When builders began to install natural stone countertops in new and remodeled kitchens and baths, homeowners loved the look but balked at the level of care some stone surfaces required. But not those who chose engineered quartz countertops. They got the designer look of natural stone they desired and extremely easy care.
When selecting a quartz countertop, it is important to make the distinction between quartzite and engineered quartz slabs. Both are durable and easy-care, but one, quartzite, must be sealed and resealed regularly like granite.
Quartzite is formed when sandstone containing quartz minerals is exposed to high heat and pressure within the earth's crust. Engineered quartz is produced in a factory by combining randomly sized quartz crystals with resins and, occasionally, colored pigments to form a slab. The finished product is 93 percent quartz and 7 percent resin and requires no sealing to prevent staining.
Engineered quartz countertops are nonporous, mold and mildew-resistant, and impervious to odor-causing bacteria. A downside of the product is that the color will fade if exposed to harsh, direct sunlight for long periods.
How Often to Clean Quartz Countertops
Kitchen countertops should be cleaned after every meal preparation session and spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. Bathroom counters should be wiped down daily with a soft cloth or disinfecting wipe.
Deeper cleaning should be done weekly to remove grease build-up in the kitchen and any dried-on splatters in both the kitchen and bath.
What You Need
- Dishwashing liquid with degreaser
- Warm water
- Glass or multi-purpose surface cleaner
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Paper towels
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Microfiber cloth
- Plastic scraper
Instructions to Clean Quartz Countertops
Mix a Cleaning Solution for Daily Cleaning
Mix a solution of four cups warm water and one teaspoon dishwashing liquid.
Wipe Down Countertops
Dip a nonabrasive sponge or soft cloth in the soapy solution. Using a circular motion, wipe down each area of the countertop surface. Pay attention to areas next to the cooktop that may have splatters or grease build-up. Don't forget to lift any small appliances or accessories and clean under them.
Rinse and Dry
After cleaning an area, rinse the sponge in clean water and give the area a quick wipe to remove any soapy residue. Allow the countertop to air dry.
Don't skip the rinsing step. Leaving soapy residue on the counter can attract dust and leave the finish looking dull.
Tackle Stuck-on Messes
If food has been allowed to dry, place a wet paper towel over the area to soften the hard residue. If something is really stuck, use a flexible plastic scraper to gently pry the matter off the surface of the quartz. Do not use a metal scraper because it could damage the finish. Once the stuck-on food is gone, clean the counter as usual.
Remove Tough Stains
After treating each type of stain, clean the countertop as usual with soapy water.
- Ink or Mascara: Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and working from the outside of the stain toward the center, slowly wipe away the ink. Move to a clean swab as the ink is transferred to prevent spreading.
- Gum or Sticky Resins: Place a paper towel over the sticky mess and place an ice cube on top. When the gum or resin hardens, pop it off with a flexible plastic scraper.
- Heavy Grease: Mix a commercial degreaser with hot water as recommended on the product label. Wipe down countertops, frequently rinsing out the sponge. Rinse well by wiping down with a clean, damp sponge.
Restore the Shine
If engineered quartz surfaces have not been cleaned regularly or abused, they can lose their shine. A thorough cleaning with a glass cleaner or multi-purpose surface cleaner will usually restore the shine.
Tips to Keep Quartz Countertops Clean and Looking Great Longer
- Never use harsh, abrasive cleaners like ammonia, oven cleaner or chlorine bleach. Some chemicals can react with the resins and cause weakening. If a spill happens, clean it up immediately.
- Avoid scouring pads when cleaning. They can scratch the finish of quartz.
- Always use a cutting board to avoid scratches when chopping or slicing foods.
- Protect the countertops from hot pans, dishes, and small appliances that reach high temperatures by using a trivet. Extreme changes in temperature can cause cracks or warping.
- Immediately clean up spilled acidic foods like lemon juice and tomatoes that can damage the finish.
- If you decide to use a quartz countertop in an outdoor area, protect it from direct sunlight by adding an awning to prevent fading.