Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from engineered stone, quartz counters offer the aesthetic appeal of natural stone with increased durability. However, like any countertop material, quartz requires proper cleaning and care to keep it looking its best. Using the wrong cleaners can damage the surface, leading to etching, discoloration, and loss of shine. So what can you safely use to clean quartz countertops?
Why Proper Cleaning is Important for Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops may be hardy, but they still need gentle care. Quartz is non-porous, so it resists stains, but the surface can be etched by acidic substances. Etching damages the glossy finish, causing a hazy, irremovable appearance. Quartz is also prone to scratches, so abrasive cleaners should be avoided. With routine cleaning using quartz-safe products, you can maintain the beauty and functionality of your quartz counters for years.
Routine Cleaning of Quartz Countertops
For routine cleaning, quartz countertops can be wiped down with a soft, damp cloth or sponge and a mild soap and water solution. Avoid using abrasive scrub pads or brushes that could scratch the surface. Here are some effective options for day-to-day quartz countertop care:
Dish Soap and Warm Water
A small amount of mild dish soap diluted in warm water makes an everyday quartz countertop cleaner. Apply the solution to a soft cloth and wipe the countertop clean. Avoid extremely hot water as rapid temperature changes can damage quartz. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth.
Vinegar and Water Solution
A 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and warm water can be used to clean quartz. Vinegar is mildly acidic which helps dissolve dirt and grime. Use a soft cloth dampened with the solution to wipe down the entire counter, then rinse well. Vinegar can have a strong smell, so open windows to air out the kitchen after cleaning.
Look for cleaners specifically formulated for engineered stone and quartz. These provide cleaning power without the abrasives or acidity that can harm quartz. Popular options include Method Daily Granite Cleaner, StoneTech Revitalizer Cleaner, and Weiman Granite Cleaner. Spray the cleaner onto a soft cloth and wipe the surface clean. No rinsing is required.
Baking Soda Paste
For a non-toxic homemade cleaner, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to quartz counters using a soft bristle brush and gently scrub. The baking soda helps remove stuck-on grime. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a clean towel. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously as baking soda can be slightly abrasive.
Hand Soap and Water
In a pinch, hand soap combined with warm water can effectively clean quartz countertops. Apply a small amount of liquid hand soap to a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down the entire counter. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a lint-free cloth.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions
The oxidizing properties of hydrogen peroxide help remove stains on quartz surfaces. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water and apply with a soft cloth. For stubborn stains, let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Always test hydrogen peroxide cleaners in an inconspicuous spot first.
Professional countertop cleaning products like Quartz Brite and Clean EnCounters Stainless Steel and Quartz Cleaner are specially designed for routine quartz care. These can be more expensive but are engineered not to damage quartz surfaces. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Using too much cleaner or scrubbing too hard can result in a damaged finish.
What NOT to Use On Quartz Countertops
It’s equally important to know what cleaners and supplies to avoid using on quartz:
- No bleach – Bleach is too harsh and can react with quartz’s resin binding agents. Even small amounts can cause discoloration.
- Avoid vinegar – While diluted vinegar works for light cleaning, prolonged exposure can etch quartz, as can full-strength vinegar.
- No abrasive scrubbers – Scouring pads, steel wool, and abrasive sponges should never be used on quartz. They will scratch the surface.
- Skip the power tools – High-speed buffing and polishing tools can damage quartz. Hand cleaning is best.
- No acidic or alkaline cleaners – Anything outside the pH range of 5-10 can chemically react with quartz.
- No oven cleaners – The caustic chemicals in oven cleaners will etch and dissolve quartz. Keep them away from counters.
- Avoid alcohol-based cleaners – Chemicals like isopropyl alcohol, acetone, and mineral spirits are too strong for routine use.
- No lemon, lime, or orange juices – Being highly acidic, citrus juices can damage quartz surfaces with regular exposure. Wipe up spills immediately.
- Skip magic erasers – The melamine foam in magic erasers is slightly abrasive and should not be used on quartz.
How to Clean Tough Stains on Quartz Countertops
Quartz resists stains, but burnt-on food and dried spills can still be a challenge to remove. For stuck-on messes, try these cleaning techniques:
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Paste
Combining baking soda and hydrogen peroxide makes a gentle scrubbing paste. Allow the paste to sit on the stain for 2-3 minutes before scrubbing lightly with a soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if needed for stubborn stains.
Diluted Bleach Solution
While bleach is too harsh for everyday use, a 10:1 water to bleach solution can tackle dried or burnt-on stains. Carefully apply the diluted bleach only to the problem spot using a cloth or brush. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Never mix bleach and vinegar.
Look for an all-purpose, non-abrasive cleaner formulated for stone and quartz. Spray directly on the stain and allow to penetrate for 5 minutes. Wipe clean with a damp cloth, rinsing thoroughly afterwards. CLR, Zep, and Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser are good options.
For dried food, candy, or gum stuck on quartz, carefully sweep a heat gun across the area to soften the mess, then wipe it away with a plastic scraper. Avoid applying heat too long in one spot to prevent damage.
Use a plastic scraper to gently dislodge any gunk stuck to the quartz. Apply pressure at a 45° angle and take care not to scratch the surface. Softening with heat first can make scraping easier.
A countertop steam cleaner uses hot steam to loosen all types of grime on quartz surfaces. Concentrate the steam on stained areas before wiping clean with a cloth. Steaming also sanitizes the surface.
Extra-fine grit sandpaper can remove minor etching on quartz countertops. Gently sand the affected area using small, circular motions. Be careful not to scrub too hard. Follow up by restoring shine and polish with quartz conditioner.
Maintaining the Shine on Quartz Countertops
With regular gentle cleaning, quartz countertops will retain their glossy surface. But if your counters lose their luster over time, there are easy ways to restore a gleaming finish:
Regular use of polishing products formulated for engineered stone will keep quartz counters shiny. Better Life Stone Countertop Polish and Sealer and Granite Gold Daily Cleaner both clean and condition. Follow product directions carefully.
Olive oil and lemon juice
For a DIY polish, mix equal parts olive oil and lemon juice. Apply the mixture in circular motions with a soft cloth. The mild acidity in lemon brightens while olive oil restores shine and leaves a protective barrier. Rinse and dry completely after polishing.
Spraying quartz counters with regular glass cleaner containing ammonia will help remove cloudiness and add shine. Use a lint-free cloth to distribute the cleaner evenly and wipe dry. Avoid over-spraying onto other surfaces.
Flour and olive oil
Make a thin paste of flour and olive oil. Rub the paste into dull areas of the quartz countertops using a soft cloth and small circular motions. Let it set for 10 minutes before rinsing and drying the counter thoroughly. The flour acts as a gentle abrasive to renew gloss.
How to Remove Etching from Quartz Countertops
If acids or chemicals have dulled the finish of your quartz counters, don’t despair. Etching can often be removed. Try these remedies:
Baking soda paste
Make a paste of baking soda and water and use a soft cloth to rub it into the etched areas using small circular motions. The mild abrasiveness of baking soda will buff out etching. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Gently rub a dampened magic eraser sponge over any etch marks. Take care not to scrub too hard. Rinse and dry completely. Repeat if needed, testing first in an inconspicuous spot.
Fine grit sandpaper
Gently sand affected areas using extra-fine 400+ grit sandpaper and small circular motions. Take care not to sand too aggressively. Follow up by re-polishing the counters to restore sheen.
Specialty quartz etch removal products like Granite Gold Polish and Etch Remover can effectively treat etching damage. Always pre-test in an inconspicuous area first. Follow product instructions closely.
For widespread etching or damage, professional quartz countertop refinishing may be required. Refinishing sands down the top layer and re-applies a protective sealant. Results last 3-5 years. Cost ranges $300+
Caring for Quartz Countertops Long-Term
Taking good care of your quartz counters will allow you to enjoy their durability, beauty and convenience for decades. Here are some top tips for maintaining quartz:
- Clean up spills quickly, especially acidic liquids like juices. Don’t allow them prolonged contact.
- Avoid using quartz as a cutting board. Use a separate cutting board to protect from knives.
- Keep cleaning products and solutions off seams and edges. Don’t allow moisture pooling.
- Follow manufacturer’s care guidelines. Some quartz has special cleaning requirements.
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years with a stone sealer to renew stain protection.
- Avoid placing hot pots or pans directly on quartz. Use trivets and hot pads.
- Check that cleaners are quartz-safe. Things that can etch marble and granite can also damage quartz.
- Don’t worry about sealing brand new quartz counters. Modern quartz already comes pre-sealed from the factory.
With proper selection of day-to-day cleaners and gentle care, your beautiful quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasives, and clean up spills promptly to maintain their shine and durability. What are your best tips for keeping quartz counters spotless? Let us know!
Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Can I use Windex or Glass Cleaner on quartz countertops?
Yes, ammonia-based glass cleaners like Windex work well for surface cleaning and adding shine to quartz countertops. Spray directly on the counter and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Avoid over-saturating the surface and wipe dry immediately after cleaning.
What is the best homemade quartz countertop cleaner?
A simple solution of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap makes an effective DIY cleaner for routine quartz care. For a bit more cleaning power, mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Both homemade options are safe, non-toxic, and inexpensive.
Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean my quartz countertops?
It’s best to avoid alcohol-based cleaners like rubbing alcohol on quartz counters. The high concentration of chemicals like isopropyl alcohol can potentially dull the finish. For routine cleaning, stick to gentle soap and water or diluted vinegar solutions.
How do you clean tough dried on stains on quartz?
For stuck-on food, dirt, or grime on quartz, try a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste. Apply the paste and let sit for 2-3 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush. The baking soda’s abrasiveness combined with the cleaning power of peroxide usually lifts even tough stains. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
Is Mr Clean Magic Eraser safe for quartz countertops?
Yes, Magic Erasers may be used on quartz counters to remove stubborn marks and stains. Dampen the melamine foam pad and gently rub stained areas, taking care not to scrub aggressively. Avoid excessive moisture and rinse surfaces after cleaning to eliminate any soap residue.
Can I use CLR to clean my quartz countertops?
CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover is considered safe for cleaning most quartz countertops. Spot test first and check manufacturer recommendations, as some quartz contains minerals that CLR could damage. Apply directly on the stain, let sit briefly before rinsing thoroughly. Never use CLR full strength.
How do you get etching out of quartz countertops?
For light etching, rub the area gently with extra-fine 400+ grit sandpaper using small circular motions. For deeper etching, use a specialty quartz etch remover product. Follow by polishing with a stone polish to restore luster. In severe cases, professional refinishing may be required to remove etching damage.
Can you use soft scrub on quartz?
No, avoid using Soft Scrub and other abrasive cleansers on quartz countertops. The citric acid and scratchy texture in Soft Scrub can damage the surface over time. For mild scrubbing power, make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a soft cloth or brush to gently apply.
What is the best way to polish and shine quartz countertops?
Regular use of quartz polish and conditioner products will keep surfaces gleaming. For a DIY approach, polish dull spots with a paste of baking soda and water or a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Rub in small circles with a soft cloth, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Avoid abrasive polishes.
Regular cleaning with quartz-safe products is key to keeping these popular engineered stone counters looking their best. Avoid abrasive cleaners, acids, and alkalis that can etch and damage quartz. For day-to-day cleaning, mild dish soap, diluted vinegar, or pH-neutral stone cleaners are safe bets. With the proper care, quartz countertops will stay gleaming and durable for years of beauty and performance. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations and test cleaners in inconspicuous spots first. With some gentle attention, you can enjoy stunning quartz counters that withstand everyday wear and tear.