If you’ve recently had quartz countertops installed or just moved into a house with them already in place, you’ve probably heard all about how low maintenance they are — and it’s true, they are pretty easy to care for. However, low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance, and there are still some things to know about how to properly clean and care for your quartz to keep it looking as good as it does now.
The reason quartz is a little lower maintenance in comparison to granite, marble or quartzite countertops is that while those are all natural stone, quartz countertops are an engineered amalgam of natural and artificial materials. Manufacturers take a mix of about 90% ground quartz and fill the remaining 10% with resins, polymers and pigments to form into that (literally) rock solid, gleaming surface you have before you. The advantage of this over natural stone is that quartz countertops are far less porous than marble or granite, and as such, don’t allow fluid to seep into the surface like those materials do.
That’s where quartz gets its low-effort reputation from — you generally don’t need to worry about sealing the surface, and stains are much easier to remove since it’s unlikely for that stain to seep below the surface.
Everything you need to know about caring for your quartz countertops
Again, stains can happen if you’re not careful, along with hazing, streaks and even damage to the surface if the wrong cleaner or cleaning technique is used. So, let’s get into it:
Avoid Common Household Cleaners:
Many of your average cleaning products you have sitting in a cabinet right now rely on harsh chemicals or high acidity to cut through stains, and unlike ceramic, laminates and metal fixtures, your quartz can be damaged by these chemicals. The resins and polymers that hold all that quartz together in your countertop can be broken down over time by these products, leading to a dulled, hazy finish, and opening you up to hard-to-remove stains.
Dish soap is certainly tempting to use, as you always have some on tap right there next to the sink, but these soaps can open you up to other problems. The problem with these products is that they’re not formulated to clean any stone surface and they tend to leave a translucent film on the surface of your countertops. These may not be noticeable at first, but can build up to make for a hazy surface that is lacking the shine that your countertops once had — or even still do in lower trafficked areas.
Use a Cleaner Made for Quartz and Natural Stone:
Formulated from the ground up for use on quartz, Granite Gold Quartz Brite® combines a streak-free, pH balanced cleaner with a biodegradable and non-toxic polish all-in-one bottle. This allows you to quickly and easily spray down and clean your counters, and leave them shiny and bright all at once — leaving your food-prep surface spotless and safe for the next meal.
To clean your quartz with this cleaner, spray directly onto the surface and buff to a shine with a paper towel or microfiber cloth, and then wipe the surface clear with a dry cloth. If that sounds easy, that’s because it really doesn’t get much easier than that without some Jetsons-esque technology. Also, more good news in the fact that this cleaner works great for other similar synthetic surfaces too, such as LG, Corian, Formica, ceramic and laminate — just avoid using it on floors, as the polish can make the surface slippery.
As an added bonus, that built-in polish actively makes your job cleaning the counters a little easier in the future, as sticky substances and stains have a harder time sticking to a smooth, polished surface. This is handy for being able to easily wipe away watermarks, soap scum and helps to resist any stain that is left to sit for one reason or another. Pretty handy, huh?
Use Soft Sponges/Towels, Nothing Abrasive:
While it might be tempting or even a little satisfying to go after a stubborn stain or soil build-up with a scouring pad or some steel wool, it’s not a good idea for quartz! While that awesome, shiny surface is pretty tough, it can still be scratched. These small abrasions might not be too noticeable at first, but they build up to make for a dull surface that has lost its luster and sheen in the light.
Also, once that surface has been abraded, you’re creating near ideal conditions for a difficult to remove stain to set in. Instead, try soaking a particularly stubborn spot with a wet towel with warm water or a stone-safe cleaner. If that doesn’t work or you’re impatient, take a look at our next tip below.
Keep a Plastic Putty Knife Handy:
This isn’t a bad little tool to keep in your junk drawer. Instead of going at a stubborn, crusty spot on the surface of your quartz with a scouring pad or a knife, you can use a plastic putty knife to scrape gunk away from the surface before wiping it clean.
That way you can get that tough, hardened food, a spill that was left to sit or a build-up of grease cleaned up without scratching or dulling that sleek surface. A nylon brush is another good tool to keep around, with the added bonus that it works particularly well on grout as well as the stone surface.
How to Remove a Stain on Quartz:
This isn’t an easy question to answer, really, as what might look like a stain at first may be damage to the surface of the counter. Acidic etching or other chemical damage often will look like a light-colored stain or bleaching, but this is physical damage and it may require professional help to rectify.
If you have a stubborn food or otherwise organic stain such as tea, then you have a few options for getting it up. Unlike granite or other natural stone, the stain luckily hasn’t seeped into the surface, so a poultice won’t be as helpful in lifting the stain (aside from the benefit of soaking the stubborn material). Warm water, a stone-safe, pH neutral cleaner and a nylon brush are your best bet for getting up surface stains.
It’s very important not to use harsh degreasers, oven cleaners, paint strippers or lactic-acid-based cleaners, as these can damage the surface as outlined above. For removing things like nail polish or super glue, short exposure to acetone can be OK just for getting the spot up. Just follow this up with a thorough rinse, and a stone safe cleaner as necessary to finish the job.
It’s a cheesy saying, but it really is true: knowledge is power. Now you know the few things not to do when keeping your quartz clean and looking its best, and you’ll see in practice that it really doesn’t take much to keep quartz looking great __ so long as you avoid these very specific pitfalls outlined above.
Want to know more, or there is something you’re still unsure of when it comes to taking care of your stone? Check out other helpful articles like this one in our resources section, and you can always call our stone-care experts at 1-800-475-STONE! And for other helpful products like Granite Gold Quartz Brite®, check out our full line of stone care products to make your life at home just a little easier.