Quartz countertops are highly popular in kitchens and bathrooms thanks to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can still get stained from spills, oils, and other materials. Fortunately, there are effective methods for removing stains from quartz countertops.
What Causes Stains on Quartz?
Quartz is non-porous, so spills and messes generally sit on the surface rather than absorbing deep into the material. However, certain materials can still cause stubborn stains, including:
- Oils and grease from food spills
- Liquids with color pigments, like wine, coffee, and juice
- Harsh chemicals like bleach or oven cleaner
- Pens, markers, or paint
- Metal marks from pots, pans or utensils
Cleaning vs. Removing Stains on Quartz
Regular cleaning with mild soap and water is often enough to keep quartz looking like new. However, set-in stains require a bit more effort to remove.
When tackling stubborn stains, it’s important to use targeted stain removal techniques rather than abrasive scrubbing, which can damage the quartz surface over time.
The key is using the right cleaning solutions and techniques tailored to the type of stain on your countertop.
Effective Ways to Remove Common Stains from Quartz
Cleaning Oil-Based Stains
Oily spills from food or lotions can leave behind a stubborn film. Here’s how to cut through the grease:
- Mix a solution of mild dish soap and warm water. Apply to the stain and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. This helps break down the oil.
- Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently blot and lift the stain as the soap solution emulsifies the oil. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft towel.
- For really stubborn oil stains, apply baking soda to the area. The light abrasion can help dissolve the grease when used gently. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
Removing Dried or Sugary Messes
Spills like wine, coffee, juice, or syrup leave behind sugary residues or pigmented stains. To remove:
- Mix a solution of mild, non-bleach detergent and warm water. Apply it to the stain.
- Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes so the solution can penetrate and loosen the stain.
- Use a soft bristle brush and gentle circular motions to scrub the stain away. Avoid excessive pressure.
- Rinse thoroughly and dry the area completely. Check that the stain is fully removed.
- For really stubborn dried-on stains, try applying hydrogen peroxide before scrubbing. This can help lift the staining.
Cleaning up Harsh Chemicals
Accidental spills of oven cleaner, bleach, drain opener, and other harsh chemicals can etch and stain quartz. Here’s how to minimize damage:
- Blot the spill right away with a towel to soak up as much of the chemical as possible. Avoid rubbing it around.
- Mix a poultice using baking soda and water. Spread the paste over the affected area.
- Allow to sit for 4-6 hours. This draws out the stain.
- Scrape away the poultice and rinse the countertop thoroughly. Dry completely.
- If any stain remains, re-apply the poultice and allow it to sit overnight. The longer contact time will draw more of the stain out.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or oven cleaner on quartz. Always clean up spills quickly.
Removing Paint, Marker and Ink Stains
Pigmented materials like paint, pens, or stamp pads require stain removers that can break down the color particles:
- Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the stain and let it sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Use a cloth to gently blot and wipe away the stain as the alcohol breaks it down.
- For tougher stains, make a poultice with baking soda and rubbing alcohol. Apply to the stain and allow to sit for several hours before rinsing.
- Avoid nail polish remover, as this can damage the quartz sealant.
- Magic erasers may also help lift ink stains through mild abrasion. Be sure to use gentle pressure.
Removing Metal Marks and Scratches
Pots, pans, keys, and other metal items can leave gray streaks or scratches on quartz. To remove:
- Mix a poultice using baking soda and water. Generously apply the paste to metal marks.
- Allow it to dry completely, then scrape away. This can help lift metal discoloration.
- For shallow scratches, use a plastic putty knife to gently buff the mark using very light pressure. Avoid scraping aggressively.
- Apply stone polish to the area and buff in a circular motion using a soft cloth. Rinse and dry.
- Prevent metal marks by using cutting boards and trivets. Take care not to drag metal across the surface.
When to Call a Professional
While many stains on quartz can be removed with home techniques, it’s best to call in a pro for stain removal help if:
- The stain covers a very large area of the countertop.
- You’ve tried multiple removal methods with no success.
- The stain is from a harsh chemical like battery acid or paint stripper.
- You notice etching or pitting that indicates permanent damage.
Professionals have access to more powerful cleaning solutions that can tackle really set-in stains without damaging the quartz. They also have experience addressing stains on a wide range of materials.
Maintaining Your Quartz Counters
Preventing stains in the first place will save you the hassle of stain removal. Follow these care tips:
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining.
- Regularly clean quartz with a mild soap and water solution.
- Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrub pads which can damage the surface.
- Use trivets and cutting boards to protect from hot pans or food prep.
- Clean appliances like coffee makers thoroughly if drips can reach the counters.
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years to reinforce stain resistance.
With the right techniques and regular care, even stubborn stains can be removed from quartz counters, leaving them looking like new again. Be sure to tailor your approach to the type of stain, and address spills promptly to minimize long-term damage. Reach out to a pro if you have concerns about permanent staining or etching that requires expert care.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean set-in stains on quartz countertops?
For set-in stains, make a cleaning paste with baking soda and water. Apply to the stain and allow to sit for several hours, then rinse. The baking soda will help draw out set-in stains. You can also use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol and allow it to sit before gently scrubbing.
What is the best homemade quartz cleaner?
Mix a mild detergent like dish soap with warm water. Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently clean the counters. Avoid abrasive cleaners. For tough stains, a baking soda paste works well and is safe for routine cleaning.
Does lemon remove stains from quartz?
Yes, lemon can help remove some stains from quartz counters. The citric acid helps break down stains. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto stains, allow to sit briefly, then wipe and rinse clean. Do not let lemon sit too long, as the acidity can damage quartz over time.
Can you use Magic Erasers on quartz?
Magic erasers can be used sparingly on quartz since they contain a very light abrasive. However, erasers should only be used for stubborn stains with very light pressure. Excessive scrubbing with Magic Erasers can damage quartz over time by eroding the surface.
What household items can stain quartz counters?
Oils, dyes, coffee, wine, acidic foods like lemon juice, and harsh chemicals are common household items that can stain quartz counters. Metal marks can also occur from pots, pans, and other objects. Prevent stains by wiping spills quickly and using trivets and cutting boards.
Can you ruin quartz countertops?
It is possible to permanently damage quartz countertops by using harsh chemicals, excessive force, leaving stains untreated for prolonged periods. Re-sealing the quartz regularly and addressing stains promptly reduces the risk of permanent damage. Etching and discoloration may require replacement if severe.
Quartz offers gorgeous, low-maintenance countertops, but stains do occur. Knowing the right techniques like baking soda poultices, hydrogen peroxide, and gentle scrubbing allows you to remove stains effectively. Regular sealing and cleaning keeps quartz counters looking fresh. For challenging stains, consult a countertop pro for the best stain removal techniques. With some elbow grease and the right approach, you can keep your quartz countertops spotless.