How to remove stains from quartz countertops

Quartz countertops are one of the most popular choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops today. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz countertops are valued for their durability, resistance to scratches and stains, and low maintenance requirements. However, quartz is not completely stain-proof, and spills if not cleaned up promptly can result in stubborn stains. Thankfully, there are ways to remove stains from quartz countertops and restore their original beauty.

How to remove stains from quartz countertops

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss:

  • The common causes of stains on quartz
  • Tips on preventing stains
  • Step-by-step methods for removing oil-based stains, beverage stains, food stains, hard water stains, mold and mildew stains, and dye/ink/rust stains
  • When to call a professional for help
  • Recommended stain removal supplies
  • Tips for stain removal success

What Causes Stains on Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops can become stained by a variety of household products and substances. Some of the most common causes of stains include:

  • Oil-based products like cooking oils, grease, lotions, cosmetics, suntan oils, etc.
  • Beverages like wine, coffee, fruit juices, sports drinks, soda, etc.
  • Foods that contain pigments or dyes, such as berries, tomatoes, spices, curries, mustard, etc.
  • Hard water deposits and soap scum
  • Mold and mildew
  • Ink, marker, and dye from pens, permanent markers, stamp pads, etc.
  • Rust from pots, pans, and metal objects
  • Healthcare products like topical acne creams, disinfectants, hydrogen peroxide
  • Cosmetics such as foundations, concealers, eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc.
  • Hair products like gels, mousse, styling products, and chemical treatments
  • Cleaning agents such as dyes, bleaches, oven cleaners, etc.

The corrosive acids, pigments, and dyes found in these household items can penetrate the porous surface of quartz and result in stubborn stains if left untreated. It’s important to promptly wipe up spills and messes before they have a chance to set into the stone.

Tips for Preventing Stains on Quartz

While quartz is resistant to stains, it is still susceptible to permanent discoloration if spills are not cleaned up right away. Follow these tips to help minimize stains on your quartz countertops:

  • Wipe up spills immediately as they occur, don’t let them sit
  • Clean counters frequently with a mild pH balanced soap and water
  • Use cutting boards and trivets when prepping food to protect the surface
  • Avoid exposing the counters to strong chemicals like paint removers or oven cleaners
  • Seal quartz annually with a stone sealer to add a protective barrier against stains
  • If using quartz as a bathroom vanity, wipe up splashes and spills around sinks and faucets
  • Blot liquid spills instead of wiping to prevent spreading
  • Rinse surfaces with water after use to remove residues
  • Keep cooking oils, cleaners, and toiletries in closed containers

Following these preventative steps will help keep quartz looking like new for longer. However, accidents do happen. When stains occur on quartz, it’s important to know what removal methods are effective.

How to Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops

If a stain develops on your quartz countertop, prompt action is key for successful removal. Here are the most effective methods and cleaning solutions for removing various types of stains:

Remove Oil-Based Stains

Oil-based stains like cooking oil, grease, cosmetics, and lotions require a degreasing cleaner to break down the oil so it can be lifted from the quartz.

Steps to remove oil-based stains:

  1. Blot excess oil immediately with a paper towel, don’t rub it in
  2. Mix a few drops of dish soap like Dawn with warm water and apply to the stain
  3. Allow soap solution to sit for 5-10 minutes to penetrate the oil
  4. Use a soft sponge or cloth in circular motions to lift the stain
  5. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth
  6. For stubborn oil stains, apply hydrogen peroxide, let sit for 10 minutes, wipe and rinse
  7. Rub a small amount of acetone nail polish remover to lift any remaining oil

Lift Beverage Stains

Many common beverages like coffee, wine, juice, sports drinks, and soda can leave behind pigmented stains. Use these steps:

  1. Immediately blot the spill with an absorbent cloth
  2. Mix a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub onto the stain
  3. Let the paste sit for up to an hour before rinsing
  4. For tough stains, spray diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide, let sit 15 minutes, then wipe
  5. Rinse thoroughly after treatment

Baking soda or hydrogen peroxide pastes are effective at drawing out and lifting stains from quartz.

Remove Food Stains

Foods like berries, tomatoes, spices, mustard, ketchup and cooking oils often contain dyes that can set into quartz. Here’s how to tackle food stains:

  1. Carefully scrape off any food residue with a plastic scraper
  2. Mix 2-3 drops of dish soap into warm water and wipe the area using a soft cloth
  3. If a faint stain remains, spray with hydrogen peroxide and let sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping
  4. Rinse and dry completely after treatment
  5. For tough stains, apply Bar Keeper’s Friend Cleanser and let sit 5 minutes before rinsing

Eliminate Hard Water Stains

Hard water contains minerals that can leave behind calcium or limescale buildup on quartz surfaces. To remove:

  1. Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water
  2. Pour or spray the vinegar solution generously over the stain
  3. Let the vinegar sit for 5-10 minutes to dissolve the minerals
  4. Scrub with a soft cloth, sponge or non-abrasive scrub pad
  5. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing

The mild acid in vinegar dissolves hard water stains effectively without damaging the quartz. For heavy limescale, use a limescale remover before scrubbing.

Clean Away Mold and Mildew Stains

The porous nature of quartz makes it prone to mold and mildew growth if frequently exposed to moisture. Treat these stains with:

  1. Mix a solution of 2 cups water, 1⁄4 cup bleach, 1 tsp dish soap
  2. Apply the solution and let sit 10 minutes
  3. Scrub with a soft bristle brush and rinse thoroughly
  4. Dry the area completely to remove moisture where mildew thrives
  5. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to lift superficial mildew stains
  6. For recurring mildew, use a mildew stain remover

Use caution when handling bleach and only use in well-ventilated areas.

Remove Dye, Ink and Rust Stains

Colored dyes, inks, and rust marks can be challenging to eliminate from quartz. Try these techniques:

For dye or ink stains:

  • Immediately blot up as much of the stain as possible
  • Apply a few drops of acetone nail polish remover and gently wipe the stain, changing cloths if needed to prevent spreading
  • Let acetone sit for up to 5 minutes before rinsing

For rust stains:

  • Use a commercial rust stain remover made for household use
  • Apply to stains and let sit 5-10 minutes
  • Scrub gently with a soft cloth, sponge or brush
  • Rinse thoroughly after treatment

Avoid harsh chemical rust removers like hydrofluoric, phosphoric, and oxalic acids which can damage quartz.

When to Call a Professional

While most stains can be managed with the methods above, sometimes a stain just won’t budge. If you’ve tried the recommended techniques without success, contact a professional stone restoration company. They have access to more powerful commercial cleaners and tools like rotary polishers that can often remove stubborn stains without damaging the quartz. The investment is worthwhile to restore badly stained yet still structurally sound quartz countertops.

Recommended Supplies for Stain Removal

Having the right stain removal supplies on hand allows you to act fast when spills and stains occur. Assemble a stain removal kit containing:

  • Soft sponges and microfiber cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Dish soap – mild varieties like Dawn or Seventh Generation
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)
  • Plastic scraper
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Commercial rust stain remover
  • Powder cleanser like Bar Keeper’s Friend
  • Limescale remover
  • Protective gloves, eye wear, and face mask

Store kit under the sink or in an accessible area near the quartz. Be sure to replace any products once expired.

Tips for Stain Removal Success

Follow these additional tips when tackling stains on quartz:

  • Act quickly – remove spills ASAP before they penetrate
  • Blot, don’t rub stains – rubbing can drive stains in deeper
  • Use the gentlest method that lifts the stain
  • Check product labels to ensure they are approved for quartz
  • Spot test cleaners first in an inconspicuous area
  • Avoid abrasive scouring pads and powders
  • Rinse surfaces thoroughly after applying any cleaner
  • Ensure quartz is completely dry after rinsing
  • Reseal quartz annually to reinforce stain resistance
  • When in doubt, call a professional for advice


While quartz countertops are fairly stain-resistant, they can become discolored by oils, beverages, foods and other common household products. With prompt treatment using household cleaners like dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and vinegar, most stains can be removed. Prevent stains by sealing quartz annually, wiping spills quickly, and using trivets and cutting boards. For tough stains, seek professional help from stone restoration experts. By combining good prevention habits with effective stain removal techniques, quartz countertops can stay looking pristine for decades.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

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