Quartz countertops are popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, there are some cleaners and substances that should be avoided to prevent damaging the quartz surface. Here is an extensive guide on what not to use on quartz countertops.
Quartz countertops, made from crushed quartz combined with resins and pigments, have become a highly desired option for home renovation projects. Their non-porous nature makes them resistant to scratches, stains and heat. But despite their resilient properties, quartz countertops can get damaged if certain chemicals or cleaners are used on them. Being aware of what not to use on quartz can help preserve its flawless finish for years.
What is Quartz?
Before getting into what should be avoided, it is useful to understand exactly what quartz countertops are made of.
- Quartz is a mineral found abundantly in nature, made up of silicon and oxygen atoms.
- It is one of the hardest minerals available, ranking 7 out of 10 on Mohs hardness scale.
- For countertops, crushed quartz is combined with plastic resins and pigments.
- The resin binds the quartz particles together to form a durable, non-porous slab.
- Pigments add color and pattern to resemble natural stone.
- The resulting engineered stone is molded into countertops, making it resistant to stains, scratches and heat up to 212°F.
Knowing the makeup of quartz gives insight into how to properly care for it. Now let’s look at the substances to avoid.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Cleaners
Quartz is durable, but prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals can damage the resin binder. Here are the chemicals and cleaners to keep away from quartz surfaces:
Avoid getting oven cleaners like Easy-Off on quartz countertops. The caustic lye or bleach can discolor and erode the surface over time with repeated use.
While diluted bleach can occasionally be used for disinfection, avoid contact with undiluted, concentrated bleach. It can degrade and yellow the resin.
Stay away from strong solvents like acetone, paint thinner, benzene, and methylene chloride. These can dissolve the resin binder and leave permanent damage.
Oil and Grease Removers
Commercial degreasers and orange oil cleaners have intense formulas that can slowly break down quartz over time, especially around sinks.
Products with gritty textures or abrasive formulas are too harsh for quartz. They can create permanent scrapes and dullness on the surface.
Vinegar and Lemon Juice
While acidic products like vinegar or lemon juice can clean other surfaces, they will etch and erode quartz countertops with repeated use. Even a short exposure can damage the polish.
Hydrogen peroxide can bubble away stains, but prolonged contact will degrade the pigments in quartz, causing discoloration and clouding.
Stick to gentle pH-neutral cleaners free of dyed, abrasive or corrosive ingredients. Rinse any spills right away.
Be Careful with Heat
While quartz is heat resistant, subjecting it to extreme temperatures can cause damage over time.
- Use trivets or hot pads under hot pots and pans. Direct contact with high heat can scar the surface.
- Don’t place burning candles directly on quartz. The prolonged flame can singe the surface.
- Avoid setting very hot hair tools like curling irons or flat irons onto quartz, which can burn and crack the surface.
- Do not expose quartz to open flames. The intense heat can crack, bubble or burn the countertop.
Quartz stands up well to daily use with proper care. But be careful with scrubbing to avoid surface issues:
- Do not scrub aggressively with steel wool or scouring pads. It can slowly scratch and scuff the surface.
- Avoid using abrasive scrub brushes. Over time they can damage the quartz.
- Do not use polishing compounds or powdered cleansers that can scratch the polish.
- Use non-abrasive soft sponges and microfiber cloths instead for the safest cleaning.
Prevent Other Damage
There are a few other things to avoid in order to prevent accidental harm:
- Do not cut or chop directly on quartz counters. Use a cutting board to protect from scratches and nicks from cutlery.
- Avoid hard impacts from objects that can chip or crack quartz at the edges and seams.
- Take care to not drop heavy pots, pans or appliances on the countertop. The impact can damage quartz.
- Do not stand or put excess weight on quartz countertops, especially at seams, as it risks cracking.
With proper care, quartz countertops can stay looking pristine for decades in the home. Being mindful to avoid harmful cleaners, heat, scrubs and impacts will help the quartz maintain its durability and beauty. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and quartz will elegantly withstand years of use.
FAQs About What Not to Use on Quartz
Should I avoid using any acidic cleaners on quartz?
Yes, avoid acidic cleaners like vinegar, lemon juice, or cleaners containing these. Acids can etch and eat away the surface. Stick to mild pH-neutral cleaners instead.
Can I use powder cleansers like Comet or Soft Scrub on quartz?
No, avoid using powder cleansers or anything abrasive. The grit particles in them will dull and scratch the quartz over time. Use a non-abrasive sponge and mild detergent only.
Is it okay to cut directly on quartz countertops?
It’s best to avoid cutting or chopping directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to protect the surface from knife scratches and nicks.
Should I put down hot pots, pans or hair tools on quartz?
Use trivets or hot pads under any hot cookware, appliances or tools. Direct prolonged heat exposure can damage quartz surfaces over time.
Can I use whitening cleaners like bleach on quartz regularly?
Limit use of diluted bleach to occasional disinfecting. Frequent concentrated bleach exposure will degrade quartz resins over time causing discoloration.
Is it safe to place burning candles or cigarettes on quartz?
No, avoid placing open flames of any kind directly on quartz. Prolonged heat from candles or cigarettes can scar, burn or crack the surface.
Quartz offers homeowners a low maintenance yet stylish countertop option. But certain cleaners, heat, scrubs and impacts can ruin its appearance over time. Being mindful to avoid harsh chemicals, abrasives, direct high heat, and heavy objects will help quartz countertops retain their like-new sheen and durability for many years. Follow the recommendations in this guide and exercise care to safely enjoy durable, damage-free quartz surfaces in your home.