Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any countertop material, quartz can be susceptible to staining from certain foods and liquids. Understanding what causes stains on quartz allows homeowners to take preventative steps to keep their countertops looking like new.
Common Causes of Food Staining on Quartz Countertops
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are some of the most notorious stains on quartz countertops. The tannins in these beverages can leave behind a stubborn, brownish stain if left to sit. Warm coffee and tea seem to seep into the pores of the quartz more readily than colder beverages.
Wine and Juice
The pigments that give wines and fruit juices their vibrant colors can also lead to tenacious staining on quartz. Red wine, in particular, often leaves behind a pinkish discoloration. Even white wines and clear juices like lemonade may stain quartz if not cleaned up promptly.
Oil and Grease
Oils from cooking and greasy foods like bacon or fried eggs can create a buildup on quartz that leads to stubborn staining over time. The oil fills the pores of the quartz, causing yellowish discoloration that can be tricky to remove.
Tomatoes and Other Acidic Foods
Tomatoes, lemons, limes and other acidic ingredients may etch or discolor quartz countertops with continued exposure. Tomato sauce is especially prone to leaving behind a reddish stain. The acid in these foods can damage the finish of the quartz.
Spices and Seasonings
Ground spices and seasonings like turmeric, paprika and curry can impart a stubborn stain on quartz countertops. Mustard and ketchup may also discolor the surface. These types of stains often require more vigorous cleaning methods to lift.
Melted Plastic and Adhesives
Allowing plastic items or adhesives to melt onto the surface of quartz countertops almost always leads to permanent damage. The extreme heat chemically alters the quartz, creating discoloration and texture changes.
Preventing Food Stains on Quartz
While quartz countertops are fairly stain-resistant, some preventative steps will help keep them looking pristine:
- Wipe up spills immediately, especially wines, coffee and juices
- Use coasters under glasses and mugs
- Clean up oil splatters and grease from cooking promptly
- Avoid exposing the countertop to extremely hot items that may scorch the surface
- Use a chopping board for cutting foods to prevent acids from touching the quartz
- Clean with a gentle quartz-safe cleaner and soft cloth on a regular basis
- Re-seal and polish quartz countertops every 1-2 years per manufacturer recommendations
Removing Existing Food Stains from Quartz
If stains develop on quartz countertops, prompt cleaning is key for the best results. Here are some effective cleaning approaches:
Dish Soap and Warm Water
For minor stains, mix a few drops of dish soap into warm water. Apply it to the stain with a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid abrasive scrubbing.
Baking Soda or Hydrogen Peroxide Paste
For more stubborn stains, make a paste with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda is safer for colored quartz.
Cleaning Products Specifically Formulated for Quartz
Look for commercial cleaners made for quartz countertops. Products with chloric or oxalic acid can help break down and lift many common food stains without damaging the finish.
Call in a Professional
For etched or burnt stains that cleaning methods cannot remove, consider calling in a professional quartz restoration company. They have access to more aggressive techniques like mechanical polishing to resurface the damaged areas of quartz.
Tips for Minimizing Food Stains on Quartz
- Use trivets or hot pads under any heated cookware or serving dishes
- Keep the quartz sealed and polished per manufacturer guidelines
- Immediately dry any spills or splatters
- Avoid exposing the quartz to direct sunlight, which can fade the color
- Cut foods on a designated cutting board, not directly on the quartz
- Use placemats under dishes to contain spills and drips
Common Questions about Food Stains on Quartz Countertops
Can you remove oil stains from quartz countertops?
Yes, oil stains can be removed from quartz using a degreasing cleaner formulated for stone surfaces or a paste of baking soda and water. Aggressive scrubbing may be required along with letting the cleaner soak for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Do lemon juice stains come out of quartz?
If cleaned up quickly, lemon juice stains can be removed from quartz using soap and water or baking soda paste. If left for long periods, the acid may permanently etch the surface. Try a specialty stone cleaner to remove the stain, but etching may remain without professional refinishing.
What removes tomato stains from quartz?
For tomato stains, spray a stone-safe cleaner onto the quartz and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Use a soft cloth or sponge in circular motions to clean. Rinse thoroughly. If the stain persists, make a baking soda and water paste and scrub gently. Re-seal and polish the quartz after cleaning.
Can nail polish remove stains from quartz?
No, avoid using nail polish remover on quartz countertops. The acetone in the polish remover can damage the finish and discolor the surface. Specialty quartz cleaners are better options for stain removal.
How do you get dye transfer stains out of quartz?
If wet fabric stained the quartz surface, rinse immediately with water to dilute the dye. Then clean with dish soap and warm water or a quartz cleaner. For dried dye stains, use an oxalic acid-based cleaner specifically formulated for quartz and stone.
Quartz countertops are prone to staining from coffee, wine, oil, and acidic foods. Being diligent about cleaning spills right away is key to avoiding permanent discoloration. For existing stains, use a specialty stone cleaner along with non-abrasive scrubbing. Taking steps to prevent stains will help quartz countertops retain their beauty. Professional refinishing may be required for etched or burnt stains that cleaning cannot remove. With proper care and prompt stain removal, quartz countertops can stay looking like new for many years.