Do Quartz Countertops Stain?

Find out what substances may stain even nonporous quartz countertops

Quartz countertops in a modern white kitchen

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Quartz countertops are a premium option for the kitchen, with attractive patterns and a nonporous design that makes them highly resistant to stains. Natural stone countertops, like marble or granite, need to be regularly sealed to prevent liquids, oils, and other substances from seeping into the porous material, but this isn't necessary if the countertop is made of quartz.

This engineered material is made up of about 90 percent quartz crystals and about 10 percent resin binder. This composition creates a nonporous material that is resistant to staining, heat, and physical damage. It's also easier to keep clean than most other countertop options, as long as any spills and splatters are wiped up quickly.

So, if a quartz countertop is nonporous and stain-resistant, do quartz countertops stain? Use this guide to find out.

Do Quartz Countertops Stain?

Quartz countertops can stain if they are exposed to alkaline cleaners, high pH detergents, certain acids, nail polish, wax, makeup, and even some foods. However, staining typically only occurs if the substance is not immediately cleaned up.

Natural stone countertops are a common choice for kitchen countertops because of the attractive granite and marble patterns. But these materials are porous, so to prevent natural stone from staining it needs to be sealed about once a year. Quartz countertops have a similar appeal, with unique patterns, colors, and designs. This material is 90 percent quartz crystals and 10 percent resin binder. 

This composition creates a nonporous material that doesn't need to be sealed to prevent most staining. However, the resin binder that helps protect the quartz against most substances, is actually the reason why this material can stain.

Common Causes of Staining

The best way to prevent any problems with the quartz countertops is to simply learn the substances that could cause staining, then avoid using these substances near the countertops without appropriate protection.

Food and beverage spills are incredibly common issues in the kitchen. While most substances won't stain the quartz, wine, soda, orange juice, lemon juice, and other acidic foods and beverages can leave behind unsightly stains if they are not cleaned up quickly.

Oils, grease, and cooking additives, like vinegar, can also stain the quartz, though the most problematic substances are cleaning solutions. Harsh chemical cleaners, like bleach can leave stains and discoloration across the quartz, so it's important to avoid using these cleaners. Instead, opt for a pH neutral cleaner marketed specifically for cleaning quartz.

Quartz Countertop Stain Prevention

After identifying the most common substances that can stain quartz, prevention becomes much easier. The first step in protecting the quartz countertops is to invest in pH neutral cleaners. Ideally, the countertop cleaning solution should be made specifically for cleaning quartz. If the label doesn't mention this information, check the manufacturer's website or speak directly to the customer service department to determine if a product is right for quartz.

The next step in preventing stains is to set up appropriate protection for the countertop when it is in use. Avoid cutting or working directly on the quartz. Instead, lay down a towel and a cutting board during meal preparation to protect the quartz.

Finally, if a spill does occur, it's imperative that the spilled substance is cleaned up quickly. The less time the substance spends in contact with the countertop, the less likely it is that the quartz will become stained or discolored. With diligent cleaning, responsible meal preparation, and the appropriate cleaning agents, it's possible to keep the quartz completely stain free.

Quartz Countertop Stain Removal

In some cases a spill may go unnoticed, leading to an unsightly stain on the quartz countertop. While this isn't ideal, most minor stains can be removed with the appropriate cleaner, so you will need to identify the type of stain before proceeding.

  • Food and beverage stains should be cleaned with a soft cloth, warm water, and a mild, pH-neutral detergent. For stubborn stains, a non-abrasive cleaner made specifically for cleaning quartz countertops is the solution.
  • Oil and grease stains aren't as easy to remove as most food and beverage stains. You will need to apply a degreaser that is safe for use on quartz countertops. Read and follow the manufacturer's directions to determine how long to allow the degreaser to work before wiping it away with a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Ink, makeup, wine, and other substances may require the use of a specialized cleaner designed to target the specific stain. Check online or speak to an employee at the local home improvement store to find the right cleaning solution for these stains.

Once you know which substance caused the stain, apply the stain remover to the stained area of the quartz countertop. Read and follow the directions provided by the manufacturer to find out the best method for applying the cleaner and how long to leave the cleaner. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the area for particularly difficult stains, but avoid using abrasive cleaners. After the stain remover has had time to work, rinse the countertop thoroughly and wipe it down with a soft cloth or towel.