Is Quartz Countertop Food Safe?

Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz offers an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance alternative to natural stone and other countertop materials.

However, some homeowners may have concerns about the safety of quartz countertops, especially when it comes to food preparation. The good news is that quartz countertops are considered very safe for food contact when properly sealed and cared for.

What Makes Quartz Countertops Food Safe?

There are a few key factors that make quartz countertops food safe:

Non-Porous Material

Quartz is an engineered stone made from ground quartz crystals, which are non-porous. This means that quartz does not absorb liquids or allow bacteria to penetrate the surface. marble, granite, and other natural stones are more porous, increasing the risk of bacteria growth. The non-porous nature of quartz helps prevent cross-contamination and makes quartz countertops very hygienic.

Does Not Stain Easily

Quartz is incredibly stain-resistant and does not easily absorb pigments from spills like some other countertop materials can. Foods and beverages like wine, coffee, and tomato sauce can leave permanent stains on surfaces like marble. However, quartz countertops are engineered to resist stains, making them ideal for busy kitchens prone to spills and messes.

Resists Scratches and Damage

Quartz countertops are very hard and scratch-resistant. Everyday wear and tear from cutting, chopping, and sliding pots and pans is no match for quartz. This durability prevents grooves, chips, and scratches from forming where bacteria could grow.

Non-Toxic and Inert

Quartz surfaces are made from natural quartz crystals bound with food-safe resins. They do not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or formaldehyde. This makes quartz countertops non-toxic and chemically inert. They will not react with or leach chemicals into food during contact.

NSF/ANSI 51 Certified

Many major quartz countertop brands have achieved NSF/ANSI 51 certification. This means that independent testing has verified that quartz countertops meet strict standards for food safety and sanitation. Certification provides added assurance that quartz surfaces are hygienic for food prep.

Proper Care for Food Safety

While quartz countertops are designed to be food-safe, proper care and maintenance are still important:

  • Seal and reseal surfaces – Quartz should be sealed once a year to prevent staining and bacterial growth in any microscopic pores. Timely resealing ensures an impermeable barrier.
  • Avoid exposing to extreme heat – Direct high heat can damage the resin in quartz. Always use trivets or hot pads when placing hot pans on the surface.
  • Clean spills promptly – Don’t allow spills to set and harden on the surface. Clean quartz with mild soap and water.
  • Sanitize regularly – Use a sanitizing stone cleaner or disinfectant wipe to kill germs.
  • Repair cracks or damage – Chips, cracks, or weak grout lines can become hygiene issues. Fix any damage right away.

Following the manufacturer’s care instructions is key to keeping quartz countertops in their safest and most hygienic condition.

Is Quartz Safer Than Granite or Marble for Food Prep?

Quartz is generally regarded as safer than natural stone surfaces like granite or marble because it is non-porous and does not require regular sealing. Here’s how quartz compares:


  • Non-porous – does not absorb liquids or harbor bacteria
  • Does not require sealing
  • Resists staining from foods and liquids
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Can be sanitized with disinfectants


  • Slightly porous and requires regular sealing
  • Can stain from oil, wine, tomatoes, etc.
  • Tricky to sanitize as bleach can damage sealant
  • Can develop cracks and pits over time


  • Very porous and stains easily
  • Bacteria can penetrate pores if not sealed properly
  • Etching can occur from acidic foods
  • Not as hard and scratch-resistant as quartz

The non-porous property of quartz makes it the safest choice if minimizing bacterial growth is a top priority. However, properly sealed and maintained granite and marble can also be used hygienically.

Is Quartz Safe for Food Prep with Raw Meat, Chicken, and Fish?

Quartz offers an excellent food-safe surface for handling and prepping raw proteins like meat, poultry, and fish. Its non-porous quality prevents bacterial penetration, while the hardness resists scratching even from sharp knives. Here are some tips for safe raw food handling on quartz:

  • Always use a separate cutting board or prep surface for raw meats. Never cut directly on the countertop.
  • Clean up meat juices, blood, or drippings immediately to avoid staining.
  • Sanitize the surrounding countertop area with a disinfecting cleaner after working with raw meat.
  • Use a clean cutting board and utensils after prep to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Allow countertops to dry completely after cleaning.
  • Avoid leaving raw proteins on countertops during thawing or marinating.

With proper precautions, quartz countertops provide a hygienic, non-porous surface for all types of food prep.

How Does Heat Impact the Safety of Quartz?

While quartz countertops can withstand moderate heat from standard cooking, excessive direct high heat over an extended time can potentially compromise the resin binders. This could make the surface more prone to staining, damage, and bacterial growth long-term. Here are some tips on using heat safely with quartz:

  • Always use hot pads or trivets when placing hot pots, pans, bakeware, etc. on quartz.
  • Don’t leave appliances like crockpots, griddles, or kettles on the counter while hot.
  • Avoid exposing the same area to high direct heat day after day. Vary cooking zones.
  • Don’t put hot hair tools, electronics, or other heat-generating items directly on quartz.
  • Use a cutting board for chopping after cooking instead of cutting directly on quartz.
  • Don’t place quartz near stoves, ovens, or toaster ovens if possible.

With reasonable care, quartz can withstand typical cooking heat. But avoiding excessive direct high heat helps maintain its integrity and food safety.

Is It Safe to Prepare Foods with Strong Pigments on Quartz?

Foods and beverages with deeply colored pigments like turmeric, berries, tomato sauce, and red wine will not permanently stain or compromise the safety of quartz surfaces. However, the pigments may temporarily discolor the surface. Here are some tips for working with staining foods:

  • Clean up pigmented spills as soon as possible using a gentle cleaner. Don’t let stains set.
  • Use a cutting board for foods prone to “weeping” juices, like berries.
  • For tomato-based recipes, prep tomatoes first before other ingredients to avoid splattering.
  • When possible, transfer strongly pigmented foods from prep bowls to cookware rather than mixing directly on quartz.
  • Avoid long marinating times directly on quartz. Use containers instead.
  • If stains persist after cleaning, use a mildly abrasive quartz-safe cleaner.

With prompt cleanup, even stubborn pigments will not permeate sealed quartz or pose any food safety risks.

Can You Cut Meat, Chicken, and Fish Directly on Quartz?

It’s not recommended to cut raw proteins directly on quartz countertops. A cutting board should always be used for the following reasons:

  • Quartz can dull knife blades faster than a wooden or plastic cutting board.
  • Knife marks and slicing scratches can more easily damage quartz compared to a board.
  • Juices are contained on a board, preventing drips and splatters on quartz.
  • Allows the use of different boards for meat vs. produce to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Cutting boards are easier to pick up and bring to the sink or dishwasher for cleaning.
  • Provides an extra layer of protection from bacterial contamination.

While quartz itself won’t harbor bacteria from meat juices, a cutting board provides the best line of defense for food safety and prevents unnecessary wear and tear.

Can You Prepare Sushi Rice and Work with Dough on Quartz?

Quartz countertops provide a very suitable non-porous surface for preparing foods like sushi rice and kneading dough. Here are some tips:

Sushi Rice

  • Use a tight-fitting lid during cooking to avoid boil-overs staining quartz.
  • Let rice cool before molding on countertop to avoid damaging heat.
  • Clean up any vinegar spills quickly as acid can etch quartz.
  • Avoid prolonged contact between rice and quartz past prep time.

Bread Dough

  • Lightly flour the work surface to keep dough from sticking.
  • Opt for a cool quartz surface instead of warm marble or granite.
  • Use a pastry scraper to contain flour and lift dough cleanly.
  • Avoid letting active dough rise directly on quartz for long periods.

With some care taken, quartz offers an ideal prep space for rice, dough, and other frequently handled foods requiring stable temperature and moisture resistance.

Does Quartz Harbor Mold or Mildew Growth?

Properly sealed and cared for quartz resists mold or mildew growth very well. Mold requires porous, damp surfaces to take hold and spread. However, quartz’s non-porous quality leaves nowhere for mold to penetrate. To further discourage mold:

  • Always keep quartz dry. Blot up spills and splashes promptly.
  • Increase kitchen ventilation and airflow during cooking.
  • Clean quartz frequently with diluted bleach or other sanitizers.
  • Avoid contact with wet sponges, cloths, and standing water.
  • Reseal quartz annually to maintain impermeability.
  • Immediately repair any cracks, chips, or damage.

With routine cleaning and sealing, mold and mildew should never be an issue on quartz surfaces. Any growth that does occur can be safely sanitized away.

Can You Prepare Kombucha on Quartz?

Fermenting kombucha involves ingredients that can potentially stain light colored quartz, like tea and fruit juices. However, kombucha can be safely brewed on quartz by taking these precautions:

  • Use a darker quartz variety like black, chocolate brown, or forest green.
  • Brew in glass jars instead of directly on quartz.
  • If brewing directly on quartz, place jars on trays or trivets to contain drips.
  • Clean up spills, drips, or splashes right away.
  • Avoid prolonged fermentation times directly on countertop.
  • Use rubberized jar openers to avoid twisting on quartz.

With care taken to avoid stains, quartz offers a food-safe surface for the extended brewing times required for kombucha. Be sure to sanitize regularly to inhibit mold.

Does Acidic Foods Impact Quartz Countertops?

Quartz is generally resistant to damage from acidic foods. However, concentrated acids like vinegar or lemon juice should not be left sitting on quartz surfaces for extended periods. Best practices include:

  • Wipe up acidic spills quickly, especially liquids like vinegars, wines, and citrus juice.
  • Avoid cutting high-acid foods directly on quartz. Use a cutting board instead.
  • After prepping acidic foods, rinse quartz with soapy water.
  • When possible, keep acidic food contained in prep bowls or pots instead of direct quartz contact.
  • Avoid prolonged contact with acidic ingredients during marinating, pickling, or canning.
  • Do not store opened vinegar bottles directly on quartz.

With reasonable care and prompt cleanup, quartz stands up well to typical household food acids used in cooking and prep.

Can You Use Quartz Outdoors in Kitchens and Grilling Areas?

While primarily an indoor surface, some quartz varieties are suitable for outdoor kitchen countertops in covered areas protected from weather:

  • Select quartz made with UV-stable resins that resist sun damage.
  • Have quartz professionally installed with waterproof adhesives and sealants.
  • Avoid intense heat sources like grills or stovetops. Use with warming trays and sinks instead.
  • Keep cleaning supplies handy to address outdoor grime. Avoid abrasive pads.
  • Inspect for damage after freezing temperatures. Repair minor chips quickly.
  • Reseal outdoor quartz annually to maintain water resistance.

With protective installation and maintenance, quartz can work for covered outdoor cooking spaces. But it’s critical to avoid prolonged sun and moisture exposure.

Is It Safe to Use Quartz Countertops in Bathrooms?

Using quartz for bathroom vanity countertops is generally safe due to its mold and water resistance. However, care should be taken to:

  • Select low-porosity quartz for bathrooms. Avoid more porous ‘exotic’ blends.
  • Have quartz installed properly with water-tight edges and backsplashes.
  • Avoid placing wet toiletries directly on quartz. Use trays or containers.
  • Clean up splashes after sink use and bathing.
  • Check under sinks routinely for any moisture or plumbing leaks.
  • Use mold-inhibiting cleaners designed for bathrooms.

With appropriate quartz material and installation, bathrooms can benefit from quartz’s hygienic properties and ease of cleaning. Just take care to limit water exposure.

Is Quartz Safe for Food Contact After Professional Cleaning?

Deep cleaning or resurfacing treatments performed by professionals are safe for quartz countertops and do not impact food contact safety. Any chemicals used should meet the following criteria:

  • Specifically designed for use on quartz surfaces.
  • Non-toxic and free of hazardous VOCs.
  • Rinse fully with only water residue remaining.
  • Do not alter the impermeability or texture of the quartz.
  • Do not require soaking or extended dwell times.
  • Are applied according to manufacturer instructions.

Thorough rinsing and drying is critical after professional treatments before allowing any direct food contact. But when done properly, deep cleaning can restore quartz safety.

Can You Use Disinfectants on Quartz?

Quartz surfaces are extremely compatible with hospital-grade disinfectants and sanitizing cleaners. Recommended disinfectants for use on quartz include:

  • Diluted bleach – Sodium hypochlorite solutions up to 1:10 ratio with water.
  • Quaternary ammonium cleaners – Benzalkonium chloride or alkyl dimethyl ammonium chlorides.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Dilute to no more than 3% concentration.
  • Isopropyl alcohol – Rubbing alcohol diluted to at least 60% strength with water.
  • Vinegar – Helps eliminate odors. Avoid prolonged exposure.

Thoroughly rinse disinfectants with clean water and wipe dry when done. Avoid abrasive cleaning pads. Disinfecting quartz helps kill germs for a sanitary food surface.

Does Quartz Have Anti-Microbial Properties?

On its own, quartz does not have inherent antimicrobial or antibacterial properties. However, there are some varieties that incorporate silver ions or other additives with antimicrobial benefits:

  • Bio-Active Quartz® infuses silver ions that inhibit microbial growth.
  • Microban® adds antimicrobial protection for stain and odor resistance.
  • LUCIATM incorporates a photocatalyst claimed to eliminate 99% of bacteria.
  • DuPontTM Zodiaq® Antimicrobial prevents mold, mildew, and bacterial growth.

Look for quartz marketed as “antimicrobial” if this added hygienic protection is desired. Routine cleaning and disinfecting still required.

Is Quartz Prone to Retaining Odors?

Unlike some other porous stones, quartz does not easily absorb or retain odors. Its non-porous surface makes it very resistant to odor transfer. To further discourage odors:

  • Clean spills promptly to avoid smells setting in surface stains.
  • Use deodorizing cleaners weekly. Avoid scented types as residue can attract odors.
  • Disinfect with diluted bleach, vinegar, or other sanitizers to kill bacteria that cause odors.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to strong-smelling foods for prolonged periods.
  • Clean quartz after handling pungent foods like garlic, onions, and fish.

With routine cleaning and deodorizing, quartz countertops remain free of food and cooking odors in kitchen environments.

Does Quartz Off-Gas or Leach Chemicals into Food?

Quartz engineered stone is considered extremely stable and does not off-gas VOCs or release chemicals under normal conditions. The resins used to bind quartz particles together fully cure and become inert once manufactured. Quartz surfaces meet health and safety standards for indoor air quality. Independent testing also verifies compliance with food contact regulations. Just allow a few weeks airing out time after new installation before use.

Is There BPA in Quartz Countertops?

BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical once commonly used to make plastics and resins. Due to health concerns, BPA has been phased out and is not used in modern quartz manufacturing. Today’s quartz surfaces are BPA-free and use food-safe, non-toxic resins that do not leach or have estrogenic activity. Always verify any health and safety certifications before purchasing new quartz.