“OK, OK, just tell me how to not mess this up” is something I find myself saying a lot these days. I know I can figure most things out as I go along, but it does help to get a quick rundown on the dos, don’ts, and “no seriously, don’t do thats” before embarking on a new endeavor – especially one where there is such a big investment involved like we have here. It stands to reason that you’d want to keep yourself informed on how to make your investment last.
The truth of the matter is that quartz countertops (not to be confused with quartzite countertops, which are all natural stone) are generally pretty easy to maintain and keep looking new as long as you watch out for a few pitfalls. Quartz countertops are manufactured from crushed bits of natural quartz that are mixed with resin, bonding agents and various pigments to create a unique looking countertop each time. Since these aren’t solid slabs of natural stone like quartzite is, maintenance and cost is a bit easier.
What Not to Do When Maintaining Your Quartz Countertop:
1. Don’t Throw Away Your Warranty Certificate
There are a few factors at play here, but not all of them are immediately obvious. First of all, with this being an engineered material as opposed to natural stone, you are covered against manufacturer defects. It’s rare, but since your countertop is still an amalgam of material, separation can still occur.
The less obvious reason to keep that card around, though, is that they often have manufacturer-specific maintenance instructions to go along with their proprietary mix that goes into their countertops. Companies use different resin formulas and may have different care procedures that can not only help guarantee a long life for your countertop, but give you a leg to stand on if something does go wrong, putting you in a better place to prove you followed their recommended instructions.
2. Don’t Use Common Household Cleaners
This is a case of better safe than sorry. Most common household cleaners contain chemicals that don’t exactly play nicely with different polymers and resins holding the stone aggregate together, and that bond can be broken down over time. Plus, it’s important to remember that our countertops spend a lot of time as food-prep surfaces, and some of these caustic chemicals aren’t exactly the kind of thing most people want mixing in with their food.
One kind of cleaner I’d like to call out specifically to avoid is dish soap. Yes, it’s convenient to use, as you pretty much always have it on tap right next to your counters, but dish soap isn’t formulated to clean quartz, granite or any other stone surface, and it can have a gradual hazing effect on your counter. All of the above is why it’s important to use a cleaner that is formulated specifically for use on quartz, such as Granite Gold Quartz Brite®, which is non-toxic, pH balanced, streak free and completely biodegradable.
3. Don’t Scrub with Harsh Scouring Pads
While quartz countertops are known for being hardy and durable, the finish can still be marred and scratched by steel wool or a tough scouring pad. Again, this isn’t an effect you would likely notice after just one or two uses, but a gradual dulling effect that will set in after many cleanings.
With this being physical damage to the surface, it will take some real polishing to get out by a professional stone restoration specialist Your best bet is to use a stone-safe scrub sponge and some natural cleaner like found above, and for tough stains, don’t be afraid to soak them under a cloth for a few hours before getting back to scrubbing.
4. Don’t Use Sharp Metals for Cleaning
It’s pretty likely that some sort of paint or varnish work will be done around your countertops at some point, either during a kitchen remodel or other home maintenance. If some paint or another stubborn substance makes its way onto your countertops, it’s tempting to want to go at it with a razor blade or knife to chip it away, but that’s not the best idea.
Just like with steel wool, you can end up scratching and scoring that beautiful, shiny surface of your countertop, leading to again more elbow grease or having to open up your wallet to get it fixed. Instead, try to use a plastic knife or scraping tool.
Bonus Tip: Regularly polishing your countertops with a stone-safe polishing compound can help prevent stains and sticky substances from really grabbing onto the surface of your countertop, making your life easier down the road.
5. Don’t Seal Quartz Surfaces
On top of cost and ease of care, another advantage that quartz countertops have over natural stone like granite, marble and travertine is that quartz never needs to be sealed. Being that the countertops are manufactured with resins and polymers tightly binding the stone together, quartz aggregate countertops are not porous like natural stone surfaces are.
That means less worry of bacteria setting up camp in microscopic voids of the surface, no risk of water, or oil seeping in below the surface. This saves you even more money down the road, less work for you, and less time worrying whether a section of your countertop needs to be resealed in a certain spot.
How to Clean Quartz Countertops
Cleaning quartz is pretty easy, thankfully. Once you have the basic no-no’s established, and you have a non-acidic cleaner that is free of phosphates and ammonia, the routine is pretty straight forward:
First, wipe down any major spills and clear the surface with a dish towel or a sponge, and then go ahead and spray your Granite Gold Quartz Brite® directly onto the counter. From here you can buff the surface clean with a lint-free microfiber cloth to bring back the crystal clear shine.
Still want to learn more? Have other stone you’re not 100% positive on how to care for? Check out some other helpful articles we have like this one, or you can even reach out to one of our experts at 1-800-475-STONE. For stone care products you can trust from a company built upon decades of stone work and care, Granite Gold® has everything you need to make your investment last a lifetime, and look as good as the day it was installed. If you spend $45 or more, we’ll cover the shipping!