Quartz countertops are popular in many homes today thanks to their durability, scratch resistance, and variety of colors and patterns. However, like any surface, quartz countertops require proper cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best. Using the wrong cleaners can actually damage quartz and cause discoloration or etching over time. So what is the best cleaner for quartz countertops?
A Brief Overview of Quartz Countertops
Before diving into cleaners, let’s first understand what quartz countertops are made of. Quartz countertops are engineered stone slabs created from crushed quartz blended with resins and pigments. The exact ratio varies by manufacturer, but high-quality quartz contains over 90% ground quartz and about 10% polymer resins.
The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a durable, non-porous surface. The resin makes quartz more flexible and resistant to cracks and chips. Quartz slabs are molded into countertops and other surfaces using heat and pressure.
Compared to natural stone like granite, quartz is less porous, harder, and less prone to staining. The non-porous resin coating prevents moisture and bacteria from seeping into the material. However, quartz can be damaged by sharp impacts, acidic substances, or abrasive cleaners that scratch the surface.
Choosing the Best Cleaner for Quartz Countertops
When selecting a cleaner for quartz, it’s important to avoid products containing acidic or abrasive ingredients that could etch or dull the surface over time. Here are the key factors to look for in a quartz countertop cleaner:
pH Neutral: Acidic cleaners have a low pH that can damage and corrode quartz resin. Look for cleaners specifically formulated with a neutral pH around 7.
Non-Abrasive: Avoid cleaners with gritty abrasives that could scratch the quartz surface. Opt for a gentle cleaner without abrasives.
No Bleach or Ammonia: Bleach and ammonia are too harsh for everyday use on quartz. They can discolor or degrade the resin binders.
Designed for Stone/Quartz: Choose a cleaner made specifically for engineered stone and quartz materials. Generic cleaners may be too acidic or abrasive.
Rinse-Free Formula: Many quartz cleaners don’t require rinsing after use, making maintenance quick and hassle-free.
Recommended Cleaners for Quartz Countertops
Here are some of the best cleaners for quartz countertops:
Mild Dish Soap and Water
For routine cleaning, a mild dish detergent diluted in warm water works well for quartz. Avoid dish soaps with additives like bleach or antibacterial ingredients. Use a soft microfiber cloth to gently clean the surface. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
Many reputable companies like Bona, Method, Clean En Counters, and StoneTech make excellent stone cleaners that are safe for quartz. Read the label to confirm the pH is neutral and no abrasives are present. Spray the cleaner on the surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
50/50 Vinegar and Water Solution
A highly diluted vinegar and water solution is a natural option for cleaning quartz. Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. After cleaning, immediately wipe down with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly. Never let vinegar sit on the surface.
As a mild bleach alternative, hydrogen peroxide can disinfect and brighten quartz countertops. Mix 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 4 parts water and wipe onto the surface with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly. Use hydrogen peroxide cleaner sparingly, as frequent use can degrade the resin.
For spot cleaning and disinfecting, use a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water. Wipe the area thoroughly with a soft cloth dampened with the solution. Rinse and dry the surface immediately after cleaning to prevent any residue from building up.
Cleaners to Avoid on Quartz Countertops
Just as important as choosing the right cleaners is avoiding products that can damage quartz:
- Window cleaners like Windex that contain ammonia
- Abrasive scrubbing pads or powders
- Acidic cleaners with citric acids or vinegars
- Bleach-based cleaners like Clorox wipes
- Oil soaps or wax-based cleaners
- Bathroom cleaners and mildew removers
- Any cleaner that requires extended contact or drying time on the surface
Using these harsh cleaners, even infrequently, risks etching, discoloring, and weakening the quartz over time.
Best Practices for Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Follow these tips to properly care for quartz countertops:
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent stains, especially from coffee, wine, oil, and acidic liquids like lemon juice.
- Clean surfaces regularly with a gentle quartz-safe cleaner and soft cloth.
- Use a nonabrasive sponge or soft-bristled brush for stubborn spots.
- Rinse off surface cleaners thoroughly after use.
- Blot dried spills with a damp cloth, then clean as normal. Don’t scrub aggressively.
- For a thorough deep clean, use a mild degreasing dish soap diluted with warm water.
- Disinfect surfaces occasionally with diluted hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.
- Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, drain cleaners, etc.
- Use trivets and cutting boards to protect quartz from heat damage and knicks.
- Don’t cut directly on the countertop surface.
Simple DIY Quartz Cleaner Recipes
Looking to save money on cleaning supplies? Here are two easy homemade cleaner recipes specifically designed for quartz:
- 1⁄4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tsp mild dish soap
- 2 cups warm water
- 1⁄2 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 5-10 drops essential oil (optional for smell)
Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray a small amount onto a soft cloth and wipe down the quartz surface. Rinse thoroughly with plain water and dry with a soft cloth.
How Often Should I Clean Quartz Countertops?
In general, quartz countertops should be cleaned 1-2 times per week with a soft cloth and mild soap and water. For high-traffic kitchens, it’s best to wipe down surfaces daily. Immediately wipe up any spills as they occur.
Do a deep clean monthly using a quartz-safe degreasing cleaner to remove any residual buildup and keep the countertop looking new. If properly cared for, quartz countertops can look pristine for over 15 years.
Answering Common Questions about Cleaning Quartz
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about keeping quartz countertops clean:
Can I use lemon juice or vinegar to clean quartz?
It’s best to avoid acidic cleaners like lemon juice, vinegar, or citrus oils which can etch and dull quartz over time. For occasional use, highly dilute with water and rinse immediately. Never let acids sit on the countertop.
What removes stubborn stains from quartz?
Tough stains like dried food or grease marks can be removed with a gentle scrub using a soft cloth, warm water, and a few drops of mild dish detergent. Avoid abrasive scrubs. For dried spills, let a damp cloth soak on the spot for a few minutes before scrubbing.
Is rubbing alcohol safe for cleaning quartz?
Yes, diluted solutions of rubbing alcohol are considered quartz-safe when rinsed promptly after use. Make a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and water for an effective disinfectant. Avoid alcohol-based cleaners with added oils or fragrances.
Are magic erasers okay to use on quartz?
Magic erasers are too abrasive for quartz and can dull the surface. Their melamine foam construction is designed to scrub off top layers of material. Instead use a non-abrasive sponge and mild dish soap if needing to scrub a spot.
How do I remove hard water marks from quartz?
Hard water deposits can be removed by wiping the surface with a cloth dipped in diluted white vinegar. Immediately rinse with water and dry thoroughly. For stubborn hard water stains, use a quartz cleaner formulated for removing minerals.
Can I use bleach to disinfect a quartz countertop?
Bleach is too harsh for quartz surfaces, even diluted. The sodium hypochlorite in bleach can yellow and pit the resin binders in quartz over time. Opt for hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based cleaners when disinfecting.
What should I use for polishing and sealing quartz?
Quartz does not require polishing or sealing like natural stone. The resin coating makes quartz non-porous so sealants aren’t necessary. Using wax or polish can create a film and attract dirt. Simple mild soap and water keeps quartz countertops looking their best.
Achieving Sparkling Clean Quartz Surfaces
With the proper care and cleaning, quartz countertops can stay looking pristine and avoid damage from etching, scratches, and discoloration. Be sure to use a gentle pH neutral stone cleaner and soft cloth when wiping down surfaces. Immediately rinse off any acidic kitchen cleaners. For spot cleaning, use a diluted mix of rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or mild dish soap. With regular light maintenance, you can enjoy stunning quartz countertops for years to come.
Summarizing the Key Points on Cleaning Quartz Countertops:
- Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz bound with polymer resin. It’s harder and less porous than natural stone.
- Avoid acidic, abrasive, or harsh alkaline cleaners that can degrade and damage the quartz surface over time.
- Look for pH neutral stone cleaners specifically formulated without bleach, ammonia, acids, or abrasives. Popular brands include Bona, Method, Clean En Counters, StoneTech.
- For routine cleaning, mild dish soap and water works well. Wipe the surface with a soft cloth and rinse thoroughly.
- Disinfect occasionally with diluted hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol/water solutions.
- Immediately wipe up spills, especially from acidic substances like wine, coffee, juice. Blot dried spills before scrubbing gently.
- Deep clean monthly with a degreasing stone soap to remove any residue buildup or grime.
- Never use abrasive pads, magic erasers, bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, or multi-purpose cleaners on quartz.
- With proper maintenance using quartz-safe cleaners, quartz countertops will stay beautiful for over 15 years.
FAQs About Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cleaning quartz countertops:
Can I use regular kitchen cleaners on my quartz countertop?
No, you should avoid using regular kitchen cleaners like Windex, Lysol wipes, bleach cleaners, scrubbing powders, etc. These can contain abrasives, acids, ammonia, or other harsh ingredients that can etch or fade quartz over time. Always use a cleaner specifically formulated to be safe for quartz surfaces.
How do I remove dried or stuck-on food from my quartz countertop?
For dried on messes, let a damp cloth or paper towel soak on the area for several minutes to soften the food residue. Then gently scrub using a soft cloth, warm water, and a couple drops of mild dish soap. Avoid using too much pressure or scrubbing too aggressively. The quartz surface should not be damaged if using proper cleaning methods.
What is the best way to sanitize my quartz countertop?
To disinfect your quartz countertop, use a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl rubbing alcohol and water. Or make a diluted hydrogen peroxide cleaner with 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water. Wipe the solution over the surface with a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly with plain water after sanitizing. Avoid bleach-based cleaners which can damage resin binders.
How can I remove hard water stains from my quartz countertop?
Hard water spots can be removed by wiping the surface with a cloth dipped in a 50/50 mixture of warm water and white vinegar. Let the vinegar solution sit for several minutes before scrubbing. Rinse immediately with plain water and thoroughly wipe dry. For tough hard water stains, use a specialty quartz cleaner formulated to dissolve mineral deposits. Be careful not to leave vinegar sitting too long, as the acid can etch quartz.
Can quartz countertops be damaged by heat?
Yes, quartz can be damaged by excessive heat. Prolonged direct exposure to temperatures above 150°F can cause cracks, marks, or discoloration. Always use trivets and hot pads when placing hot pans, baking dishes, or other heat generating items on quartz. Avoid exposing the countertop to open flames. Quartz stands up to normal use around the kitchen, but the resins can degrade under extreme heat.
How often should I clean my quartz countertops?
For regular maintenance, quartz countertops should be cleaned about 1-2 times per week using a soft cloth, mild soap, and water. Wipe up spills as soon as they occur. Do a thorough deep cleaning on a monthly basis to keep the quartz free of residue buildup or grime. More frequent cleaning may be needed for heavy-use kitchens.
What’s the best way to remove oil stains from my quartz countertop?
To remove greasy oil stains from quartz, first blot up any excess oil still on the surface using a paper towel or rag. Then apply a small amount of mild dish soap directly onto the stain and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub using a damp soft cloth and rinse clean with water. Avoid abrasive scrubbers. Repeat if needed for stubborn oil marks but the soap should dissolve the grease.
Can I use vinegar, lemon juice, or other acids to clean my quartz countertops?
It’s best to avoid using vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic cleaners on your quartz countertop. While diluted solutions may be okay for occasional use if promptly rinsed, acidic cleaners can ultimately etch and pit the surface of quartz over time. For a safer option, look for a pH neutral stone cleaner specifically formulated for quartz.
Quartz countertops add beauty and durability to any kitchen or bath when properly cared for. By using non-abrasive pH neutral cleaners and avoiding harsh chemicals, you can safely keep quartz surfaces sparkling for years. With some gentle cleaning habits like wiping spills quickly and cleaning regularly with soft cloths, your quartz countertop will continue looking fresh and pristine. Just take care to select the right quartz-safe soaps and detergents, and your countertops will shine for decades to come.