Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, it’s important to clean quartz properly to prevent damage and preserve its beauty. Not all cleaners are safe for quartz. Here’s a detailed guide on what cleaners are safe to use on quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. Quartz is an exceptionally hard mineral that makes countertops very durable and stain resistant.
The resin binds the crystals together and allows the material to be molded into slabs. Pigments add color and pattern. The end result is a beautiful, non-porous surface that stands up well to heavy usage in kitchens.
Benefits of Quartz Countertops
There are several reasons why quartz makes an excellent countertop material:
- Extremely durable – Quartz has a Mohs hardness rating of 7, making it harder than granite (6) and harder than most knives. This prevents scratches.
- Stain resistant – The nonporous surface resists stains from spills like wine, coffee, and juice.
- Low maintenance – Quartz requires very little maintenance compared to other natural stone.
- Variety of colors/patterns – Pigments are added to create vibrant colors and realistic stone-like patterns.
- Doesn’t need sealing – Unlike granite, quartz does not require periodic sealing.
- Mold/mildew resistant – The dense surface doesn’t allow mold or mildew to grow.
- Heat resistant – Quartz can withstand heat up to 212°F, suitable for setting hot pans.
- Non-reactive – Quartz won’t react with acidic foods like lemon juice.
Cleaners to Avoid on Quartz
While quartz is very durable, there are still some cleaners you should avoid because they can dull the surface or cause etching:
- Abrasive cleaners – Avoid abrasive pads, scouring powders, or anything gritty. This can create superficial scratches.
- Bleach – Never use bleach or bleach-containing cleaners. Bleach can discolor and corrode quartz.
- Oven cleaners – Cleaners designed for oven degreasing are too harsh. They often have high alkalinity/acidity.
- Harsh chemicals – Avoid corrosive chemicals like drain, toilet and concrete cleaners. They can etch the surface.
- Vinegar – Though often touted as natural, vinegar is acidic and can dull quartz over time.
- Citrus cleaners – Citric acids in cleaners like lemon/orange can etch the surface.
- Alkaline cleaners – Cleaners with high pH can discolor and corrode the resin.
Best Cleaners and Cleaning Tips for Quartz
Fortunately, quartz can be easily cleaned and maintained with gentle cleaners and non-abrasive techniques:
1. Mild Soap and Water
For routine cleaning, a mild liquid dish soap diluted in warm water is all you need. Dish soap contains grease-cutting surfactants to clean the surface without any harsh chemicals.
2. pH-Neutral Stone Cleaner
Look for a stone cleaner specifically formulated to be pH-neutral. pH-neutral cleaners won’t etch or discolor the surface. Brands like Method and StoneTech make good pH-neutral quartz cleaners.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
As a mild acid, hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove stubborn stains by applying it directly to the spot for 10 minutes before wiping clean. Be careful not to leave it on too long.
4. Baking Soda
Make a paste of baking soda and water to gently clean and polish quartz. Baking soda has just enough grit to lift dirt but not enough to scratch.
5. Microfiber Cloths
Always use soft microfiber cloths to clean quartz. Microfiber can clean without scratching.
6. Avoid Window Cleaners
Most window cleaners like Windex contain ammonia, which can leave cloudy streaks and gradually etch quartz.
7. Blot Spills Quickly
Don’t let spills sit. Immediately wipe up spills as they occur to prevent stains from setting.
8. Rinse Thoroughly
After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any soapy residue. Soap scum can build up and create cloudiness.
9. Reseal Annually
Though not required, resealing quartz annually will make cleaning easier by preventing buildup. Use a stone sealer specifically designed for quartz.
How to Remove Stains from Quartz
Accidents happen, but fortunately quartz is stain resistant. Here are some tips for removing common stains:
Dried food stains – Gently scrape with a plastic scraper, then clean with baking soda paste. Rinse thoroughly.
Grease/oil stains – Dab stains immediately with paper towel. Clean with dish soap on a damp cloth.
Water spots/mineral deposits – Wipe with cloth dampened with hydrogen peroxide or pH-neutral cleaner.
Mold/mildew stains – Wipe down with 1:4 bleach-to-water solution. Rinse surface thoroughly after treatment.
Dye transfer – Dab stain immediately with isopropyl alcohol. Rinse thoroughly afterward.
Hard water stains – Use a pH-neutral cleaner and non-abrasive sponge, then rinse.
Juice/wine stains – Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a spreadable paste. Apply to stain for 5 minutes, then rinse.
Ink/marker stains – Dab with isopropyl alcohol on a cloth until removed. Rinse surface thoroughly afterward.
Etching – Use a quartz polish to reduce appearance of light etching. Keep the surface clean and avoid harsh chemicals to prevent more.
How to Disinfect Quartz Countertops
Regular cleaning is usually enough, but you can disinfect quartz occasionally:
- Mix 1 tbsp. bleach per 1 quart of water for an effective disinfecting solution.
- Spray solution onto countertops and let sit 1-2 minutes.
- Wipe down with clean paper towels or microfiber cloth.
- Rinse thoroughly with plain water afterward.
- Allow to air dry.
Bleach solutions should not be used daily, but are effective for deep cleaning. Make sure to open windows for ventilation when using bleach.
Maintain the Beauty of Your Quartz
Caring properly for quartz will keep it looking like new for years. Avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh chemicals. For routine cleaning, mild dish soap and water is all you need. Blot spills quickly and rinse thoroughly after cleaning. With regular care, your quartz countertops will stay beautiful and durable.