’s why it’s so tricky to remove:
- Penetrates Surface – The dyes soak into the microscopic pores on the surface of quartz.
- Bonds Strongly – The permanent marker formulas create a strong, lasting bond within the stone.
- Leaves Pigment – Even if you can break the bond, dye pigments may remain trapped in the pores.
- Resists Cleaners – Many household cleaners alone cannot break down those stubborn dyes.
While not completely impossible, it does take a little extra work to break the marker’s grip on the quartz so you can remove it fully.
Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Permanent Marker from Quartz
Follow these steps using household items to remove permanent marker stains from your quartz countertops:
1. Act Quickly
It’s best to start trying to remove the stain as soon as possible. The longer the marker sits on the surface, the more time it has to settle in and bond. Begin treatment right after staining occurs if possible.
2. Blot With Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
- Use a soft cloth or paper towels to gently blot the stain. Press down and hold for a few seconds to allow the polish remover to penetrate and break down the marker.
- Avoid rubbing aggressively as this could grind the stain further into the pores.
- Do not use acetone-based remover, as it could damage the quartz sealant.
3. Make a Baking Soda Paste
- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste.
- Use a soft cloth, sponge, or old toothbrush to gently scrub the paste onto the stained area.
- Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The baking soda will help draw out and absorb the marker pigment.
4. Spray With Glass Cleaner
- Spritz stained area with regular glass cleaner containing ammonia.
- Let it soak in for 2-3 minutes. The ammonia will help break down dye molecules.
5. Scrub With Soft Eraser
- Use a white plastic or melamine eraser, not a pumice stone, which is too abrasive.
- Moving in a circular motion, gently scrub stained area to lift pigment from pores.
- Take care not to scour too hard, which could scratch the quartz.
6. Rinse & Repeat as Needed
- Wipe away all residue with a clean, damp cloth.
- Check if stain is fully removed. If any trace remains, repeat process from Step 2.
- It may take 2-3 cycles, allowing time for cleaners to penetrate and work.
Helpful Tips for Removing Permanent Marker
Follow these useful tips to boost your success removing permanent marker from quartz:
- Test cleaner on small inconspicuous spot first to check for any damage to finish.
- Use soft cloths and gentle pressure to avoid scratching.
- If stain persists after multiple treatments, try nail polish remover again for extra dissolving power.
- For older, set-in stains, try lightly going over spot with 000 steel wool and glass cleaner. Avoid scrubbing aggressively.
- If above steps are ineffective, call a professional stone restoration company for stronger chemical treatments. Avoid bleach products.
- Help prevent stains by sealing quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for engineered stone.
What to Avoid When Removing Permanent Marker
There are a few cleaners and techniques you’ll want to steer clear of when trying to get permanent marker off quartz:
- No Bleach – Bleach can discolor and eat away the resin binders in quartz.
- No Acetone – Acetone-based nail polish remover could damage the sealant.
- No Abrasive Scrubbers – Scouring pads or brushes could scratch the surface.
- No High Heat – Avoid blow dryers or heat guns as they can melt the resin.
- No Lacquer Thinner – Solvents like this are too harsh for engineered stone.
Take care when using any cleaning product on quartz. Always spot test first in an inconspicuous area. While challenging, with some persistence permanent marker stains can usually be removed from quartz counters without professional help. Just be gentle and patient!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use magic eraser on quartz countertops?
You can try a melamine foam magic eraser on quartz countertops, but be very gentle. Magic erasers work well to lift some stains, but the abrasiveness can dull or scratch quartz if you rub too hard. Test first and use light, circular motions.
What is the best homemade cleaner for quartz?
For everyday cleaning, mix together warm water, a few drops of mild dish soap, and a splash of white vinegar. For a deeper clean, make a baking soda and water paste. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach that can damage the resin.
Will Clorox wipes damage quartz?
It’s best to avoid using Clorox and other bleach-based wipes on quartz countertops. The chlorine in bleach can discolor or eat away the resin binders in quartz over time with regular use. Stick to gentle soap and water for cleaning.
Can I use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from quartz?
Yes, you can try using a 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol on quartz to help dissolve permanent marker stains. Pour some onto a soft cloth and gently blot the stain. Let it soak in for 1-2 minutes before wiping clean. Avoid aggressive scrubbing.
How do you seal quartz countertops?
Use a penetrating sealer specifically formulated for engineered stone about once a year. After cleaning the surface thoroughly, apply sealer with a soft cloth according to package directions. This helps prevent stains by sealing the microscopic pores.
Permanent marker stains on quartz countertops are certainly annoying, but with a little bit of time and the right techniques, you can often remove them without calling in professional help. Act quickly and start by gently blotting with non-acetone nail polish remover. Make a baking soda paste scrub and use glass cleaner ammonia to help break down the dyes. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pressure that could scratch your counters. With some trials, your quartz can look good as new again. Be sure to reseal after to help prevent future staining issues.