Quartz countertops are popular choices for modern kitchens and bathrooms thanks to their durability, visual appeal, and resistance to stains and scratches. However, while quartz is an extremely low-maintenance material, it is still susceptible to some staining. Being aware of what can potentially stain quartz allows homeowners to take precautions and deal with stains properly if they occur. This comprehensive guide will cover common stains on quartz and how to remove them to keep your countertops looking like new.
Oils, Grease, and Foods That Can Stain
Home chefs and families need to be aware that quartz countertops can become stained by oils, grease, and certain foods if left on the surface. Here are some of the most notorious culprits:
Olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, and other cooking oils used for sautéing, baking, and flavoring foods can seep into quartz and discolor the surface. The oil leaves behind a light stain or darker ring. Wipe up spills as soon as possible.
Greasy foods like bacon, hamburger, and fried dishes can leave oily residue on quartz that leads to staining if not cleaned up promptly. Be sure to fully wipe down the area after cooking these messy foods.
Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce
The acids in tomatoes and tomato sauce can etch and stain quartz countertops if allowed to sit. Quickly clean up any spills involving tomatoes.
Mustard and Ketchup
Bright condiments like mustard and ketchup can temporarily or permanently stain quartz if not dealt with immediately. Both contain pigments that can discolor the material.
Wine and Alcohol
Red or dark wines, cocktails, and spirits such as whiskey can be difficult to remove from quartz once spilled and absorbed into the surface. Clean up wine right away before staining sets in.
Soy Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce
The deep color and salt content in soy sauce and teriyaki sauce make them likely to stain quartz if not promptly cleaned. Dried-on soy sauce can leave a permanent darkened area.
Coffee and Tea
Like wine, coffee and tea can soak into quartz surfaces and leave behind hard-to-remove stains if spills are not cleaned up quickly. The longer the drink sits, the worse potential staining will be.
Juices from Berries and Fruits
Juices from pigmented berries and fruits like blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and pomegranate can potentially stain quartz. Rinse off any juices to avoid discoloration.
Spices and Herbs
Staining can occur from potent spices and herbs like turmeric, curry powder, paprika, and saffron. Be sure to promptly clean up after use to avoid lingering stains.
To avoid stains and discoloration, it is critical to wipe up food prep messes, spills, and drips from the foods and liquids listed above as soon as possible. Allowing residue to linger and dry on the quartz surface makes staining much more likely.
How to Remove Common Stains
If a stain develops on quartz, there are ways to often remove it or minimize its appearance. Here are tips for remedying some of the most common quartz countertop stains:
Oil and Grease Stains
- For lightweight oil stains or residue, use dish soap and warm water to clean.
- For heavier stains, spray a degreasing cleaner like Formula 409 over the area and let sit briefly before wiping clean with a soft cloth.
- A small amount of bleach can also help cut through tough oil stains. Use carefully and rinse thoroughly.
- For extreme oil discoloration that does not respond to other cleaners, use an oil stain remover formulated for stone and quartz.
- Lightly scrub fresh food stains like tomato sauce or coffee with a damp cloth and a little dish soap.
- For dried-on stains, spray a stone cleaner over the area and allow to sit before scrubbing and rinsing clean.
- Use a plastic scraper to gently lift any stubborn, stuck-on food debris.
- Mix baking soda and water into a paste for a gentle abrasive scrub on food stains.
Wine, Juice, and Alcohol Stains
- Immediately blot up as much of the spill as possible with an absorbent cloth.
- Mix a solution of mild dish soap with warm water and scrub onto the stain.
- For tougher stains, spray on a stone cleaner and let penetrate before scrubbing.
- Consult a countertop professional for ingrained wine or juice stains that resist removal.
Oil-Based Spice Stains
- Wipe curry, paprika, turmeric, and saffron stains right away with dish soap and water.
- For dried-on stains, make a paste with baking soda and water and gently scrub.
- Blot lemon juice onto the stain and let sit briefly before rinsing. The citric acid can help lift pigment.
- Use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide if needed to lighten staining. Always test first.
Be patient when attempting to remove stains from quartz. Repeated cleanings over time may be required to fully restore its original appearance. For truely stubborn stains, call in a professional countertop cleaning service for assistance.
Everyday Cleaning to Help Prevent Stains
Establishing a regular cleaning routine for quartz counters can help prevent many types of stains from occurring. Here are some easy ways to keep counters clean and minimize staining:
- At the end of each day, wipe down all areas with warm soapy water to remove any oils, greases, food debris, and spills.
- Clean up food preparation messes as you cook each meal. Don’t allow residues time to soak in.
- Use a stone cleaner spray weekly to keep the quartz shiny and prevent buildup of grime.
- For problem grease areas like next to the stove, use a degreasing cleaner on occasion to prevent staining.
- Blot up spills immediately with an absorbent cloth. Don’t leave liquids sitting.
- Avoid abrasive cleaners and scrub pads which can damage the quartz surface over time.
- Reseal and polish quartz every 1-2 years with a stone resealing product to maintain its stain resistance.
By making quartz cleaning a regular habit, you can help prevent many types of staining and keep counters beautiful.
Can Quartz Countertops Be Permanently Damaged by Stains?
In most cases, stains on quartz can be removed or significantly improved with the cleaning methods described above. However, it is possible for some extreme types of staining to permanently damage quartz:
- Prolonged exposure to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc., can etch or discolor quartz.
- Allowing repeated oil exposure without cleaning can lead to deep, irreversible staining.
- Extreme heat such as direct contact with a hot pan can scorch and burn quartz, causing permanent marks.
- Cutting food directly on the counter without a cutting board can scratch the surface over time.
- Heavy scrubbing with abrasive pads or powders wears down the finish.
Avoiding these damaging situations whenever possible is key to maintaining the original beauty of your quartz countertops. If stains appear beyond repair, consulting a pro may be necessary. They have access to more aggressive quartz restoration techniques and tools.
Protecting Outdoor Quartz Countertops from Staining
Using quartz for outdoor kitchen countertops brings unique staining challenges from weather exposure:
- Rinse outdoor quartz frequently with plain water to prevent grime buildup that can lead to staining.
- Cover the outdoor kitchen area when not in use to protect from rain, leaves, bird droppings and other stains.
- Clean up grill drippings after each use to prevent grease stains. Degreasing and bleach can help remove these stains.
- Periodically use a mold and mildew remover made for natural stone on the quartz.
- Reapply stone sealers more frequently on outdoor quartz, up to every 3-6 months.
With proper care and prompt stain removal, outdoor quartz countertops can stay beautiful for many years. Be diligent about cleaning and protection.
How to Pre-Treat Potential Stains Before They Happen
There are some proactive stain prevention steps you can take:
- Seal and re-seal quartz regularly with a penetrating sealer made for stone surfaces. This makes wiping up spills easier.
- Use coasters under glasses and bottles to avoid leaving moisture rings.
- Cut foods on a designated cutting board, not directly on the quartz surface.
- Place hot pans and dishes on trivets, not directly on the countertop.
- Immediately dry any puddles or wet areas with a towel to avoid possible water marks.
- Apply a stain repellent treatment made for stone to make quartz more stain resistant.
Being conscientious about spill-prone areas and activities allows you to avoid stains proactively.
Common Questions about Stains on Quartz Countertops
Many homeowners have additional questions about the staining potential of quartz:
Can quartz chips and cracks stain?
Yes, any flaws, chips, or cracks in the surface of the quartz make it more prone to trapping stains and spills in the damaged area. Repair any damage to the countertop as soon as possible.
Do all quartz colors and finishes stain the same?
Darker quartz colors and patterns tend to show stains more obviously. Matte or rough finishes also show staining more than polished quartz.
Is staining covered under the manufacturer’s warranty?
Staining is not considered a material defect, so typical quartz warranties do not cover stain damage. Homeowner care and maintenance is expected.
Can UV light damage or stain outdoor quartz countertops?
Over time, UV light can potentially cause some fading or discoloration. Keep outdoor quartz out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Should I avoid citrus fruits and juices if I’m worried about stains?
While acidic juices like lemon, lime, and orange can technically etch quartz, normal use is not a major concern. Just rinse off any drips.
How to Care for Quartz to Avoid Staining
Caring for your quartz countertops properly is key to avoiding stains:
- Inspect countertops regularly for any new stains that require cleaning. Don’t allow them to set in.
- Use cutting boards and trivets religiously to prevent surface damage that could allow stains.
- Clean up food, liquids, and other spills immediately as they occur.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on quartz care and cleaning.
- Have countertops professionally restored, polished and resealed every 1-2 years.
- Use only recommended stone cleaners, not harsh chemicals.
With regular care and maintenance, most quartz countertop staining can be prevented entirely.
Professional Options for Removing Difficult Stains
For quartz stains that resist all home cleaning efforts, a professional restoration service may be required:
- They can use more powerful cleaners, enzymes, and abrasives tailored to quartz.
- Technicians have specialized tools and polishers that can buff out stains.
- Ozone treatment is an advanced stain removal technique some pros offer.
- Countertop fabrication shops can sometimes replace heavily damaged sections.
- A full resurfacing with new quartz material is a last resort for pervasive stains.
Before replacing the entire quartz surface, consult a professional cleaner first if stubborn stains won’t budge. Their industry expertise can often successfully remove stains while saving homeowners money.
Can Stained Quartz Countertops Be Resurfaced?
In cases of extreme, irreversible staining or damage, resurfacing may be an option:
- The existing countertop quartz is removed down to the substructure.
- A new top layer of quartz material is bonded over the bottom layer.
- This effectively creates brand new quartz surface.
- Resurfacing can be done if stains are widespread or concentrated in certain areas.
- Meticulous cleaning and sealing are required post-installation to avoid new stains.
Resurfacing can cost 35-50% of full quartz replacement. While not inexpensive, it is less costly than a full redo. The process takes 1-3 days with countertops unusable during that time.
Stain Prevention Habits for Quartz Countertop Longevity
Forming good habits is the best stain prevention strategy:
- Never leave spills or messes sitting on quartz counters. Clean immediately.
- Use trivets and cutting boards religiously when cooking.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for approved cleaners.
- Clean with a soft, lint-free cloth only to avoid scratches.
- Avoid abrasive pads or powders that can damage the surface.
- Reseal quartz counters every 1-2 years to maintain stain resistance.
- Clean more frequently in heavy-use areas prone to spills near sinks and stoves.
Making stain prevention measures part of your daily routine will ensure your beautiful quartz countertops stay that way. Maintain vigilance, and you can avoid costly stain removal hassles.
Although quartz countertops are largely stain-resistant, they are still vulnerable to some types of stains if spills are not cleaned promptly. Oils, grease, certain foods, drinks, and dyes can all potentially lead to discoloration if allowed to soak into the surface. By having awareness of what causes stains and acting quickly, most stains can be prevented or removed successfully. Consistent cleaning habits and countertop maintenance will keep quartz surfaces looking like new for many years. Be proactive, and you can avoid frustrating stain issues down the road.