Quartz countertops are popular in many homes for their durability, stylish appearance, and low maintenance. However, they can develop water marks over time that can be unsightly and difficult to remove. Here are some effective methods for getting water marks out of quartz countertops.
What Causes Water Marks on Quartz?
Water marks on quartz surfaces are caused by minerals in water evaporating and leaving behind a residue. This typically occurs when water droplets are left sitting on the countertop and are allowed to air dry. The minerals in hard water especially can leave behind white, cloudy marks. Other culprits that can stain quartz include coffee, tea, wine, grease, and food spills.
Cleaning Water Marks from Quartz Countertops
Use a pH-Neutral Cleaner
Start by cleaning the quartz with a pH-neutral cleaner made specifically for stone surfaces. Look for ones that do not contain acids, alkalis, or bleach. The gentle, non-abrasive formula will help lift some water marks without damaging the finish. Spray the cleaner directly on the marks and let it sit for a minute before wiping clean with a soft cloth.
Baking Soda Paste
For more stubborn marks, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected area using a soft cloth or sponge and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The baking soda will help gently dissolve and lift the mineral deposits causing the water marks. Rinse and dry the area thoroughly after scrubbing.
Mild Abrasive Cleanser
If water stains remain, use a specially formulated quartz-safe abrasive cleaner containing minerals like feldspar. Bar Keepers Friend and Zud are two popular options. Apply the cleanser directly on the marks and scrub with a soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Use minimal pressure when scrubbing to avoid dulling the surface.
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and spray it directly on the water marks. Let the solution sit for 5-7 minutes. The acidic vinegar will help break down and dissolve mineral deposits. Use a soft cloth to gently scrub and rinse the area. Make sure to dilute the vinegar, as full strength can etch quartz.
As a bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can lift discoloration from quartz. Create a solution of 3 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Apply it to the stain and let it bubble for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean. Be careful handling concentrated hydrogen peroxide as it can irritate skin.
For light surface scratches or a hazy finish, use a buffing pad designed for quartz following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will gently polish out minor etching or clouding. Avoid applying too much pressure, which can damage the surface.
Tips for Preventing Water Marks
- Wipe up spills immediately, especially acidic liquids like citrus juice
- Use coasters under glasses and bottles
- Run wet items like pots or vases on a towel, trivet or hot pad
- Use cutting boards for food prep
- Clean quartz regularly with a stone-safe cleaner
- Avoid exposing quartz to harsh chemicals like paint removers
- Re-seal quartz annually with a stone sealer to protect the finish
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if marks on quartz are permanent stains vs removable water marks?
- Permanent stains will remain even after trying intensive cleaning methods. Water marks should gradually fade with the right recipes and scrubbing.
Can I use bleach to remove marks from quartz countertops?
- No, bleach and other harsh chemicals like oven cleaners or drain openers should never be used on quartz. They can damage the finish and cause permanent discoloration. Stick to gentle cleaners specifically formulated for stone surfaces.
Why do some quartz counters stain more easily than others?
- The quality of the quartz and how porous or dense it is can affect stain resistance. Less expensive quartz is often more porous, while higher-end engineered stone is less prone to staining. The finish and how well it is sealed also plays a role.
How can I minimize water marks after cleaning quartz?
- Always rinse surfaces thoroughly after cleaning and wipe up excess moisture to prevent water droplets from drying on the stone. Blot with a microfiber cloth and allow to air dry to reduce water marks.
Will a vinegar and water solution damage my quartz?
- Diluted vinegar is generally safe for quartz in small doses for spot cleaning. Rinse surfaces thoroughly after use and do not allow vinegar to sit for prolonged periods, as the acidity can etch the finish over time. Avoid stronger concentrations.
Water spots and mineral deposits on quartz countertops can be frustrating, but they don’t have to be permanent eyesores. With the proper cleaning techniques using non-abrasive products safe for stone, you can effectively remove water marks without damaging the quartz finish. Be sure to promptly wipe up spills and follow stone care best practices to minimize water marks from developing in the first place. Your quartz counters will look like new again.