White quartz countertops can add a clean, elegant look to any kitchen. However, like all countertop materials, quartz can be prone to stains over time if not properly cared for. The good news is that quartz is non-porous, making it more stain-resistant than natural stone. Most stains can be removed from quartz with the proper cleaning methods. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get stains off white quartz countertops.
What Causes Stains on White Quartz?
White quartz countertops stain when pigment from spills penetrates the surface. Common staining culprits include:
- Foods and beverages – Coffee, tea, wine, juice, and tomato sauce are notorious quartz stainers. The natural pigments they contain can leave behind stubborn stains.
- Oil and grease – Cooking oils and greasy foods can leave oily stains on quartz.
- Hard water spots – Mineral deposits in hard water will etch into the quartz leaving cloudy spots.
- Makeup and cosmetics – Foundations, mascaras, and lipsticks contain pigments that can stain.
- Ink and dyes – from markers, pens, or paper.
- Rust – Bits of rust left from cans or appliances can oxidize and leave rust stains.
- Mold and mildew – Moisture buildup can allow mold to grow and stain the surface.
How to Remove Stains from White Quartz Countertops
Clean with Mild Soap and Water
For light stains, the first step is to try cleaning with mild soap and warm water. Mix a few drops of dish soap into warm water and use a soft cloth to gently clean the stained area. Avoid abrasive scrubbing. This may help lift some fresh stains before they have a chance to set into the surface.
Baking Soda and Water Paste
For tougher stains, make a paste by mixing baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable consistency. Apply the paste directly to the stain and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help lift staining. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
Hydrogen peroxide is effective at whitening and removing light stains from quartz. Dip a soft cloth into undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide and gently rub onto the stain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing clean. This can help lift pigment stains from coffee, tea, juice, and other beverages.
Clean with Ammonia
For tougher food or grease stains, use an ammonia-based cleaner. Check the product label for ingredients and instructions. Apply it directly to the stained area and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping clean with water. Ammonia helps break down and dissolve stubborn stains.
Scour with Baking Soda Paste
To tackle engrained stains, make a paste by mixing 2 tablespoons baking soda with 1 teaspoon water. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the paste over the stain in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly with water and pat dry with a soft cloth. The baking soda particles provide just enough abrasion to lift staining without scratching the quartz.
Use Acetone on Tough Stains
For extremely stubborn oil and grease stains, or indelible marker stains, reach for the acetone. Dip a soft cloth into acetone (nail polish remover) and rub gently onto the stain. This powerful solvent helps dissolve and strip away pigment. Be careful not to rub too vigorously, as acetone can dull the quartz shine if overused.
Scrub with Undiluted Vinegar
White vinegar is another great stain remover for quartz. Pour undiluted white vinegar directly onto tough stains like coffee or tea. Let it sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing with a soft cloth or brush. The acetic acid in vinegar will help break down the stain. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
Use a Clay-Based Poultice
For staining that just won’t budge, you may need to use a clay-based poultice designed for removing stubborn countertop stains. Mix the poultice per the manufacturer’s directions and apply a thick layer directly onto the stain, extending just beyond its edges. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to dry completely. This could take 24-48 hours. Once fully dried, scrape off the poultice and rinse the area thoroughly. These specifically formulated poultices help draw out deep stains.
Bleach Gel Pen
For thin stained cracks or grooves, reach for a bleach gel pen designed for cleaning. Simply fill in the crevices using the pen and let it sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing. The thickened bleach gel clings to vertical surfaces better than liquid bleach. Just be careful not to get it on surrounding areas. After bleaching, rinse thoroughly.
Use a Limestone Restoration Solution
Some specialty stone restoration solutions can also be effective at removing stubborn quartz stains. Look for alkaline-based solutions designed specifically for limestone and other delicate surfaces. Apply a small amount directly to the stain and let sit briefly before rinsing. Only use restoration products formulated as safe for quartz.
Schedule Professional Cleaning
For stains that simply refuse to budge, call in a professional quartz cleaning service. They have access to specialized products and tools for removing the most stubborn stains. Things like rust, mold, mildew or set-in grease stains may require the experts. Professional cleaning can restore your quartz to a like-new condition.
Tips for Preventing Stains on Quartz Countertops
Stain prevention is always preferable to stain removal. Here are some handy tips for keeping white quartz looking its best:
- Seal quartz countertops once a year using a penetrating quartz sealer. This creates a protective barrier.
- Immediately wipe up food and drink spills as they occur. Don’t let them sit and soak in.
- Use trivets and cutting boards to protect the surface from hot pots/pans or knife damage.
- Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrub pads that could scratch and allow stains.
- Clean up spills from oils, makeup, dyes, chemicals etc. right away.
- Routinely disinfect quartz with a sanitizing stone cleaner.
- Increase ventilation and reduce moisture to prevent mold/mildew growth.
- Don’t let rusting appliances or cans make prolonged contact with the quartz.
- Reseal quartz around sinks/faucets annually to prevent water spots.
How to Clean White Quartz Countertops Routine Maintenance
Regular cleaning is required to keep white quartz looking pristine between deep cleanings. Here is the best process for routine maintenance:
- Soft cleaning cloth or sponge
- Mild liquid dish soap
- Stone cleaner (optional)
- Clean towel for drying
- Rinse quartz with clean water to remove loose dirt and debris.
- Apply a few drops of dish soap to the quartz surface.
- Clean the entire surface with soft circular motions using a cloth or sponge.
- For best results, use a specially formulated stone cleaner for quartz.
- Take care not to let soap or stone cleaner dry on the surface.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water several times to remove all residue.
- Dry the countertop with a clean towel to prevent water spots.
- Repeat cleaning weekly or as needed to keep quartz in top condition.
How to Remove Other Common Stains from Quartz
Quartz countertops are prone to a wide variety of stains from common kitchen mishaps. Here are some tips for removing other specific stains from quartz:
Red Wine Stain Removal
- First try cleaning with hydrogen peroxide or ammonia-based cleaner.
- If stain persists, make a baking soda paste and gently rub into stain. Rinse thoroughly.
- For tough set-in stains, apply acetone with a soft cloth. Limit contact time to avoid damage.
Coffee/Tea Stain Removal
- Try hydrogen peroxide or vinegar first.
- Make a baking soda paste for more persistent staining.
- Use ammonia-based cleaner for heavier staining.
- Professional cleaning may be required for engrained coffee stains.
Oil & Grease Stain Removal
- Immediately blot away any excess oil or grease.
- Clean with dish soap and warm water several times.
- If needed, apply ammonia cleaner to dissolve grease.
- For heavy stain, lay paper towels soaked in acetone on the spot for 5-10 minutes.
Fruit & Berry Stain Removal
- For light stains scrub with baking soda paste.
- Use hydrogen peroxide or ammonia-based cleaner for tougher stains
- Dab with acetone if significant staining remains. Avoid over-rubbing.
Hard Water Spot Removal
- Soak spots with undiluted white vinegar and let sit 5-10 minutes.
- Make a paste with baking soda and vinegar and apply to spots.
- Use a clr-based hard water stain remover according to instructions.
Dye, Ink or Makeup Stain Removal
- Try hydrogen peroxide or ammonia cleaner first.
- Use acetone on a cloth to dissolve stubborn makeup or ink stains.
- For thin stains in cracks/crevices use a bleach gel pen carefully.
Tips for Cleaning Other Quartz Colors
The techniques for cleaning white quartz also apply to other light quartz colors like cream or grey. Slight adjustments may be needed when cleaning darker quartz:
For Darker Quartz Colors:
- Spot test cleaners first to prevent discoloration or etching.
- Use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach products. Bleach can discolor darker quartz.
- Make baking soda paste with just enough water to avoid lightening.
- Limit acid contact time. Vinegar/lemon can etch some dark quartzes.
- Avoid excessive scrubbing or pressure that could scuff the surface.
Pro Tips for Restoring White Quartz’s Shine
Over time, cleaning and regular use can dull the glossy sheen of white quartz. To restore its lustrous shine:
- Once a week, buff quartz with a mild polish made for engineered stone.
- Use circular motions and minimal pressure for best results.
- Avoid wax-based polishes which can cause buildup and yellowing over time.
- Consider having quartz professionally honed and polished every 3-5 years.
- Professional resurfacing removes etched layers and restores factory gloss.
White quartz countertops are prone to staining, but nearly all stains can be removed with the right techniques. By addressing stains promptly and using the proper methods, you can keep your white quartz counters looking like new for years to come. Be sure to seal and care for them properly to prevent avoidable stains in the first place. With some persistence and the cleaning methods outlined above, you can achieve stain-free, gleaming white quartz countertops.