Move over marble and granite – there’s a different countertop material dominating today’s kitchens: Quartz. Engineered quartz has displaced the traditional stone choices thanks to its durability, stylishness and the fact that it is manmade.
These great qualities will undoubtedly keep it at the top of the list for most consumers. Despite the fact that it’s easier to maintain than the other stone options, learning how to clean quartz countertops is key to preserving their good looks and longevity.
What is Quartz?
Knowing a little about your material helps in knowing how to clean quartz countertops. Given its name and appearance, you might think that it is derived from Quartzite, but that’s only partly true.
Quartzite the mineral is formed when sandstone that contains quartz is exposed to high heat and pressure over time, much as a diamond is formed. On the other hand, engineered quartz is made in a factory by mixing about 90 to 95 percent quartz with resins, binding agents and pigments. It’s more sustainable because instead of mined slabs of stone, the quartz mixture uses waste from mining industries.
How to Clean Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops certainly have a lot of plusses: They are nonporous and won’t be affected by bacteria or mold and mildew. They also don’t need to be sealed to repel stains. That said, they do require care and to keep them looking great and to preserve your investment, you need to know how to clean quartz countertops. Before you get started, gather up everything you might need:
- Mild dish soap
- Soft cloths or microfiber cloths
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Glass or surface cleaner
- Plastic kitchen scraper or plastic putty knife
- Kitchen degreaser
- Goo Gone
On a Regular Basis
Not surprisingly, regular maintenance is the best way to start cleaning quartz countertops. You definitely want to wipe the surface with a damp cloth after every use.
Be sure to clean up spills right away using some mild dish soap and a soft cloth. Although this type of surface is not prone to stains from acidic liquids like wine, citrus juices or vinegar, it’s best not to let them linger on the surface.
If you have large or persistent stains, use the glass or surface cleaner to rub them out using a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge. If the spill has dried on the surface of the countertop, try using a kitchen scraper or plastic putty knife to scrape it off. This will work not only for dried food but also gum, paint or anything else that can’t just be wiped up with a cloth or sponge. After you’ve scraped up the mess, clean it with dish soap or glass cleaner.
Tackle Greasy Messes
Sometimes a greasy mess can’t be fully cleaned up with just dish soap. When that happens, use a kitchen degreaser to remove it from the quartz countertop. Follow the instructions on the container of the particular brand you purchased. Be sure to rinse the surface when you’re through.
Erase Permanent Markers
The kitchen counter is a popular spot for family projects and schoolwork, so it’s possible that at some point, you’ll have to deal with a stain from a marker or Sharpie. Stains caused by permanent markers can be removed, despite their ominous name. Any stubborn marker can be removed with a commercial product such as Goo Gone and lots of care. Countless other remedies can be found online ranging from eraser sponges to bug spray, but be careful: Test anything you want to use in an inconspicuous spot before going to town on a stain in the middle of your countertop.
A Deeper Clean
Even if you know how to clean quartz countertops on a regular basis, it’s still important to give them a deeper cleaning every once in a while. This is less complicated than what’s required for some other types of countertop materials. All you need to do is generously spray the countertop with a nonabrasive surface cleaner and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, just wipe it all away with a nonabrasive sponge.
Things to Avoid
Considering how to clean quartz countertops, the things you shouldn’t do are almost more important than the things you should do because you don’t want to damage your countertops by using the wrong products or supplies.
- Anything Abrasive. Whether it’s a scrubbie, an abrasive cleaner or a scrubbing pad – just don’t! This is the easiest way to scratch the countertop and mar the finish. If you’re trying to remove a stain and need some extra power, you can use a cleaning product, but make sure that it is gentle and meant to be used on quartz. You also want to avoid scrubbing too hard. Although you might need some extra elbow grease to remove a stain, don’t go overboard.
- Acid or Alkaline Cleaning Products. Products and liquids that are very acidic or very alkaline can eat away at the quartz-resin bond. Things that can damage quartz include dishwasher rinse agents, nail polish remover and drain cleaner, along with oven cleaners and strong bleach solutions. That said, a very mild bleach solution is acceptable to use on quartz countertops. If you spill a damaging substance on your countertop, be sure to wipe it up right away and rinse the area with water very thoroughly.
- Hot pots. Don’t even think about putting a hot pot down on your quartz countertop without using a trivet. While engineered quartz is made to resist and scorching, the resins used to make it can melt at temperatures above 300 degrees, which means just about every hot pot is a no-go. Leaving a hot pot on a quartz countertop can even cause cracking! If you’re using a small appliance that gets hot, be sure to place a hot pad underneath to protect the quartz.
- Using knives. With the hard smooth surface that engineered quartz provides, it might be tempting to chop up some vegetables right on the countertop. Do not do it. Using a knife on a quartz countertop will scratch and nick the surface.
- Indoors only. Another “don’t” for engineered quartz is outdoor use. Most warranties don’t cover using it in outdoor spaces because sunlight and the outdoor elements can fade the surface as well as cause it to split and warp.
All in all, your engineered quartz countertops are a great investment because of their stylish appearance and durability and they don’t take a lot of extra work to maintain. With a little education in how to clean quartz countertops and some common sense caution, you’ll have many years of use and enjoyment.