Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects thanks to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance requirements. However, while quartz is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat, it still requires some basic care and maintenance to keep it looking pristine. Follow this comprehensive guide to learn the best practices for protecting and caring for your quartz countertops.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
- Clean quartz surfaces frequently with a soft cloth and warm water or a pH-neutral cleaner made specifically for stone surfaces. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads that could dull the finish.
- Blot up spills immediately to prevent stains from setting. For dried-on messes, use a non-abrasive cleaning pad.
- Disinfect quartz periodically with a stone-safe disinfectant to kill bacteria. Look for EPA-registered disinfectants labeled as safe for quartz.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for natural stone to prevent stains from absorbing.
- Inspect sealers annually and reapply as needed. Signs of needing resealing include dark staining or absorption of liquids.
- Rinse quartz thoroughly after using acidic substances like lemon juice or wine to prevent etching.
- Always use cutting boards, trivets, and hot pads on your quartz surfaces. Never cut directly on the countertop.
- Don’t drag heavy appliances or objects across the surface which could scratch. Lift and set down carefully.
- Use soft-bristled brushes or microfiber cloths to scrub the surface gently. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
- Install padding underneath accessories like appliances to prevent vibration scratches.
- Add rubber feet to furniture and bottom edge guards to chairs to prevent scuffing if they bump the countertop.
- Wipe up food, liquids, hair products, cosmetics, and other staining substances immediately with a damp cloth.
- Clean appliances like blenders thoroughly after use to remove leftover food residue.
- Rinse surfaces with water after using pigmented foods and drinks like spices, maple syrup, coffee, tea, wine, berries, mustard, etc.
- For stubborn stains, make a paste with baking soda and water and gently rub with a soft cloth or brush. Rinse thoroughly.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc. Rinse immediately if exposed.
- Keep nail polish remover, perfumes, oils, and cleaners with pigments in containers to avoid staining from drips.
- Always use trivets or hot pads when setting down hot pots, pans, baking sheets, etc. Quartz can withstand brief exposure up to 212°F.
- Allow cookware to cool slightly before placing directly on quartz surfaces.
- Don’t leave appliances like crockpots, griddles, or heated hair care tools on the counter while in use.
- Avoid pouring boiling water directly from a kettle onto the countertop.
- Move candles occasionally to prevent intense, prolonged heat in one spot. Trim wicks to avoid scorching.
- Use a thermometer when proofing bread dough to ensure the right temperature without overheating the surface.
Sun Exposure Precautions
- Use window treatments like blinds, curtains, or tinted glass to block intense and prolonged sun exposure which can cause fading.
- Move decorative items like vases occasionally to prevent uneven color changes from sunlight hitting the surface in the same spot day after day.
- Avoid placing quartz surfaces in front of windows that get direct sunlight most of the day. The ideal placement is perpendicular to windows.
- Diffused natural light is fine. Just take precautions against intense beams hitting the same area for long periods of time.
- Increased sun exposure accelerates the need for resealing to prevent color changes. Inspect sealers more frequently on sunny countertops.
Handling Cracks and Chips
- Chips and cracks are rare but can happen with excessive impact or force. Avoid pounding, hammering, or dropping heavy objects on quartz.
- For minor chips, use a filing stone to smooth sharp edges. Filler sticks can repair small cosmetic chips to prevent further damage while preserving appearance.
- Contact a professional for repairs of significant cracks or damage. They can remove and replace a section of the slab or install clips to prevent further cracking.
- Keep the quartz installer’s contact information to call for repairs covered under warranty, usually 10-15 years.
- Prevent cracks from radiating with stone epoxy or flexible fillers. Clips also help keep cracks contained.
Cleaning Up Spills
Food and Drinks
- Wipe up wet spills immediately before staining can occur. Use a damp cloth for water-based liquids.
- For grease stains, spray with a degreasing cleaner and let sit briefly before wiping away.
- Use a blotting technique for sticky spills – soak up excess then scrub gently with a damp cloth.
- Avoid abrasive scrubbing which can damage the finish. Use pressure and multiple rinses to remove stains.
- For dried-on messes, let a damp cloth soak on the area to moisten, then blot and rinse.
Cosmetics and Personal Care
- Clean off hair products, creams, perfumes, makeup with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water.
- Avoid rubbing stubborn makeup stains – let warm water and mild soap soak in first to dissolve pigments.
- Rinse surfaces thoroughly since cosmetic residue left behind can collect dirt over time.
- Use rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth to remove most cosmetic stains. Avoid nail polish remover with acetone.
- For deeply set-in stains, make a paste with baking soda and water and gently rub into the spot.
Ink and Dye Stains
- Clean inks and dyes immediately – the longer they set, the harder they’ll be to remove.
- Dampen a cloth with alcohol or acetone-free nail polish remover and dab the stain until it transfers to the cloth.
- For tough stains, make a baking soda paste and apply directly to the spot. Let it sit briefly before scrubbing.
- Rinse thoroughly afterward since dye can spread if not cleaned up fully. If any color remains, repeat process.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like paint thinner or removers which can damage the finish.
DIY Installation Precautions
- Have any structural reinforcement done before installing quartz to prevent cracking from settling later on.
- Choose a flat substrate – imperfections will transfer through quartz slab. Fill any dips with epoxy first.
- Examine slabs thoroughly before cutting to avoid using pieces with cracks or chips. This can lead to further damage.
- Use white Thinset mortar to prevent any shadowing from darker adhesives bleeding through the transparent quartz.
- Remove all old adhesive from existing surface thoroughly before adhering new quartz. Traces left behind can cause staining.
- Clamp pieces firmly while adhesive dries to prevent shifting. Allow 72 hours drying time before use.
How to Clean Quartz Surfaces
- pH-neutral stone cleaner or mild dish soap
- Soft sponge or non-abrasive scrub pad
- Microfiber cloths
- Clean water
- Absorbent towel
- Optional: Rubbing alcohol, baking soda
- Rinse surface with clean water to remove loose debris. Soak dried spills to soften residue.
- Apply a small amount of stone cleaner or mild, non-bleach detergent to the surface.
- Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently scrub the entire surface. Apply light pressure to remove stuck-on messes.
- Avoid abrasive scrubbers or steel wool pads which could scratch the finish.
- For stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Gently rub paste into stain with a damp cloth.
- Rinse surface thoroughly with clean water 2-3 times to remove all soap residue.
- Blot dry any excess moisture with a soft towel. Buff to shine.
- For periodic deep cleaning, use rubbing alcohol on a cloth to disinfect.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating stone sealer. Apply enough coats to saturate the surface.
Tips for Preventing Quartz Damage
- Wipe spills immediately before staining occurs
- Use cutting boards instead of chopping directly on surface
- Avoid abrasive cleansers and scouring pads
- Lift heavy objects instead of sliding across counter
- Use trivets and pot holders for hot items
- Reseal regularly to prevent stains from absorbing
- Diffuse sunlight exposure to prevent fading
- Repair minor chips and cracks as soon as possible
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you cut on quartz countertops?
No, it’s important to always use a cutting board on quartz surfaces. The abrasive action from knives can damage, dull, and scratch the surface over time.
Does quartz stain easily?
Quartz is non-porous and resistant to stains, but spills should still be cleaned promptly. Given time to set, some oily and pigmented substances can stain if not wiped up.
How heat resistant is a quartz countertop?
Quartz can withstand brief exposure to temperatures up to 212°F. However, repeated exposure to extreme heat from cookware can cause cracks or burns. Always use trivets and hot pads.
How durable are quartz countertops?
Quartz is very durable and resistant to scratches, chips, cracks, and etching. However, it’s not damage-proof and still requires some care. Avoid direct impacts and follow handling precautions.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Sealing isn’t mandatory but is recommended every 1-2 years. Penetrating sealers prevent stains from absorbing into the surface and simplify cleaning.
With some basic preventative maintenance and care, quartz countertops can stay looking pristine and avoid permanent damage. By practicing smart habits like using trivets, wiping spills quickly, avoiding abrasives, and resealing occasionally, you can easily keep quartz surfaces in impeccable shape for decades. Following the recommendations in this comprehensive guide will help protect your investment and maintain the beautiful, flawless quartz finish.