Quartz countertops are a sleek and highly customizable addition to any kitchen. They also boast more durability than natural stone options and similar aesthetic appeal. That said, quartz countertops need to be regularly cleaned to maintain their appearance (and, you know, for sanitary reasons), and if you take the wrong approach, irreversible damage is a possible outcome. Without further ado, here’s how to clean quartz countertops the right way, according to a pro.
How to Clean Quartz Countertops the Right Way, According to an Expert
Meet the Expert
First, Determine If Your Countertops Are Quartz or Quartzite
The expert tells us that it’s important to determine whether your countertops are made of quartz or quartzite because, despite their similar sound, these two materials are quite different and don’t have the same care and maintenance requirements. “Quartz countertops are engineered using a blend of natural quartz crystals and a polymer resin. They are non-porous, highly durable, and resistant to staining. Quartzite, on the other hand, is a natural stone formed through the metamorphism of sandstone under intense heat and pressure. It has a beautiful appearance but is porous and more susceptible to stains, especially from acidic substances, so it requires regular sealing,” explains Rubin.
So how can you tell what you’re working with? If you don’t know, there’s a good chance it’s quartz—namely because, although quartz is considered to be a high-end countertop choice, it is more budget-friendly than the natural stuff (i.e., quartzite). According to the folks at Caesarstone, another way to tell is by the color: Quartzite is only available in shades of white and gray, while quartz can be found in pretty much any hue you can think of. Finally, quartz countertops will have a more uniform appearance; quartz can be flecked and veined to imitate the look of quartzite but these flecks and grains will make a uniform pattern, whereas these markings will be scattered and random on real quartzite.
Products to Avoid When Cleaning Quartz Countertops
As previously mentioned, quartz is more durable and less prone to damage than quartzite. Still, it’s not indestructible. Per the expert, you should avoid anything abrasive, including scouring pads and abrasive cleaners with harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia, which can “damage the resin in quartz, leading to discoloration and dullness.” (So Windex and Clorox wipes are out.)
Similarly, it’s best to avoid any acidic substances, like vinegar and cleaners that contain citrus, as these can “cause etching on quartz surfaces, ruining the polished finish.” Alas, most commercial cleaning products contain one of the aforementioned forbidden ingredients, so you might be wondering what you can use. Rubin tells us that your best bet is to simply use a gentle combination of mild dish soap and water. Easy enough, right?
How to Clean Quartz Countertops
Now that you know the basic dos and don’ts, let’s get into the actual cleaning process. See below for a blessedly simple step by step guide to cleaning quartz countertops, courtesy of a household cleaning pro.
- Mix a small amount of mild dish soap with warm water to create an effective and safe cleaning solution.
- Dampen a soft cloth or sponge with the soapy solution and wipe down the countertop to remove dirt and spills.
- Rinse the cloth with clean water and wipe the surface again to remove any soap residue.
- Promptly dry the countertop with a clean, dry cloth to prevent water spots.
How to Remove Stains From Quartz Countertops
The above process should be part of your go-to cleaning routine, but a soapy wipe down may not be enough to tackle some of the tougher stains on your quartz countertops. Fortunately, Rubin has a few safe and effective stain removal strategies. Identify the stain and then pick from one of the following targeted solutions below. (And remember, if you always promptly blot spills with a clean cloth, you can prevent staining and penetration and spare yourself the hassle!)
- For Oil-Based Stains: Rubin says baking soda is your best bet here, as its gentle abrasiveness and absorptive power can help lift the stain. As such, she recommends you create a paste of baking soda and water, apply a generous amount to the stain and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before wiping it away. Repeat if necessary, and if it’s still not working, proceed to the tough stain method.
- For Tough Stains: If baking soda and water didn’t cut it, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Per Rubin, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can be used to make a paste with even more stain-fighting power. Mix up your paste, apply it to the stain and leave it for an hour before you wipe it away.
- For Ink or Dye Stains: You got a little too excited while labeling leftovers and now there’s ink on your quartz countertop. Good news: You can gently remove that unsightly stain by using a non-abrasive rubbereraser to make it disappear without scratching the surface.
- For Sticky Residues: When it comes to sticky, crusted on crud, Rubin recommends using a plastic putty knife to carefully scrape the sticky residue off the surface of your countertops before following up with a soapy water solution—just remember to use as light a touch as possible.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops
Water stains, discoloration, scratches, heat damage—durable though it is, your quartz countertop is no stranger to kitchen danger. Minimize the risk of damage with some basic preventative measures, like always using cutting boards for food preparation, trivets for hot cookware and coasters for cold drinks. Finally, remember to always wipe up spills right away to prevent staining or etching, and use the expert-approved, mild soap cleaning method on the regular to prevent build-up and maintain the surface’s luster.