How to Remove Rust Stains from Quartz Countertop

Rust stains on quartz countertops can be unsightly and difficult to remove. However, with a little effort and the right techniques, these stains can be eliminated. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to remove rust stains from quartz countertops.

What Causes Rust Stains on Quartz?

Quartz countertops contain ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. While very durable, they can still be stained by rust over time. Common causes of rust stains on quartz include:

  • Iron pans or cookware resting on the surface
  • Rusty water from pipes containing iron
  • Iron-rich tap water dripping on the countertop
  • Using iron-based cleaners on the quartz
  • Outdoor furniture with rusty feet placed on top

Iron oxidizes when exposed to moisture and oxygen, causing the rust discoloration. Prompt removal is key before the stain sets into the porous quartz material.

Removing Light Rust Stains from Quartz

For light rust stains that are fresh, these DIY methods may lift the stains:

  • Baking Soda and Water Paste – Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Apply it directly on the stain and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub with a soft brush or sponge, then rinse. The alkaline baking soda helps dissolve the rust.
  • Lemon Juice – Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the stain, let sit for 3-5 minutes, then scrub with a soft cloth. The citric acid helps break down the rust.
  • White Vinegar – similarly, undiluted white vinegar applied to the stain for 3-5 minutes before scrubbing can help remove light stains.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Apply 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and let bubble on the stain for 2-3 minutes. Gently wipe away. The peroxide oxidizes the rust.
  • WD-40 – Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto the stain, let penetrate 3-5 minutes, then wipe clean with a soft cloth. The lubricant properties help dissolve rust deposits.
  • Bar Keeper’s Friend – Make a paste with this oxalic acid cleaner and rub it into the stained area using a soft cloth or brush. Rinse thoroughly after 5 minutes.

Always spot test cleaners on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t etch or discolor the quartz.

Eliminating Tough Rust Stains from Quartz

For stubborn rust stains or discoloration that have set into the quartz, stronger cleaners and scrubbing are required:

Cleaners for Heavy Rust Stains

  • Phosphoric Acid Cleaner – Used for concrete etching, this safely removes rust stains and mineral deposits from quartz. Apply with a bristle brush and let sit for 1-2 minutes.
  • ** oxalic acid** – Found in commercial rust removers, oxalic acid can lift tough stains. Use a product containing oxalic acid and follow label instructions carefully.
  • Quartz Countertop Cleaner – Specialty cleaners like Granite Gold and HG Calcium Lime Rust contain acids to remove rust stains on quartz.
  • Alkaline Cleaners – Mix alkaline cleaners like tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) or automatic dishwasher detergent with warm water. Scrub into stains and rinse thoroughly.

Scrubbing Tools

  • Soft Cloth – For mild scrubbing, use a microfiber cloth or soft dish rag. Fold into quarters for more pressure.
  • Plastic Scouring Pad – Light scrub stubborn stains with a plastic mesh scouring pad, such as Scotch-Brite. Avoid metal scouring pads.
  • Old Toothbrush – For crevices in textured quartz, scrub with an old toothbrush.
  • Nylon Bristle Brush – Use a cleaning brush with nylon bristles in circular motions to lift set-in stains.
  • Razor Blade Scraper – Hold at 45° angle to gently scrape off excess rust staining, being careful not to scratch the surface.

Tips for Safely Removing Tough Rust Stains

  • Test cleaners in an inconspicuous spot first to avoid damaging quartz sealers.
  • Dampen area before scrubbing to prevent abrasive dust.
  • Allow cleaner to sit on stain 1-5 minutes before scrubbing for maximum effectiveness.
  • When using spray cleaners, mist directly onto stain instead of spraying broadly.
  • Rinse thoroughly after cleaning; residues left behind could cause hazing.
  • For heavy stains, repeat process if needed. Multiple applications are often required.
  • Avoid using metal scouring pads or abrasive powders which may scratch.

With some persistence, even stubborn rust stains can be removed from quartz counters without damaging the surface when the right rust-removing cleaners and techniques are used. Be patient and use multiple applications if needed for smooth, stain-free quartz countertops again.

Maintaining a Rust-Free Quartz Countertop

Prevention is key to keeping quartz free of rust stains in the long run. Here are some tips:

  • Wipe up spills immediately, don’t let moisture sit.
  • Use coasters under bottles, pots and vases.
  • Avoid leaving iron cookware sitting directly on quartz.
  • Seal quartz every 1-2 years with a sealer made for engineered stone.
  • For heavy outdoor use, apply sealer yearly.
  • Use trivets or hot pads when placing hot pans on the quartz.
  • Keep quartz dry by fixing any dripping pipes or leaks.
  • Clean quartz regularly with a PH-neutral quartz cleaner.

With proper care and prompt treatment of any rust spots, it is possible to maintain the pristine, rust-free look of quartz counters for years. Follow these best practices for preventing stubborn stains in the first place.

Common Questions about Rust Stains on Quartz

Can I use CLR to remove rust from quartz countertops?

CLR (Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover) is generally considered safe for quartz when used according to label directions. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after use. Test a small area first.

What about using rust removers containing hydrofluoric acid?

Avoid rust stain removers with hydrofluoric acid on quartz, as they can etch this material. Phosphoric acid is a safer choice. Always spot test first.

Will a rust stain come back after removing it from quartz?

If the rusting source is eliminated and the quartz thoroughly cleaned, the stain should not come back. Maintain quartz properly to prevent new rust stains from forming.

Can I use Magic Erasers to remove rust stains from quartz?

Yes, Magic Erasers are generally fine for light rust stains on quartz since they are slightly abrasive but not overly harsh. Dampen the eraser first before gently rubbing stains.

How can I get rust stains out of the small pores in my quartz?

For textured quartz, use a soft nylon bristle brush and a rust remover cleaner to work into the grooves and lift stains from small pores and crevices.


Rust stains can be an eyesore on beautiful quartz countertops, but they don’t have to be permanent. With the proper techniques and cleaners, even tough set-in rust spots on quartz can be removed. Quick action on fresh stains is always best. Maintain quartz counters properly by sealing and cleaning routinely to prevent future rust marks. With some effort, it is possible to restore the immaculate look of quartz and avoid difficult rust stains in the future.