Rust stains on quartz countertops can be unsightly and difficult to remove. However, with a little patience and the right techniques, you can get those stubborn rust stains out of your quartz. Here are some of the most effective methods for removing rust from quartz countertops.
Why Rust Forms on Quartz
Quartz is a very durable non-porous material made from crushed quartz combined with resins and pigments. It does not rust itself, but rust stains can form on the surface from contact with rusty items.
Some common causes of rust on quartz include:
- Leaving cast iron cookware on the countertop that later rusts
- Iron nails or tools resting on the surface
- Rusty water dripping from an overhead pipe or fixture
- Using rust-stained rags or sponges to wipe the countertop
The iron oxide in the rust bonds to the surface, resulting in stubborn orange or brown stains. Fortunately, these stains can be removed with a bit of work.
Cleaning Products to Use for Rust Removal
Some good cleaning agents to try for rust removal include:
- Bar Keepers Friend – This oxalic acid-based cleaner is excellent for stubborn rust stains. It turns rust into a water-soluble compound that can be easily wiped away.
- Vinegar – The acetic acid in vinegar breaks down rust staining. Distilled white vinegar works best.
- Hydrogen peroxide – At higher concentrations (10% or more), hydrogen peroxide can oxidize and lift rust stains. Be careful handling high percentage peroxide.
- Citric acid – Lemon juice or citric acid powder helps dissolve rust stains on non-porous surfaces like quartz.
- Baking soda – A baking soda paste helps scrub away rust stains. The mild abrasives lift the staining.
- Dish soap – Added to other cleaners, dish soap helps lift stains and allows rust to be rinsed away.
Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach that could damage the quartz sealant. It’s best to start with gentle cleaning methods first.
Steps to Remove Rust Stains from Quartz
Follow these steps to safely remove rust from your quartz countertops:
1. Prepare the Area
Clear anything off the countertop around the rust stain. You don’t want to accidentally get cleaning products on items in the area. Cover nearby surfaces with towels to protect them from splashing.
2. Try a Vinegar Rinse
Start by rinsing the stained area with undiluted white vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar can dissolve rust bonds. Pour vinegar over the stain and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping with a soft cloth.
3. Make a Baking Soda Paste
If vinegar alone doesn’t remove the stain, make a paste with baking soda and water. The baking soda is a gentle abrasive and also neutralizes rust. Wearing gloves, use a soft cloth to scrub the paste into the stained area for 3-5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
4. Use Bar Keepers Friend
For stubborn rust that won’t budge, Bar Keeper’s Friend is very effective. Make a paste with the powder and water. Apply it to the stain, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Scrub with a soft brush or sponge, then rinse. Avoid metal scrubbers that could scratch the quartz.
5. Try Hydrogen Peroxide
If other methods fail, grab some high-concentration (10% or higher) hydrogen peroxide. Carefully apply it to the rust stain and let it foam and work for 15-20 minutes. Then wipe away. This oxidizes and lifts stubborn rust.
6. Use a Poultice for Heavy Staining
For heavy rust staining, you may need to apply a poultice to draw out the stain. Mix a cleaning product like Bar Keeper’s Friend with hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Apply a 1/4 inch layer over the stain. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to dry completely – this can take 24 hours. Once fully dry, scrape away the poultice and rinse the area.
Tips for Preventing Rust on Quartz
Once you’ve succeeded in removing those pesky rust stains, here are some tips to prevent new ones from forming:
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining.
- Avoid leaving metal cookware sitting directly on the quartz. Use hot pads or trivets.
- Seal any overhead leaks that could drip rusty water onto the countertop.
- Don’t use rust-stained rags or sponges to wipe the quartz.
- Clean quartz regularly with a quartz-safe cleaner and water.
- Re-seal your quartz countertop every 1-2 years as needed.
With proper care and prompt cleaning when stains occur, you can keep your quartz counters rust-free and looking like new. Don’t be afraid to tackle those orange or brown spots – a little time and elbow grease can get that quartz gleaming again rust-free!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use bleach to remove rust from quartz?
No, avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals on quartz countertops. The chlorine in bleach can damage the resin sealant. Stick to gentle cleaners like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and Bar Keepers Friend that are safe for quartz.
How can I prevent rust stains from reforming after cleaning?
Be sure to keep the quartz surface dry after cleaning up a rust stain. Wipe up water or spills right away. It also helps to periodically reseal your quartz every 1-2 years with a quartz-safe sealant to protect the surface.
Why is my quartz countertop getting rust stains so easily?
Frequent rust stains likely mean there is a source of rust you need to address. Look for any overhead leaks dripping rusty water, iron pipes rubbing against the surface, or rusting joints in cookware leaving marks. Eliminate the rust source and clean the quartz to remove current stains.
Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar?
Yes, lemon juice works well to dissolve rust bonds. The citric acid in lemon juice helps remove staining. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the affected area and let sit before wiping clean.
How can I prevent cast iron pans from leaving rust on my quartz?
Always use hot pads or trivets under cast iron cookware. Don’t let the bottom of the pan directly contact the countertop, as this can cause rust staining over time. Promptly clean up any rust marks left by cast iron.
Rust stains don’t have to be a permanent problem with quartz countertops. With the proper cleaning techniques, you can safely remove pesky rust spots without harming the surface. Be sure to use non-abrasive, acid-based cleaners designed to dissolve and lift rust. And take steps to prevent future stains by eliminating sources of rust and promptly wiping up spills on your quartz. With a little time and effort, you can keep your quartz counters pristine and rust-free for years to come.