Quartz countertops are popular options for kitchens and bathrooms because of their durability, visual appeal, and low maintenance requirements. However, there are some things you should avoid doing on quartz countertops to prevent damage and keep them looking their best. This comprehensive guide will overview proper care and what to steer clear of when it comes to quartz countertop maintenance.
Introduction to Caring for Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are composed of ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders. The result is a nonporous, stain-resistant, and heat-tolerant surface ideal for heavy-use kitchen counters.
Unlike natural stone countertops, quartz requires very little maintenance beyond routine cleaning with mild soap and water. Quartz won’t need yearly sealing like granite or marble. However, there are still some best practices to follow and things to avoid on quartz counters. Paying attention to proper use and care will ensure your investment stays looking pristine for years.
What to Avoid to Prevent Damage
Though quartz is incredibly durable, it isn’t impervious to damage. There are some household products, tools, and activities that can scratch, etch, or dull quartz surfaces. Being aware of these potential hazards is key to keeping countertops flawless.
Avoid Abrasive Cleaners and Scouring Pads
The number one thing to avoid using on quartz is abrasive cleaners or scrub pads. Quartz counters are scratch-resistant, but not scratch-proof. Products containing grit, acids, or bleach can wear away the surface over time. Scouring pads like steel wool should never come in contact with quartz.
Instead, clean quartz surfaces using a soft cloth or sponge with plain soap and water or a specially formulated quartz cleaner. Always avoid bleach- or acidic-based cleaners.
Don’t Cut Directly on the Countertop
Avoid using your quartz counters as a cutting board. Knives can scratch, pit, and dull quartz surfaces with repeated use. Always use a separate cutting board for food preparation. Never cut or chop directly on your countertop.
Use Trivets and Hot Pads
Quartz can withstand brief exposure to moderate heat. However, prolonged direct contact with extremely hot pans, pots, or appliances can damage the solid surface finish. Prevent heat damage by always using trivets, hot pads, or mats when placing hot cookware on quartz counters.
Avoid exposing quartz to temperatures above 300°F. The resin binders can lose their grip over time with repeated exposure to extreme heat. Cracking or discoloration near the cooking zone may occur.
Don’t Use Countertop as a Workbench
It may be tempting to use your durable quartz counters as an impromptu workbench for home improvement projects. However, this can lead to preventable damage. Avoid placing tools, paint cans, nails, bolts, or construction debris directly on your counters. The solid surface and finish can become scratched, chipped, or stained.
Exercise Caution with Heavy Objects
Quartz is incredibly strong, but sudden impacts from extremely heavy objects can cause chips or cracks. Avoid dropping heavy pans, appliances, etc. directly on your quartz surface. When moving large, heavy objects across your counters, lift them instead of sliding to prevent accidental damage.
Take Care with Furniture Polish and Solvents
When cleaning and dusting around the kitchen, avoid getting furniture polish, paint strippers, turpentine, or harsh solvents on your quartz countertops. These can react with the solid surface finish and cause etching or discoloration that may be difficult to remove or repair.
Preventing Stains on Quartz Surfaces
One of the key benefits of quartz over natural stone is its nonporous quality that makes it stain resistant. However, prolonged exposure to certain substances can still cause stubborn staining issues over time. Here are some tips to avoid stains on quartz countertops:
- Wipe up spills immediately, especially oil, grease, wine, coffee, and other pigmented liquids. The sooner you clean up a spill, the less likely it will have a chance to soak in and stain.
- Avoid leaving toiletries like makeup, lotions, shampoos, perfumes, and toothpaste sitting directly on your counters. The dyes and oils can seep in over time. Wipe up any splatters or spills right away.
- Don’t let fruit juices, condiments, and sodas sit on quartz surfaces. Citric acids and pigments may etch or discolor the solid surface.
- Use cutting boards for slicing citrus fruits. The acidic juices can bond with quartz and cause permanent dull spots when cut directly on the counter.
- Minimize exposure to oil and grease. Immediately clean any splatters from cooking oils or greasy foods. An oil stain left too long can leave a stubborn mark.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like paint removers, drain cleaners, and oven cleaners. Only use cleaners specifically designed for quartz on your counters.
Maintenance Tips to Keep Quartz Pristine
With regular care and by avoiding damage-causing mistakes, quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years. Here are some handy maintenance tips:
- Inspect counters periodically for any signs of damage or wear. Address minor issues immediately before they worsen.
- Clean up spills right away, especially acidic substances like wine, fruit juice or oils that can stain over time.
- Use sealers/polishes made specifically for quartz every 6-12 months. This adds protective layers against etching or discoloration.
- Clean quartz surfaces frequently with a soft cloth, mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads.
- Disinfect counters regularly with a quartz-safe cleaner to inhibit bacteria growth in kitchens.
- Use trivets and cutting boards to prevent scratches, chips or heat damage. Never cut food directly on quartz counters.
- Avoid harsh impacts that can crack quartz. Do not drop heavy objects directly on the surface.
- Reseal joints every 1-2 years. Check for any gaps at seams and reapply color-matched caulk as needed.
- Inspect for signs of damage after repairs or renovations to other parts of the kitchen. Counters near construction zones are vulnerable.
What to Do If Damage Occurs
No matter how cautious you are, accidental damage may still occur on a quartz countertop surface. Here are some steps to try if you notice etching, scratches, chips or cracks:
- For light scratches, use a polishing kit specifically for quartz. Follow kit instructions carefully to buff out minor marks. Avoid polishing cleaners that contain abrasives.
- Reseal and protect the damaged area with a quartz sealing product. This adds a protective barrier.
- Consult a pro if polishing kits do not remove deeper scratches or chips. They may be able to grind and refinish the affected section.
- For cracks, chips or major damage, a full slab replacement may be required. Hire a countertop professional to remove and install a new quartz section.
- If damage is widespread, a full countertop refinishing or replacement may be necessary. Never try extensive repairs yourself.
Avoiding Heat Damage on Quartz Surfaces
Heat damage is one of the top causes of quartz countertop repair. Follow these pro tips to avoid discoloration, cracks, or loss of shine around cooking zones:
- Always use hot pads or trivets when placing hot pots or pans on quartz surfaces.
- Don’t leave appliances like crockpots, griddles or instant pots running for prolonged periods. Use a heat-resistant mat underneath.
- Avoid direct contact between quartz and extremely hot appliances like pressure cookers, waffle irons or deep fryers.
- Open oven doors slowly when removing hot trays or pans. Abrupt blasts of steam heat can damage quartz over time.
- Clean up any spills from boiling liquids right away. Prolonged heat exposure in one spot can be problematic.
- Inspect areas near heat sources periodically for signs of damage. Reseal these sections to add protection.
- Consider adding a backsplash guard behind cooking areas for extra insulation and spill protection. Stainless steel backsplashes work nicely with quartz.
Protecting Quartz Sink Areas
Kitchen and bathroom sinks see heavy usage daily, so quartz counters around sinks require some preventative measures against possible damage:
- Avoid abrasive scrubbers, instead use soft sponges, cloths and mild detergents to clean quartz sink surrounds.
- Rinse soap residue thoroughly. Don’t allow soapy cleaners to sit and dry on quartz near sinks.
- Wipe down counters near sinks frequently to prevent water spots and mineral build up.
- Check under mats or accessories for any moisture buildup. Trapped moisture can stain or damage quartz over time.
- Avoid bleach cleaners or harsh chemicals which can discolor and eat away solid surface material.
- Use sealants every 6 months on quartz areas near sinks to protect from drips, splashes and spills.
What to Avoid When Cleaning Quartz Countertops
To keep quartz counters damage-free, steer clear of these common cleaning mistakes:
- No bleach or acidic cleaners – Avoid products with lemon, vinegar, or other acids. Use pH-neutral cleaners labeled for use on quartz.
- No abrasive pads – Don’t use anything rougher than a soft cloth to scrub your counters. Avoid scouring pads, steel wool, and scrub brushes.
- No leaving spills untouched – Clean all spills promptly to avoid stains setting. Don’t allow food or liquids to linger.
- No harsh chemicals – Avoid paint removers, oven cleaners or drain decloggers. Only use quartz-approved cleaners.
- No dish soaps – Formulas that work well on dishes may be too harsh for quartz counters. Stick to specialized stone cleaners.
- No dragging objects – Always lift items instead of sliding them across quartz. This prevents scuffing and scraping.
- No direct high heat – Use trivets and mats. Avoid direct contact between quartz and pots, pans, or appliances over 300°F.
Quartz Countertop FAQs
Is it okay to cut on quartz countertops?
No, avoid cutting or chopping directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to prevent damaging the surface.
How do you remove dried food from a quartz countertop?
Gently scrape off any dried residue with a plastic putty knife or spatula, then clean with warm water and mild soap using circular motions. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
Can you use bleach to clean quartz?
No, never use bleach or chlorine-based cleaners on quartz. The chemicals can discolor and degrade the finish. Use a specially formulated quartz cleaner instead.
Do quartz countertops stain easily?
Quartz is nonporous and stain resistant, but not stain-proof. Prevent stains by promptly cleaning up spills, especially from oil, grease, wine, or food pigments.
How often should quartz countertops be sealed?
Quartz doesn’t require yearly sealing like natural stone. However, applying a protective quartz-safe sealer every 6-12 months helps boost stain resistance.
Can you use vinegar to clean quartz?
No, avoid vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic cleaners on quartz. Even though it has lower acidity than bleach, vinegar can still etch or dull the solid surface over time.
Quartz offers gorgeous worry-free countertops when properly cared for. By avoiding abrasive cleaners, high heat, harsh impacts, and following the maintenance tips provided, you can keep quartz surfaces in impeccable shape for years. Handle spills promptly, use trivets for hot items, and reseal periodically. With some simple preventative measures, quartz countertops will stay looking pristine and damage-free.