How to Get Rid of Rust Stains on Quartz Countertops

Rust stains on quartz countertops can be unsightly and difficult to remove. However, with the right techniques and products, these stains can be eliminated. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of rust stains on quartz countertops.

What Causes Rust Stains on Quartz?

Quartz countertops contain natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. While quartz is non-porous, if the surface becomes compromised, rust stains can occur when iron-containing items are left on the countertop and moisture causes the iron to oxidize. Common culprits include:

  • Cast iron pans
  • Iron or steel wool pads
  • Nails, screws or tools
  • Jewelry findings
  • Keys
  • Tomato sauce from cans

Prolonged contact between the iron and the quartz surface, especially if moisture is present, can cause reddish-brown discoloration. Rust stains on quartz can be tricky to remove if left untouched for too long.

Cleaning Rust Stains on Quartz Countertops

Here are the steps to remove stubborn iron or rust stains from quartz countertops:

1. Remove Loose Rust

Use a plastic scrub pad or soft cloth to gently rub the stain and remove any loose rust on the surface. Take care not to scrub too hard as this could potentially scratch the quartz.

2. Create a Poultice

Make a poultice to draw out the stain from the quartz. Mix a cleaning product containing oxalic or phosphoric acid with a absorbent powder like talc or baking soda to form a paste. Some options are:

  • Bar Keepers Friend
  • Rust Remover
  • Liquid Rust Stain Remover

3. Apply the Poultice

Spread the poultice paste over the stain generously, going slightly beyond the edges. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for at least 4 hours or overnight. The poultice will work to draw out the rust stain from the porous areas of the quartz.

4. Rinse and Repeat

Once the time has elapsed, rinse thoroughly with warm water. Check if the stain has lightened or been removed. If it’s still visible, make another batch of poultice and repeat the process. Stronger stains often require 2-3 applications.

5. Clean and Re-seal

After the stain has been successfully removed, wash the area with a non-abrasive quartz cleaner or mild soap and water. Rinse several times. Consider applying a quartz sealer to help prevent future stains by sealing any compromised areas.

Tips for Preventing Rust Stains on Quartz

Prevention is key to keeping quartz stain-free. Here are some useful tips:

  • Wipe up spills immediately, especially iron-rich foods like tomatoes.
  • Avoid leaving iron cookware and objects directly on the quartz.
  • Use trivets and hot pads under hot pans and dishes.
  • Re-seal quartz annually with a specialty sealer.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.
  • Clean quartz regularly with a pH-neutral cleaner.

When to Call a Professional

For stubborn iron stains or etching that don’t respond to poulticing, professional help may be needed. Companies offer services to grind, sand and polish out stains from quartz countertops without damaging the surface. This option avoids having to replace the entire countertop.


Rust stains can be problematic on quartz countertops but with the right cleaning methods, they can be removed successfully. Creating an iron-removing poultice is an inexpensive and effective approach for lightening or eliminating these pesky stains. Combining patience and perseverance, your quartz countertops can be restored to their former glory. Implementing preventive habits will help keep the surface pristine and free of stains. With the proper care, quartz countertops will retain their beauty for many years.