Quartz countertops are a popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, proper cleaning is still required to keep quartz looking its best. Here is an in-depth look at the best practices for cleaning quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The resulting material is non-porous, making it resistant to stains and scratches. Quartz is an ideal countertop material for busy kitchens because it stands up well to heavy daily use.
Routine Cleaning of Quartz Countertops
- Use a gentle cleaner – For routine cleaning, a mild soap and water solution or stone cleaner is recommended. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can dull the surface.
- Wipe spills quickly – Blot up spills right away before they have a chance to set and stain.
- Use a soft cloth – Clean quartz with a non-abrasive soft cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing pads.
- Rinse well – Remove all traces of cleaner by thoroughly rinsing with clean water and drying with a soft towel. Residual cleaner left on the surface can eventually cause buildup.
Deep Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Over time, quartz can develop hard water marks, food stains, and soap scum buildup. Here are the best methods for occasional deep cleaning:
Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub it over the quartz surface using a soft cloth or sponge. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that will lift dirt without damaging the finish.
Undiluted white vinegar can be used to dissolve mineral deposits and other dried-on messes. Spray or wipe vinegar on the area and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before wiping away. Rinse thoroughly.
A hydrogen peroxide bathroom cleaner is effective at removing stubborn stains from quartz by bubbling away grime. Check first on an inconspicuous spot to ensure no discoloration.
For tougher cleaning tasks, a specially formulated quartz cleaner can be used. These are stronger than regular stone cleaners but gentler than abrasive scrubbing creams.
What NOT to Use on Quartz Countertops
- No bleach – Bleach can react with the resin and cause discoloration.
- No abrasives – Avoid Comet, Ajax, Bon Ami, and other powders that can scratch.
- No acid cleaners – Anything with lemon, vinegar, or other acids will etch quartz.
- No alkaline cleaners – Degreasers and oven cleaners are too harsh.
- No Magic Eraser – Despite its gentleness, it will dull quartz’s shine.
Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Quartz?
Yes, vinegar is safe for cleaning quartz counters when used properly. White distilled vinegar can dissolve mineral deposits, water spots, soap scum, and some food stains. The key is to not let it sit too long. Wipe on undiluted vinegar, wait 2-3 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water. Prolonged exposure to acid can damage quartz over time.
How Do You Shine Up Quartz Countertops?
If quartz has lost its polished luster, there are a few options to restore its shine:
- Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray over entire surface and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
- Use a powdered quartz countertop polishing compound following package directions. Avoid wax-based polishes.
- Try a dob of toothpaste on a rag to polish small spots. Rinse thoroughly after.
- Protect shine by applying a countertop sealer every 1-2 years. Reseal anytime water is no longer beading on the surface.
How Often Should You Seal Quartz Countertops?
Sealing is not mandatory for quartz like it is for natural stone, but it can help improve stain resistance and make cleaning easier. Most experts recommend sealing quartz every 1-2 years. Look for a water-based sealer made specifically for quartz. Reapply anytime moisture no longer beads and rolls off the countertop. Avoid film-forming sealers.
Can You Use Bleach on Quartz Countertops?
It is not recommended to use bleach or chlorine-based cleaners on quartz countertops. The chemicals can react with the resin used to bind the quartz together and cause discoloration or etching of the surface over time. For tough stains, try a hydrogen peroxide cleaner instead. If bleach spills on the countertop, rinse immediately with clean water.
Does Quartz Stain Easily?
One of the advantages of quartz over natural stone is that it is less prone to staining. The non-porous surface resists absorption of oils, juices, wine, and other liquids. However, prolonged exposure can still result in some staining. The key is to wipe up spills quickly before they have a chance to set.
How Do You Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops?
For light stains:
- Spray with soapy water and wipe with a non-abrasive sponge or magic eraser.
- Make a baking soda and water paste and gently rub spot with a soft cloth.
- Use hydrogen peroxide cleaner according to package directions.
For stubborn stains:
- Make a poultice with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Apply to stain and cover with plastic wrap overnight before rinsing.
- Use a commercial quartz stain remover product. Check label to ensure it is safe for quartz.
- As a last resort, carefully try a polishing compound. Test first in an inconspicuous spot.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry the countertop after applying any cleaning solutions.
Does Quartz Need to Be Resealed?
Resealing quartz countertops is not strictly necessary but can be beneficial for improving stain resistance and filling in micro-scratches to renew shine. Most experts recommend resealing quartz every 1-2 years, especially in busy kitchens. Use a water-based sealer specifically formulated for quartz.
Quartz offers luxury countertop beauty with less maintenance needs than natural stone. Simple routine cleaning with mild soap and water is usually enough to keep these counters looking like new. For occasional deep cleaning, use appropriate cleaners and methods to safely remove buildup without damaging the surface. Avoid abrasives and harsh chemicals not meant for engineered stone. With proper care, quartz countertops will maintain their beauty and durability for many years.
FAQs about Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Is it okay to use Windex on quartz?
Windex is safe for cleaning quartz surfaces. The formula contains ammonia which helps cut through grease and soap scum. Use a soft cloth and spray Windex directly onto the cloth instead of the countertop. Avoid using on an everyday basis.
What happens if you use the wrong cleaner on quartz?
Harsh cleaners with acids, abrasives, or degreasers can damage quartz surfaces. This may show up as etching, pitting, dulled areas, or white hazy spots. Discoloration is also possible if bleach is used. Always test a new cleaner on an inconspicuous area first.
How can you remove hard water stains from quartz?
For hard water marks, wipe undiluted white vinegar on the stain and wait 2-3 minutes before rinsing. For stubborn buildup, make a poultice using baking soda and vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Apply to marks, cover with plastic wrap, and leave overnight before rinsing.
What is the best way to clean quartz countertops daily?
The best daily cleaner for quartz is a mild soap and water solution. Mix a couple drops of dish soap in warm water and wipe down the counter with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Rinse thoroughly to avoid residue buildup. Avoid abrasive scrubbing.
Is a magic eraser safe for quartz?
Yes, Magic Erasers can be used to gently remove some stains from quartz surfaces. Rub lightly and avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent dulling the finish. Be sure to wring eraser out well so it is just slightly damp. Test first on a small inconspicuous spot.
How do you clean dried food or grease from quartz?
Dried-on food and greasy stains need a degreasing cleaner to remove from quartz. Spray stainless steel cleaner or mix baking soda and dish soap into a paste. Let sit for 5 minutes before wiping away. Rinse thoroughly afterwards and dry.
How do you sanitize quartz countertops?
To sanitize quartz, first clean with soap and water, then spray with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution. Allow to sit wet for 5 minutes before wiping dry with a clean cloth. Hydrogen peroxide cleaners will also sanitize without leaving residue.
How can you make quartz look new again?
To restore quartz’s original shine, use a powdered quartz polish product following package instructions. Alternately, rub toothpaste in small circles with a soft rag to polish minor spots, then rinse. You can also apply a resealing product made for quartz about once a year.
Things to Avoid with Quartz Countertops
As a high-end engineered stone, quartz countertops require some special care to keep them looking pristine. Here are some things to avoid:
Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals
Quartz contains resins that can be damaged by certain cleaning products. Avoid abrasive powders, alkaline degreasers, acids, and bleach that could etch or discolor the surface.
Don’t Let Spills Sit
While quartz resists stains, prolonged exposure to spills can still allow discoloration. Be sure to wipe up food, drinks, oils, etc right away.
Don’t Use Film-Forming Sealers
Sealers made for natural stone will create a waxy buildup on quartz. Use water-based sealers specifically made for engineered stone instead.
Don’t Drag Appliances or Cookware
Quartz is scratch resistant but not scratch proof. Heaving dragging can dull the surface and create permanent marks over time. Use trivets and hot pads.
Don’t Use Knives Directly on the Surface
Protect your counters – always use a cutting board for food prep. Cutting directly on the quartz will dull knives and damage the surface.
Don’t Place Hot Pans Straight Out of the Oven
Thermal shock from extremely high temps can damage quartz. Always use trivets or allow cookware to cool slightly before setting it down.
With proper care, your quartz counters can stay looking like new for many years. Be gentle, wipe spills quickly, and use only approved cleaners. Following these dos and don’ts will help your quartz counters retain their beauty and value.
How to Remove Specific Stains from Quartz Countertops
Quartz is less prone to staining than other countertop materials, but spills can still occur. Here are tips for removing common stains from quartz surfaces:
Coffee and Tea Stains
Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a spreading paste. Apply to the stain and allow to bubble for 5 minutes before rinsing. The peroxide will lift the stain and baking soda will absorb discoloration.
Fresh stains can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide cleaner. For dried stains, make a baking soda poultice by adding just enough water to form a spreadable paste. Apply to wine stain, cover with plastic wrap, and leave overnight before rinsing.
Oil and Grease Spills
Degrease with an all-purpose spray cleaner or mix a couple tsp dish soap with warm water. Use a soft cloth or sponge in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly afterwards and dry. For tough grease, let degreaser soak for 5 minutes before scrubbing.
Markers and Pen
Spray hairspray onto a soft cloth and dab the stain repeatedly until it lifts. Alternately, scrub with toothpaste using a damp rag, then rinse. Avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent dulling the finish.
Mix a paste of baking soda and water and use a soft cloth to gently rub the stain. Alternatively, use undiluted white vinegar and blot with paper towels until the discoloration lifts. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
Hard Water Marks
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Lightly mist the buildup and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes before wiping and rinsing. For stubborn deposits, make a poultice as described above.
With prompt attention and proper methods, most stains can be removed from quartz surfaces. Be sure to test cleaners in an inconspicuous spot first to ensure they are safe for quartz.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops Long-Term
Caring for your quartz counters properly will keep them looking pristine for decades. Here are some tips for maintaining their long-term beauty:
- Clean up spills promptly to prevent stains from setting. A quick wipe is faster than needing to scrub later.
- Rinse thoroughly after cleaning to avoid residue buildup that can get grimy over time.
- Avoid using abrasive pads or scrub brushes that could create subtle scratches. A soft sponge or cloth is best for daily wiping.
- Use trivets, hot pads, and cutting boards to protect from thermal shock, knives, pans, and other objects that could scratch.
- Reseal quartz about once a year with a water-based sealer specifically made for engineered stone. This enhances stain resistance.
- Don’t let cleaners, toothpaste, soap scum, vinegar or lemon juice sit too long. Prolonged exposure can etch quartz.
- For a quick shine-up in between deep cleaning, rub a damp microfiber cloth with a dab of glass cleaner over the surface.
- Do a routine deep cleaning 1-2 times per year using baking soda paste, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide based cleaners to remove buildup.
- Avoid putting extremely hot pans directly on quartz. Allow cookware to cool for a few minutes first to prevent cracking or discoloration.
By being careful day-to-day and doing regular maintenance, your quartz counters will retain their smooth finish and resistance to stains and etching. With proper care, quartz countertops can stay looking new for many years.
Quartz delivers the look of natural stone with less maintenance. While highly durable, some care is still required to keep these counters clean, shiny, and damage-free. Be sure to use only approved cleaners and methods. Avoid prolonged exposure to acids or scrubbing with abrasives. Wipe spills promptly and rinse thoroughly after cleaning. With regular care, quartz countertops will retain their sophisticated appearance and last for decades in your kitchen or bathroom. Follow these tips and enjoy the beauty of quartz for years to come.