How to Remove Watermarks from Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are popular in modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their stylish appearance and durability. However, they can develop watermarks over time which detract from their beauty. Removing these unsightly watermarks takes some effort but is doable with the right techniques.

What Causes Watermarks on Quartz?

Watermarks on quartz countertops have a few potential causes:

  • Moisture from spills, condensation or cleaning – Quartz is porous so liquid can seep in and leave a mark as it dries.
  • Heat damage – Exposing quartz to excessive heat from hot pans, etc can damage the surface and create discoloration.
  • Improper cleaning – Harsh cleaners like bleach can discolor quartz and leave behind stains.
  • Etching – Acidic substances like citrus, vinegar, etc can eat away the surface over time and create etched marks.
  • Hard water deposits – Mineral content in water leaves behind a residue when dried.
  • Sun exposure – UV rays can gradually cause discoloration.

So the key is to prevent watermarks by sealing quartz, avoiding excess heat and chemicals, cleaning spills promptly and using the right products. But if stains still occur, there are ways to remove them.

Cleaning vs Etching on Quartz Countertops

It’s important to distinguish between surface stains from spills/grime which can be cleaned, versus etched marks which permanently damage the stone.

Cleaning involves removing dirt, debris grease etc from the surface. This can usually be done without harming quartz.

Etching is actual erosion of the stone surface from exposure to acids or alkaline. This eats away a layer of the quartz leaving a dull, frosted appearance. Etching requires more intensive restoration efforts.

Some signs of etching vs cleaning issues:

  • Cleaning stains will come off if rubbed with a damp cloth. Etched marks remain.
  • Marks from cleaning are on the very surface. Etched marks go deeper and have irregular dull patches.
  • Cleaning issues cause uniform discoloration. Etching creates random dull spots.
  • Water droplets on etched quartz lose their rounded shape and spread out. On unaffected quartz, droplets remain round.

So inspect closely to determine if you’re dealing with a cleaning stain or an etched mark. The removal techniques will differ.

How to Remove Cleaning-Related Watermarks from Quartz

For simple cleaning stains, these DIY methods often work:

1. Try a Gentle Cleaning Solution

Mix a mild non-abrasive cleaner like dish soap, warm water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on the marks and let sit briefly before wiping with a soft cloth. The acidity in vinegar can help dissolve grime while the soap cuts through grease. Avoid harsh cleaners.

2. Baking Soda Paste

Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply to the stains with a soft cloth or sponge. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that lifts staining.

3. Magic Eraser

Gently rub the area with a damp melamine foam magic eraser. This can remove residue from the quartz pores. Be careful not to scrub too hard.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can break down and lift many household stains. Dip a soft cloth in peroxide and dab on marks. Allow to sit before wiping away.

5. Bleach Pen

Use a specialized bleach pen designed for quartz and scrape off any discoloration. Avoid using undiluted household bleach.

6. Mineral Oil

For water rings, apply a small amount of mineral oil and massage into the mark. Let sit overnight then wipe away residue in the morning. The oil will draw out moisture.

7. Heat

For dried up spills, try carefully applying localized heat with a hair dryer to loosen debris before wiping away with a damp cloth.

Removing Etched Water Spots from Quartz

If gentle DIY methods don’t remove the water stains, they are likely etched into the quartz. This requires a more intensive restoration process:

Use a Quartz Polishing Kit

Specialized quartz polishing kits contain abrasives and etching creams designed to physically remove the damaged layer of stone. Follow kit instructions carefully. This labor-intensive process takes practice to master.

Professional Resurfacing/Sanding

Have a trained stone pro use a sequence of sanding pads – from coarse to fine – to grind away the etched layer of quartz. They’ll then re-polish the surface to a smooth shine. This requires expertise to get an even finish.

Re-laminating Quartz Surface

For extensive etching, the quartz layer can be removed and a new layer applied. This avoids replacing the whole countertop. A pro will grind down and re-adhere fresh quartz. Seams may be visible.

Full Quartz Countertop Replacement

If damage is over a large area, a full quartz countertop replacement may be best. This is expensive but gives you a fresh start. Just take care to prevent etching the new surface.

Tips to Prevent Watermarks on Quartz

Prevention is key to keeping quartz pristine and watermark-free. Here are some tips:

  • Seal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for stone. This prevents moisture penetration.
  • Immediately wipe up spills, especially acidic substances like juice, alcohol, vinegar, etc.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to excessive heat. Always use trivets for hot pans.
  • Clean with pH neutral stone cleaners, not harsh chemicals.
  • Use a squeegee to remove standing water when cleaning.
  • Don’t let cleansing solutions sit too long before wiping dry.
  • Buff quartz regularly with a soft cloth to maintain the glossy finish.
  • Re-polish quartz yearly with a specialized stone polish to fill in micro-scratches.

FAQs About Removing Water Stains from Quartz

How do you get water stains out of a quartz countertop?

Try a baking soda paste, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, magic eraser or heat. For etched marks, use a polishing kit, professional sanding or re-lamination. Preventing moisture and heat damage is best.

Why does my quartz countertop get water spots?

Water spots form because quartz is somewhat porous. Spills allow moisture to seep in, leaving a mark when dried. Hard water also leaves mineral deposits. Heat and chemicals can also discolor.

Can I use Bar Keepers Friend on quartz?

Yes, Bar Keepers Friend is generally considered safe for quartz since it contains oxalic acid to help remove stains. But test first, use only a small amount and rinse thoroughly after cleaning. Don’t use it too frequently.

What is the best homemade cleaner for quartz countertops?

Mix dish soap, warm water and vinegar for a good DIY quartz cleaner. Baking soda can also be effective by making a paste. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasives.

How do you deep clean a quartz countertop?

Use a mix of mild soap and warm water. For a deep clean, add some vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide and apply with a soft cloth, scrubbing gently. Rinse thoroughly. Too much pressure or harsh chemicals can damage quartz.

How do you shine up a quartz countertop?

Wipe it down regularly with a soft, damp cloth to maintain shine. Once yearly, use a quartz-specific polishing cream to buff out scratches and restore gloss. Avoid wax or treatments not formulated for quartz.

Can quartz countertops stain permanently?

Cleaning stains can usually be removed with the right techniques. But etching from exposure to excessive heat and acids can permanently damage quartz. Etched spots cannot be cleaned away, only removed by sanding or replacing the surface.


Watermarks on quartz countertops are annoying but often avoidable. Be sure to seal and care for your quartz properly by prompt cleaning of spills and avoiding heat/chemical damage. For existing water stains, use gentle cleaners and removal methods to protect the integrity of the quartz. Prevent future stains by sealing and re-polishing periodically. With some diligence, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new.