Quartz countertops are popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can get stained over time with spills and daily wear and tear. Yellow stains on quartz countertops are often caused by materials like turmeric, curry, mustard, or certain household cleaners. The good news is that it is possible to remove these stubborn yellow stains from quartz surfaces with some cleaning know-how and elbow grease.
What Causes Yellow Stains on Quartz Countertops?
Turmeric – Turmeric contains a vibrant yellow pigment called curcumin that can easily stain surfaces. The turmeric powder often used in Indian cooking is especially prone to leaving behind a yellow residue if left on the counter.
Curry powder – Curry powder contains turmeric, so curries and curry pastes can also leave yellow stains.
Mustard – Mustard contains tumeric as an ingredient which causes its vibrant yellow color. Mustard stains are very common on quartz counters.
Citrus fruits – Acidic citrus juices like lemon, lime, and orange may etch or discolor quartz over time, leaving behind a fading yellow stain.
Oil-based stains – Oil-based products like canola oil may oxidize and turn yellowish if left on the surface.
Cleaning products – Some cleaning products like bleach or hydrogen peroxide can discolor quartz if left to sit. Ammonia in glass cleaners can also etch the surface.
Sun exposure – Direct ultraviolet rays combined with staining substances can cause yellow discoloration over time.
Everyday wear and tear – General use in the kitchen leads to a gradual buildup of stains on quartz that create a yellowish patina.
How to Remove Yellow Stains from Quartz Countertops
Removing stubborn yellow stains from quartz requires using the right cleaning solutions and techniques tailored to the type of stain. Here are the most effective methods:
Clean with Mild Dish Soap and Baking Soda
For light stains, mix a few drops of mild dish soap like Dawn into a paste with baking soda. Generously apply the mixture to the stained area using a soft cloth or sponge. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing with light to moderate pressure. The abrasiveness of the baking soda combined with the degreasing action of the detergent will help lift many yellow stains without damaging the quartz finish. Rinse well and dry with a clean towel.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide Cream Cleanser
For tougher oil-based stains, apply a hydrogen peroxide cleanser directly on the stain and let sit for up to an hour before wiping away. The bubbling action will help break down and dissolve yellow residues. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry the area afterwards.
Make a Poultice with Flour and Hydrogen Peroxide
For stubborn yellow set-in stains, create a poultice by mixing flour and hydrogen peroxide into a thick paste. Spread an even 1⁄4 inch layer of the poultice over the stained area, then cover with plastic wrap. Let the poultice work for 24 hours before removing and rinsing well. The poultice will draw out deep stains.
Try a Lime and Salt Paste
For eliminating citrus yellow stains, make a paste with equal parts lime juice and table salt. Apply it to the stain, allow to sit for an hour, then scrub and rinse clean. The citric acid in the lime will dissolve the stain, while the salt provides light abrasion.
Use Undiluted White Vinegar
White vinegar is an effective cleaning agent for removing many yellow stains on quartz. Simply pour undiluted white vinegar directly on the stain and let sit for up to an hour. The acetic acid in vinegar will break down staining residues. Scrub with a soft brush and rinse thoroughly after treatment.
Make a Baking Soda and Water Paste
For turmeric stains, make a paste using 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Spread the paste thickly over the stained area and let sit overnight. The next day, scrub the paste with a soft bristle brush before rinsing. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that lifts turmeric without damaging the finish.
Try a Magnesium Oxide Paste
Sensitive stains can be removed with a magnesium oxide paste mixed with water into a spreadable consistency. Apply the paste to the stain for 8 hours or overnight before scrubbing and rinsing. Magnesium oxide thoroughly breaks down staining molecules.
Use a Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia Mix
For eliminating very stubborn oil-based yellow stains, carefully mix 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, 1 part ammonia, and 1 part water. Apply the solution to the stain and let sit for up to an hour. Rinse thoroughly. Never mix ammonia and bleach solutions.
Scrub with a Scotch-Brite Pad
For superficial yellow discoloration, use a Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge to gently rub the stain. The mild abrasiveness will remove staining residues without damaging the quartz. Avoid using metal abrasive pads.
Try a Chlorine Bleach Gel Cleaner
Chlorine bleach gel cleansers are effective at removing stubborn yellow stains without damaging the quartz sealant. Spot test first and limit contact time to 5 minutes. Rinse surfaces thoroughly after bleaching.
Buff with a Diamond Polishing Pad
For etched orstubborn stains, use a handheld polisher with a diamond polishing pad and quartz polish to gently buff the stained area. This will remove a thin layer of discolored quartz. Avoid over-polishing which can damage the surface.
Tips for Preventing Yellow Staining on Quartz Countertops
Preventing stains in the first place will save the hassle of having to remove them. Here are some handy tips:
- Wipe up spills immediately, especially oil, mustard and turmeric. Don’t let them sit.
- Always use a cutting board for food prep. Never cut directly on the counter.
- Clean quartz regularly with a quartz-safe cleaner, not just water.
- Avoid using abrasive cleansers or scrub pads when cleaning.
- Use coasters under glasses and trivets under hot pans.
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years with a quartz sealer.
- Don’t let cleaning solutions like bleach sit on the surface for prolonged periods.
- Work quickly when using citrus juices in cooking to avoid prolonged contact.
- Keep quartz away from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration over time.
FAQs About Removing Yellow Stains from Quartz
Can I use bleach to remove yellow stains from quartz?
Yes, you can use chlorine bleach cleansers sparingly to remove stubborn yellow stains from quartz. Limit contact time to 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly to avoid damaging the finish. Never mix bleach and ammonia products.
What about using baking soda and vinegar together?
Avoid mixing baking soda and vinegar, as this combination is abrasive and acidic enough to etch quartz. Use baking soda alone with water for best results. Vinegar should also be used alone as a stain remover for quartz.
How can I get mustard stains out of my quartz countertop?
For mustard stains, make a paste of baking soda and dish soap. Apply to the stain and let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. The baking soda will lift the turmeric in the mustard, while the soap cuts through the oil.
Will lemon juice remove yellow stains from my quartz counter?
Lemon juice can help eliminate some yellow stains, but prolonged contact can etch quartz. Mix equal parts lemon juice and salt into a paste, apply for an hour, then scrub and rinse. Don’t let citrus juices sit for too long.
What is the best way to remove turmeric stains from quartz?
For turmeric stains, make a thick paste using 3 parts baking soda and 1 part warm water. Apply the paste and let sit overnight before scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly. Baking soda effectively lifts turmeric without damaging quartz.
How can I get curry stain out of my quartz countertop?
Since curry contains turmeric, use the same method as for turmeric stains. Make a baking soda paste and let sit overnight before scrubbing and rinsing. Be sure to wipe up curry spills immediately to prevent setting into the quartz.
What household items can I use to clean yellow stains off my quartz?
For household stain removal, try baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap, ammonia, bleach gel cleaner, or a Scotch-Brite pad. Avoid using metal scouring pads or abrasive cleansers which can damage the finish.
Yellow staining on quartz countertops is an annoying but common problem stemming from everyday use, spills, and cleaning mishaps. With the right techniques, supplies, and a bit of elbow grease, these stubborn stains can be removed. Mild abrasives like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and lemon work well to gently lift stains without harming the quartz surface. For best results, treat stains quickly and re-seal quartz regularly. With some diligence and preventative care, your quartz countertop can stay looking like new for years to come.