How to Remove Dried Paint from Quartz Countertops

Paint spills and splatters are common occurrences in any home. Though quartz countertops are touted for their durability, dried paint can be an unsightly mess on these surfaces. Removing dried paint from quartz calls for specific cleaning methods to avoid damaging the material. With some elbow grease and the right supplies, you can get rid of dried paint on quartz.

What is Quartz?

Before learning how to clean dried paint off quartz, it helps to understand what quartz countertops are made of. Quartz countertops are engineered stone slabs created from crushed quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz makes up over 90% of the material.

Unlike natural stone, quartz slabs are non-porous, so liquids don’t soak in. This makes them very stain-resistant. But their man-made nature also means quartz lacks the self-healing properties of natural stone. Any damage done is permanent.

Knowing how to safely clean quartz prevents avoidable damage. Let’s look at the steps for removing dried paint.

Step 1: Allow the Paint to Dry Completely

It’s tempting to attack a fresh paint spill immediately. But dried paint is actually easier to remove from quartz. So allow the paint to dry completely first.

  • This prevents the paint from spreading and staining a larger area.
  • Dried paint has shrunk and hardened, making it less likely to smear.
  • Scraping tools are safer on hardened paint.

Wait at least 24 hours for oil-based paints to cure. Water-based acrylics dry within an hour. Low humidity and good airflow help accelerate drying time.

Step 2: Scrape Off Any Paint Chips

Once dried, use a plastic putty knife or scraper to lift any loose paint chips and flakes off the countertop. Apply gentle pressure and work at an angle to avoid gouging the quartz.

  • Focus on removing the top layers first. Trying to dig out buried paint may damage the surface.
  • Dispose of paint chips promptly to avoid spreading them around.
  • Don’t use metal scrapers or abrasive pads as they could scratch the quartz.

Scrape off as much of the dried paint as possible. This prep work makes the cleaning step easier.

Step 3: Make a Cleaning Solution

With the bulk of the paint removed, it’s time to make a cleaning solution to dissolve the remaining residue.

Avoid commercial paint strippers or thinners. The harsh solvents in those products can dull and etch quartz. An effective homemade mix is:

Warm water
Dish soap
Baking soda

The ingredients:

  • Warm water helps dissolve the paint binders.
  • Dish soap cuts through grease in oil-based paints.
  • Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that lifts paint without scratching.

Mix a solution of:

  • 1 quart warm water
  • 1 tbsp dish soap
  • 2 tbsp baking soda

Stir thoroughly until the baking soda dissolves. Avoid extremely hot water as sudden temperature changes can damage quartz.

Step 4: Apply the Cleaning Solution

With your DIY paint cleaner mixed, apply it over the dried paint using a soft cloth or sponge. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.

  • The solution needs dwell time to loosen the paint residue.
  • Don’t let the mixture dry on the countertop. Keep the surface wet.
  • Use a soft brush to lightly scrub crusted bits after a few minutes.

The warmth and chemical action of the solution will soften the remaining dried paint.

Step 5: Wipe Away the Residue

After several minutes, wipe the countertop down with a fresh cloth dampened with clean water.

Use a microfiber cloth, sponge, or soft-bristle brush to remove all residue. Work in small sections for thorough cleaning.

  • Change rags frequently to prevent redeposition.
  • Take extra care on textured areas and intricate edging.
  • Repeat steps as needed for stubborn remnants.

Keep rinsing and wiping until no more paint comes up. Allow the quartz to air dry once clean.

Step 6: Use Mineral Spirits for Oil-Based Paint

If regular dish soap doesn’t cut through all the grease, try mineral spirits on oil-based paints.

Make an alternative cleaning solution with:

  • 1 quart warm water
  • 1⁄4 cup mineral spirits
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Mineral spirits help dissolve oil paints safely. But avoid acetone or xylene as they can damage quartz.

Wear gloves when using mineral spirits and work in a ventilated area. Handle as a combustible liquid.

Step 7: Inspect and Reseal Quartz

Once all cleaning is complete, carefully examine the quartz for any permanent damage the paint may have caused.

  • Look for signs of etching, dullness, and lost shine.
  • Feel for pits, scrapes, and changes in texture.

To help hide minor flaws and restore luster, reseal the quartz countertop:

  • Clean thoroughly with a stone-safe cleaner.
  • Apply a penetrating quartz sealer per product instructions.
  • Buff dry with a soft cloth for a glossy just-installed sheen.

Sealing fills microscopic pits that can harbor stains. It prevents further paint mishaps too. Reseal quartz every 1-2 years for protection.

Tips for Paint Prevention

Removing dried paint from quartz takes time. With some care, you can help prevent paint mishaps in the first place:

  • Keep paint cans in a tray or tub when open.
  • Cover nearby surfaces with drop cloths when painting.
  • Clean brushes in a sink instead of over countertops.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
  • Seal quartz regularly to repel stains.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Dried Paint

Certain cleaners and techniques can worsen paint damage on quartz:

  • Avoid oil-based paint removers or thinners.
  • No scraping with razor blades or metal tools.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach or alkaline cleaners.
  • Avoid spraying cleaners directly on vertical surfaces. Drips can trail and leave residue.
  • Don’t use excessive pressure or abrasives that could scratch.

Quartz countertops stand up well to regular cleaning. But beware of anything too abrasive or corrosive.

When to Call a Professional

For small dried paint spots you can tackle yourself, follow the steps outlined. But if a spilled paint can leaves paint coating large sections, consider calling in a pro.

Signs you may need professional help:

  • Paint drips down the sides or onto floors.
  • Spills cover over 50% of the surface.
  • Paint has dried for over 1 week.
  • Residue remains after several cleaning attempts.

With the right equipment and techniques, pros can remove even extensive paint damage without harming quartz.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does paint take to dry on quartz?

On quartz countertops, most paints dry within 24 hours. Oil-based paints may take up to 72 hours to fully cure. Low humidity, warm temperatures, and airflow shorten drying time.

  1. Can I use WD-40 to remove dried paint from quartz?

No, avoid WD-40. It can leave an oily residue. Instead, use dish soap and baking soda diluted in warm water for a residue-free clean.

  1. What removes dried latex paint?

For dried latex paint, make a solution of warm water, dish soap, and baking soda. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean. Repeat as needed for stubborn spots.

  1. How do you get rid of oil-based paint?

Use mineral spirits to help dissolve thick, dried oil paint. Make a solution of mineral spirits, warm water, and baking soda. Wipe the quartz clean with soft rags and plain water. Ensure proper ventilation when using mineral spirits.

  1. Can dried paint be removed from quartz?

Yes, dried paint can be removed from quartz countertops with the proper cleaning methods. Gently scrape off any paint chips. Then use a homemade solution of warm water, dish soap, and baking soda to dissolve remaining residue before rinsing.

  1. What happens if paint dries on quartz?

If paint dries on quartz, it can leave behind a stubborn stain. Dried paint bonds to the surface and resists rinsing away with water. Use a plastic scraper and cleaning solution specially formulated to dissolve paint residue without harming quartz.


Paint spills on quartz countertops can be vexing. But with some care and the right techniques, you can remove dried paint without damaging the durable surface:

  • Allow paint to dry completely before attempting removal.
  • Gently scrape away loose paint flakes with a plastic putty knife.
  • Make a DIY cleaning solution of warm water, dish soap, and baking soda.
  • Apply the cleaning mixture and let it sit before wiping away all residue.
  • Take care to avoid harsh chemicals or excessive pressure.
  • Reseal quartz once cleaned to renew protection.

With a bit of time and elbow grease, you can get quartz counters looking fresh again after accidental paint spills. Handle any paint mishaps promptly and carefully to keep your quartz pristine for years to come.