Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can become stained over time. Rust stains, in particular, can be unsightly and difficult to remove. The good news is that with a little bit of effort, you can get those stubborn rust stains off your quartz countertops. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps for removing rust stains from quartz.
What Causes Rust Stains on Quartz?
Before we get into the removal process, it’s helpful to understand what causes rust stains in the first place. Rust stains occur when iron oxidizes and bonds to the surface of the quartz. Common causes include:
- Leaving cast iron cookware on the countertop
- Using cookware with rust on the bottom
- Having metal objects like nails, screws or tools sit on the surface over time
- Iron-rich water dripping onto the countertop
The iron oxidizes when exposed to moisture, leaving behind the telltale rusty orange/brown stains. The sooner you can treat the stains, the easier they’ll be to remove.
Cleaning Supplies You’ll Need
Removing rust stains from quartz requires using the right supplies and techniques. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Soft cloth or sponge
- Mild abrasive cleaner or soft scrub (like Bar Keepers Friend)
- Poultice powder (available at hardware stores)
- Plastic wrap
- Painter’s tape
Follow these steps to safely and effectively remove those pesky rust stains:
Step 1: Create a Baking Soda Paste
Start by making a paste with baking soda and water. Mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part water until it forms a thick, spreadable paste.
Step 2: Apply the Paste to the Stained Area
Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply a generous layer of the baking soda paste directly on top of the rust stain.
Step 3: Cover with Plastic Wrap
Cover the baking soda paste with plastic wrap and press down firmly to seal it against the countertop. Use painter’s tape around the edges to keep the plastic wrap in place.
Step 4: Let It Sit for Several Hours
Leave the baking soda paste on for at least 2-4 hours, or ideally overnight. This gives the baking soda time to lift and draw out the stain.
Step 5: Scrub and Rinse
Once the time has elapsed, carefully remove the plastic and scrub the area with a damp cloth or sponge. The stain should lift after light scrubbing. Thoroughly rinse the area with clean water.
Step 6: Use Vinegar if Needed
If any stain remains, make a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Dab this onto the stain with a cloth and let sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing again. The vinegar will further help break down the rust stain.
Step 7: Use a Poultice if Stains Persist
For the most stubborn rust stains that won’t budge, you may need to use a poultice powder. Mix it into a paste per the instructions and apply to the stain, allowing it to dry completely. This deep cleaning action often lifts out the most persistent stains.
Step 8: Clean with a Soft Scrub
If faint staining remains after using the poultice, apply a soft scrub product like Bar Keepers Friend to the area. Gently scrub with a damp cloth or sponge in circular motions. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
Step 9: Buff to Shine
Once the stains have been removed, buff the countertop with a microfiber cloth to restore its original shine.
Tips for Preventing Future Rust Stains
Once you’ve put in the elbow grease to get those stains out, you’ll want to take steps to prevent new ones from forming:
- Always use coasters under metal objects like pots and pans
- Immediately wipe up any spills
- Clean metal marks with a gentle cleaner right away
- Use a cutting board for metal utensils when cooking
- Seal and re-coat your quartz countertop annually
Frequently Asked Questions
What about using bleach or hydrogen peroxide?
Avoid using bleach or hydrogen peroxide on quartz countertops as these can damage the surface. The methods listed above are effective for rust stain removal without the harsh chemicals.
Can I use a magic eraser?
Magic erasers are too abrasive for quartz surfaces. They can dull and scratch the finish. Stick to non-abrasive cleaners and scrub pads.
How can I prevent rust stains in the future?
Be diligent about using coasters, trivets and cutting boards. Immediately clean up any spills, especially from iron cookware. Keep the quartz sealed and reapply sealant yearly.
Will this work on old/set-in rust stains?
Yes, the poultice method is effective at pulling out even old, set-in rust stains. It may take more applications and elbow grease for stubborn stains.
Should I use any rust remover products?
Avoid products specifically made for rust removal, as these are often too harsh for quartz surfaces. The methods in this article are safe and effective.
While rust stains on quartz countertops can be annoying, the good news is they can be removed with some tried and true techniques. Baking soda, vinegar, poultices and soft scrub cleaners are go-to solutions for getting back your pristine, rust-free quartz countertop. Be sure to take steps to prevent future stains by using coasters, sealing and cleaning spills promptly. With some periodic maintenance, your beautiful quartz countertops will stay looking like new for years to come.