What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz provides strength and durability, while the resins bind the material together. Quartz is non-porous, so it resists staining and is easy to keep clean. It’s also scratch resistant and heat tolerant.
Benefits of Disinfecting Quartz
- Kills harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and Staph that can cause illnesses
- Prevents the spread of viral infections like flu and cold viruses
- Removes odors and stale food smells
- Keeps countertops hygienic and safe for food prep
- Maintains the clean, like-new look of quartz
How to Disinfect Quartz Countertops
1. Remove Surface Clutter
Before disinfecting, remove everything from the countertop including appliances, cutting boards, dishes, rags, etc. This allows you to access and clean the entire surface area.
2. Wash with Soap and Water
Use a soft sponge or cloth to wash quartz with warm water and mild dish soap. Scrub gently to lift up any dried on spills or debris. Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
3. Disinfect with a Sanitizing Solution
There are a few safe options for sanitizing quartz:
- White vinegar – Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray onto the surface and let sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping clean with a soft cloth. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant.
- Hydrogen peroxide – Use a 3% solution, spray onto the quartz and let sit for 1 minute before wiping clean.
- Tea tree oil – Add 20 drops of tea tree essential oil to a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of water. Spray and wipe as desired. Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties.
- Quaternary ammonium – Look for disinfectant wipes and sprays made for stone surfaces that contain quaternary ammonium, also called “quats”. Benzalkonium chloride is an example.
- Bleach solutions – Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 gallon of water. Apply with a clean cloth and let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse any bleach residue thoroughly after disinfecting.
4. Air Dry and Replace Items
It’s important to let quartz air dry completely rather than wiping dry. This allows any remaining sanitizing solution to continue working. Once dry, replace appliances, dishes and other items.
Tips for Safely Disinfecting Quartz
- Test cleaners on a small area first to check for any discoloration or damage.
- Avoid abrasive scouring pads and powders which can scratch.
- Don’t use vinegar and bleach together – this creates harmful fumes.
- Limit bleach use, as it can damage quartz seams or dull the surface over time.
- Check with the manufacturer’s care guide for any specific instructions.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years to fill in scratches and grooves where bacteria can hide.
Maintaining Quartz Countertops
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent stains.
- Rinse food prep areas frequently with water.
- Use cutting boards to avoid knife scratches.
- Clean quartz regularly with a quartz-safe soap and water.
- Disinfect 1-2 times per week or more frequently with heavy use.
- Avoid direct heat exposure from pots and pans. Use trivets.
- Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for quartz.
Disinfecting quartz countertops regularly eliminates bacteria, viruses and odors to maintain a sanitary food prep and eating area. Always use a gentle quartz-safe cleaning approach. Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, quaternary ammonium and diluted bleach can all safely sanitize quartz surfaces. Be sure to rinse completely after cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s care recommendations for your specific quartz material. With proper care and frequent disinfecting, quartz countertops will stay looking like new for years.
How to Disinfect Quartz Countertops After Raw Meat or Poultry
Raw meat, poultry, and their juices can harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli. These can spread to countertops, utensils, and ready-to-eat foods, causing illness. Proper disinfection after working with raw meat and poultry is crucial. Here are the steps for safely disinfecting quartz countertops:
Remove Excess Debris
First, use paper towels to wipe up any meat juices, drippings or residue left on the quartz. It’s important to remove excess organic matter which can decrease the effectiveness of disinfectants.
Wash with Soapy Water
Wash the quartz countertop thoroughly with warm water and dish soap using a clean sponge or cloth. Pay extra attention to corners, cracks and seams where bacteria can linger.
Rinse and Dry
Rinse the quartz well with clean water to remove all soapy residue. Wipe the surface completely dry using fresh paper towels.
Spray or wipe a sanitizing disinfectant over the entire surface area. Make sure to use a disinfectant designated as safe for quartz. Let the disinfectant sit for the product’s recommended contact time.
Vinegar Disinfecting Solution
An effective option is a mix of one part white vinegar to one part water. Spray or wipe this over the surface. Allow the vinegar solution to sit for at least 5 minutes before a final rinse. Vinegar is a strong disinfectant that kills 99% of bacteria and viruses.
Rinse and Dry Again
After the disinfectant has sat, rinse the countertops again with fresh water and dry completely with clean towels. This removes any chemical residue.
Sanitize Any Utensils
Be sure to also wash and disinfect any cutting boards, knives, sponges and countertop appliances that touched the raw meat. This prevents cross-contamination.
Remove Dish Towels
Launder any dish towels that were used in hot water, or switch to a fresh towel after working with raw meats.
Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw poultry or meat. This prevents spreading bacteria to other surfaces.
Take Out the Trash
Dispose of any paper towels or other waste in a lined trash can. Take the trash out promptly to avoid juices contaminating the bin.
Thoroughly disinfecting quartz countertops, utensils and hands after contact with raw meat is important to prevent the spread of potentially hazardous bacteria. Be sure to use a disinfectant designed for use on quartz.
How to Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are resistant to stains, but spills do happen. Certain materials like wine, oil, and grease can leave behind stubborn marks if not cleaned promptly. Here are some tips for removing stains from quartz countertops:
Types of Stains on Quartz
- Dried food stains – Spaghetti sauce, coffee, tea, juice
- Oily stains – Grease, cooking oils, butter, cosmetics
- Ink stains – Permanent markers, pens
- Hard water spots – Mineral deposits from water
- Rust stains – Metal pans, utensils
- Mold/mildew stains – Typically in corners or edges
- Dish soap and water
- Baking soda or hydrogen peroxide paste
- White vinegar
- Soft cloth, sponge, or non-abrasive scrub brush
- Microfiber cloth
- Clean towel
- Rubbing alcohol (for ink)
- Stone polish or mineral spirits (for hard water spots)
- Mix a paste of baking soda and water or hydrogen peroxide and water. Apply to the stain and let sit for 15-30 minutes.
- Scrub gently with a soft cloth, sponge, or brush. Avoid abrasive scrubbers.
- Rinse paste off with warm water and dry completely with a towel.
- For remaining stains, apply a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Let sit 5 minutes then rinse.
- For stubborn oil stains, spray with an all-purpose cleaner before scrubbing.
- Use a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol for ink stains. Mineral spirits remove hard water deposits.
- Avoid bleach, citrus, or corrosive cleaners which can etch quartz. Check cleaner labels.
- For stains around edges, use an old toothbrush and baking soda paste scrub.
- Rinse repeatedly and dry thoroughly after cleaning.
With the proper cleaning methods, most stains can be removed from quartz surfaces. For stubborn stains, seek help from a professional stone cleaner. Be sure to clean up spills when they first occur to prevent permanent damage.
How to Seal Quartz Countertops
Sealing quartz countertops helps protect them by preventing stains, damage from spills, and growth of bacteria in grout lines and etched areas. Here are some tips on how to properly seal quartz countertops:
Clean Before Sealing
Quartz should be thoroughly cleaned before applying any sealer. Use a granite cleaner and rinse well to remove all residues. Allow the quartz to fully dry before sealing.
Choose a Quartz Sealer
Look for a sealer specifically designed for use on engineered stone quartz surfaces. Stone sealers are commonly available at hardware and home improvement stores.
Check Sealer Instructions
Read the product directions carefully. Some sealers require shaking or mixing first. Apply with a soft lint-free cloth or foam applicator, avoiding lint particles.
Seal Small Sections
Apply sealer to one 3×3 foot section at a time. Use overlapping strokes to evenly coat the area. Completely wipe off excess sealer with a dry cloth before moving to the next section.
Wait 15-20 Minutes Between Coats
Multiple thin coats of sealer provide better protection than one thick coat. Wait the product’s recommended time before applying the next coat. Allow the final coat to soak in for at least an hour.
It takes 24-72 hours for most quartz sealers to completely cure. Avoid spills and heavy cleaning during this time. The countertops can be used lightly after 6-12 hours of curing time.
Quartz countertops should be resealed every 1 to 2 years on average depending on use. High traffic areas may need more frequent resealing.
Enhance Regular Cleaning
Sealing is not a replacement for routine cleaning. Continue to clean quartz regularly with a stone-safe cleaner and mild dish soap and water.
Properly sealing quartz countertops fills in pores, prevents staining and damage from spills, and makes cleaning easier. Be sure to use a sealer made specifically for quartz and allow plenty of curing time after application.
How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Quartz Countertops
Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that get deposited on surfaces as water evaporates. Over time these mineral deposits build up, leaving unsightly hard water stains on quartz countertops. Here is how to safely remove them.
- Distilled white vinegar
- Soft clean cloths
- Microfiber towel
- Clean bucket or spray bottle
- Paper towels
- Poultice powder or baking soda
- Stone polish or mineral spirits
- Mix equal parts vinegar and water and wipe onto stains. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
- Make a paste with poultice powder or baking soda and water. Apply paste to the stains.
- Allow the paste to dry completely, about 24 hours. Dampen the paste and scrub with a soft brush.
- Rinse thoroughly and wipe clean using a microfiber towel. Repeat if needed.
- For stubborn deposits, use a mineral spirits or stone polish specially formulated for quartz. Test first.
- Wipe the excess off immediately using paper towels before the polish dries. Rinse.
- Buff dry using a microfiber cloth once the surface is fully dry.
- Prevent hard water stains by wiping up spills quickly and sealing quartz regularly.
With some gentle abrasion and moisture, hardened mineral deposits can be lifted from quartz surfaces. Take care not to damage the finish. Preventing hard water stains through sealing and quick cleanup is ideal.
How to Remove Etch Marks From Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are resistant to most damages, but acidic substances like juice, vinegar or alcohol can etch the surface over time. Etch marks look like dull spots or rings. Here’s how to remove etching damage from quartz:
Minor etching often appears as a haze or dull spot. Deep etching results in light scratches or worn areas. Inspect under lighting to determine the depth.
- Baking soda and water paste
- Soft cloth, sponge or scrub brush
- pH-neutral stone cleaner
- Make a paste of baking soda and water. Spread onto etch marks and allow to dry completely.
- Dampen baking soda paste and gently scrub etches using a soft cloth or brush. Rinse.
- For deeper etches, use a pH-balanced stone cleaner formulated for quartz. Test on a small area first.
- Work the cleaner into etches with a sponge or cloth. Rinse thoroughly.
- For severe etching, you may need to sand the area using 400+ grit sandpaper. Avoid over-sanding.
- Rinse away all sanding residue. Use a cheesecloth to rub on stone polish and buff etches.
- Prevent future etching by using coasters, trivets and sealants. Wipe up spills quickly.
With prompt care, most etching damage on quartz can be minimized. But deep etching may require professional refinishing. Be sure to seal and avoid exposing quartz to acids.
How to Remove Oil Stains From Quartz Countertops
Oils from foods, lotions and other sources can soak into quartz and leave behind dark, greasy stains. Oil stains require a bit more effort to remove from the nonporous surface, but can be lifted using these methods:
Blot Up Excess Oil
First step is to blot as much of the oil as possible using paper towels or a clean rag. Try not to rub it in further.
Dawn Dish Soap
Apply a small amount of Dawn directly on the oil stain. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes. The surfactants in Dawn help break up grease.
Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Spread onto the stain, allow to dry completely, then gently scrub away. Rinse thoroughly. The baking soda will help lift oil.
An alternative is to make a paste with 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. Let it sit on the stain for 30 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. Be careful not to get this on skin as it can bleach.
Rice Flour Poultice
For a deep-cleaning poultice, mix rice flour with enough water to form a spreadable paste. Apply over the stain and allow to dry for 24 hours, then rinse clean.
Cleaner Designed for Stone
Use a specially formulated cleaner like diluted bleach, ammonia or mineral spirits. Test on a small inconspicuous area first and rinse thoroughly.
Prevent Future Stains
Blot up spills quickly. Avoid using oils directly on quartz. Seal the surface regularly to make cleaning easier.
With some cleaning elbow grease, oil stains can usually be removed from quartz surfaces. Be patient and allow solvents or abrasives time to work before rinsing the area clean.
FAQs About Disinfecting Quartz Countertops
Is it necessary to disinfect quartz countertops?
Yes, it is recommended to periodically disinfect quartz countertops, especially after food prep, to kill harmful bacteria that can cause illnesses. Quartz can harbor bacteria just like any other hard surface.
How often should quartz countertops be disinfected?
Disinfect quartz at least once per week, or more frequently if you prep a lot of raw meat or have little kids. High traffic kitchen areas may need disinfecting every 2-3 days for cleanliness.
What is the best disinfectant for quartz?
Look for disinfecting products specifically formulated for stone/quartz. Simple DIY options include white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, or diluted bleach solutions. Avoid anything too corrosive or abrasive.
Is rubbing alcohol safe for disinfecting quartz?
Yes, rubbing alcohol is generally considered a mild disinfectant safe to use on quartz surfaces. Make sure to dilute it 50/50 with water and thoroughly rinse after letting it sit for 5 minutes.