Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms because of their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz countertops are prone to germs and bacteria buildup from daily use. Proper cleaning and disinfecting are key to keeping quartz surfaces hygienic and free of harmful microbes. This comprehensive guide will explore the best practices for disinfecting quartz countertops.
Why Disinfecting Quartz Surfaces is Important
Quartz is an engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz blended with polyresin adhesives. This makes the material non-porous, so it does not easily absorb liquids and stains like natural stone. However, quartz can still harbor bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms on the surface.
Regular disinfecting of quartz countertops is recommended for a few key reasons:
- Prevent the spread of illness and infection: Disinfecting kills illness-causing germs like Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and norovirus that may be present on quartz surfaces. This helps protect your family’s health.
- Maintain cleanliness between deep cleans: Daily disinfecting removes odors, soil buildup, and unseen grime that regular cleaning does not address. This keeps your quartz pristine between periodic deep cleaning.
- Prolong the life of your countertops: Allowing bacteria and grime accumulation can permanently stain or etch quartz. Disinfecting helps prevent damage and retains the countertop’s beauty.
- Improve the safety of food preparation: Disinfecting quartz kitchen countertops eliminates germs that could contaminate food and cause foodborne illness. This is especially important after handling raw meat.
Regular disinfecting is a simple way to protect the health, appearance, and longevity of your investment in beautiful quartz countertops.
How to Choose the Best Disinfectants for Quartz
Not all cleaning products are safe and effective for disinfecting quartz surfaces. It’s important to choose an EPA-registered disinfectant designed specifically for use on engineered stone. Here are the most important factors to consider:
1. EPA-Approved and Registered
Disinfectants must meet testing standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to confirm their ability to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. Check product labels for an EPA registration number to verify approved disinfecting capability.
2. Formulated for Stone Surfaces
Choose disinfectants marketed as safe for use on quartz, granite, marble, and other stone surfaces. Avoid bleach, vinegar, ammonia, bathroom cleaners, and other harsh chemicals that can damage quartz.
3. Non-Acidic Ingredients
Disinfecting products containing acids like vinegar, lemon, or citric acid should never be used. Acid can erode the resin binders in quartz causing permanent etching or pits. Opt for alkaline, non-acidic formulas.
4. No Harsh Abrasives
Disinfectants with coarse abrasive particles, like some scrubbing powders, can scratch quartz surfaces. Check labels and select a non-abrasive spray, wipes, or cleaning paste.
To avoid leaving behind sticky residue or strong chemical smells, look for fragrance-free and fragrance-neutral options whenever possible.
With these criteria in mind, let’s review some of the best disinfectant products for safely sanitizing quartz countertops.
Recommended Disinfectants for Quartz Countertops
1. Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Solutions
Hydrogen peroxide is a highly effective disinfectant approved for use against COVID-19 and norovirus. When diluted to 0.5% concentration, hydrogen peroxide can sanitize quartz. Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaners and Lysol Hydrogen Peroxide Multi-Purpose Cleaner are excellent ready-to-use options.
2. Quaternary Ammonium (Quats) Disinfectants
Quats are charged molecules with strong antimicrobial properties. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, and Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Disinfectant Spray contain quats that kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. Avoid wipes with bleach.
3. Isopropanol-Based Wipes
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes with at least 70% isopropanol alcohol can effectively disinfect quartz surfaces. Wipes allow easy sanitizing of intricate decorative patterns. Check labels for stone surface approval.
4. Sodium Hypochlorite Bleach Solutions
In a pinch, Clorox Regular Bleach diluted to 1000ppm chlorine or 0.1% bleach solution can sanitize quartz surfaces. Rinse thoroughly after 10 minutes contact time. Do not use undiluted or splash straight bleach onto the quartz.
5. Botanical Disinfectants
Thymox Disinfectant Spray and Biokleen Bac-Out Countertop Cleaner rely on thymol from thyme oil to disinfect quartz. With plant-based active ingredients, these products are non-toxic and EPA approved to kill a broad spectrum of bacteria.
No matter which EPA-registered disinfectant you choose, always spot test on an inconspicuous area first and follow label directions carefully to safely and effectively sanitize your quartz surfaces.
Step-by-Step Guide to Disinfecting Quartz Countertops
Disinfecting quartz countertops is quick and easy on a daily basis following this simple procedure:
1. Remove surface clutter and wipe up any visible dirt.
Start by clearing the countertop entirely and scraping or wiping away any large debris using a soft sponge or paper towel. Removing physical dirt will allow the disinfectant to work most effectively.
2. Apply your chosen disinfectant liberally to the surface.
Spray or wipe disinfectant over the entire surface making sure to cover every inch, paying special attention to commonly handled areas. Check the product label for specific application instructions.
3. Let the disinfectant sit on the surface for the product’s recommended contact time.
This dwell time, usually 3-5 minutes, allows the active ingredients to thoroughly kill microbes. Refrain from wiping or rinsing during this period.
4. After the contact time, wipe the surface dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
For spray disinfectants, wipe until the surface is completely dry and free of excess liquid and residue.
5. Allow treated areas to air dry before use.
Let the quartz air dry fully to complete the disinfection process before placing any items back onto the countertop surface.
Be sure to wear gloves during the process and wash hands thoroughly after disinfecting. Maintain this quick daily routine to keep your quartz surfaces fresh, clean, and germ-free.
Deep Cleaning and Disinfecting Quartz Countertops
In addition to daily disinfecting, quartz countertops should receive periodic deep cleaning and sanitizing to remove grime buildup and ensure the surface stays in tip-top shape. Here is an effective process for deep cleaning quartz:
1. Remove everything from the countertop.
Clear the entire surface of objects, appliances, dishes, and any food or debris.
2. Apply a degreasing cleaner and let soak for 5-10 minutes.
Spray a degreaser like Simple Green Stone Cleaner or Krud Kutter Grime Eater over the entire surface. Let the product penetrate to loosen oily grime before scrubbing.
3. Scrub with a soft brush or sponge.
Use a gentle scrubbing motion to lift dirt from the surface. Avoid abrasive pads or scrubs that could scratch the finish.
4. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Rinse away all cleaner residue which could leave a film if left behind.
5. Disinfect the freshly cleaned surface.
Spray or wipe your chosen disinfectant over the entire just-cleaned countertop following label instructions for contact time.
6. Rinse and dry completely.
Double check no disinfectant residue remains, and let the quartz air dry fully before replacing any items.
Aim to deep clean quartz countertops once every 1-2 weeks for optimal maintenance between daily disinfecting. Pay extra attention to heavy use areas like around the kitchen sink.
How Often Should Quartz Countertops Be Disinfected?
Ideally, quartz countertops should be disinfected on a daily basis. Quickly wiping the surface with an EPA-approved disinfectant spray or wipes each day keeps bacteria under control and prevents buildup between occasional deep cleaning.
Disinfect high traffic areas including:
- Around the kitchen sink after washing dishes, produce, meat, etc.
- Areas used for food prep before and after cooking.
- Bathroom vanity surfaces after use.
- Dining areas before and after meals.
Increase disinfection frequency to 2-3 times per day in high traffic zones like bathroom counters or when someone in the household is ill to prevent germ spread.
While quartz itself does not promote significant bacterial growth compared to materials like wood or granite, it still requires diligent disinfecting for sanitary maintenance. Consistent daily effort pays off in the long run.
Tips for Effective Quartz Countertop Disinfection
Follow these tips and best practices to get the most effective, safest results when disinfecting quartz surfaces:
- Always check that disinfectants are EPA-approved for use against viruses like COVID-19.
- Heed all label safety precautions and dilution instructions. Never mix products.
- Apply enough disinfectant to wet the surface thoroughly and evenly.
- Ensure the treated surface stays visibly wet for the full contact time.
- Let quartz dry completely before wiping, replacing items, or preparing food.
- Increase ventilation while disinfecting. Open windows, run exhaust fans, etc.
- Never use vinegar, lemon juice, abrasive scrubs, or bleach not diluted to proper concentration.
- Rinse food contact areas with potable water after the required disinfectant contact time.
- Store disinfectants securely away from children and pets.
With proper disinfecting technique, you can keep your beautiful quartz surfaces safe and sanitary for years of healthy enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Disinfecting Quartz Countertops
Can I use rubbing alcohol to disinfect quartz?
Yes, isopropyl alcohol solutions at 70% concentration or higher are effective for disinfecting quartz surfaces. Ensure the product is specified as safe for use on stone.
How can you disinfect quartz countertops naturally?
Hydrogen peroxide and thyme oil are two EPA-approved natural disinfecting options safe for use on quartz. Diluted vinegar can also sanitize but should be rinsed well.
What should you not use to clean quartz?
Avoid glass cleaners, vinegar, bleach, ammonia, bathroom cleaners, and abrasive pads or scrubs. Only use disinfectants specifically designed for stone.
Can Lysol disinfectant spray be used on quartz?
Yes, Lysol brand disinfectants are EPA-approved for use on quartz countertops. Ensure the product label specifies safe use on stone surfaces.
Is Method Antibacterial Cleaner safe for quartz?
No, Method Antibacterial Cleaner contains thymol which can stain quartz. Use a dedicated quartz-safe disinfectant instead.
Can you use Clorox wipes on engineered quartz?
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Bleach-Free Disinfecting Wipes are safe for use on quartz surfaces. Avoid wipes with higher bleach concentrations.
What removes stains from quartz countertops?
For tough stains, a baking soda paste, hydrogen peroxide, or formulated quartz polish like Countertop Magic can help remove stains without damaging sealers. Avoid harsh chemicals.
How do you sanitize quartz countertops?
Spray or wipe the surface with an EPA-registered disinfectant safe for use on quartz. Allow the proper contact time, then rinse and dry completely to safely sanitize quartz.
Can you use bleach on quartz surfaces?
In a pinch, Clorox Regular Bleach diluted to 0.1% or 1000ppm chlorine can sanitize quartz. Rinse thoroughly after 10 minutes contact time. Never use undiluted bleach.
Does quartz need to be sealed for disinfecting?
No, quartz countertops are non-porous so sealing is not necessary. Ensure disinfectants used are approved for unsealed quartz surfaces.
Regular disinfection is crucial for maintaining the safety, cleanliness, and beauty of quartz countertops. Using the proper EPA-approved products and techniques allows you to effectively eliminate illness-causing germs. Focus on daily disinfecting of high contact areas supplemented by periodic deep cleaning for pristine results. With the right sanitizing routine, your quartz can stay microbe-free and look like new for many years.