Quartz is a popular option for kitchen worktops these days, as it can be cleaned easily and is made in a range of different colours to suit any home. Usually less expensive than its granite and marble counterparts, quartz is less prone to stains and far easier to maintain.
Quartz countertops are technically a form of man-made stone. While quartz is a natural mineral mined from the earth, the slabs found in kitchens are actually composed of quartz fragments mixed with resins, polymers and pigments. The look of your slab will depend on the size of the quartz fragments used, as well as any added pigments.
The resins and polymers used are types of plastic which give quartz its hard, non-porous surface, making it a great option for easy cleaning.
Old-fashioned soap and water are the key to getting your quartz worktops clean on a daily basis. A mild dish detergent mixed with warm water will generally do the trick to clean up basic cooking messes.
Simply wipe the counter with a damp, soapy rag or microfiber cloth using circular motions, then rinse with a cloth dipped in water to avoid a soapy residue upon drying. Leave to air dry. Using this method, most mess should require minimal effort to clean up
Some people find that their quartz worktop is prone to smudges and watermarks. To achieve a gleaming, streak-free finish, give your counter a wipe over with some glass or window cleaner and a cloth.
What not to do
Avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasive scourers to clean your worktop. Abrasive cleaning tools including steel wool and stiff-bristled brushes can permanently scratch the resin surface of your counter, so always a use a gentle cloth.
Bleach, turpentine and other harsh cleaning products can chemically damage the resin, and may cause stains, discolouration, bubbling or a tarnished surface. Strongly acidic or alkaline products can corrode the bonds between the resin and stone, so avoid products that contain lye, vinegar or other substances with an extreme pH level.
Crusty, hardened gunk may require more force than just a soft cloth to clean up. When faced with built up messes, use a plastic scraper to chisel it off the worktop. For best results, soften up the mess first with a bit of warm water. Always be gentle and avoid pressing too hard as this can scratch the quartz, and never use metal.
Quartz is fairly resistant to staining, but only if you wipe up spills as quickly as possible, before they have a change to settle in. Leaving a spill on the counter will eventually create stains, particularly wine, tea and coffee. Acidic foods such as vinegar may also damage the finish of your worktop, so clean up any spills immediately with a cloth.
Dealing with stains
If it’s too late and you already have a stain on your worktop, there a few things you can try to get rid of it. If water and plain soap won’t do the trick, bring in the big guns with a specialty cleansing product.
Degreasing cleansers can remove oil or grease left over from cooking. Citrus-based stain removers are also great for sticky residues. Spray your chosen cleaner on the surface and leave it for a few minutes before wiping off with a non-abrasive cloth. Just make sure to read the label and check that your cleaning product is safe to use on quartz.
Rubbing alcohol can be applied to remove stains from permanent marker or other kids’ crafting activities, just rub with a cloth until the stain disappears.
It may happen that you encounter a truly stubborn stain that refuses to disappear no matter what technique you try. In this case, you can try the last resort of using a non-acidic stone poultice, a powder that should pull the stain out of your countertop. Mix the powder with water and apply to the stain, then allow it to dry for 24 hours before scraping off. Rinse and voila, your worktop should be as good as new!
Other tips for maintaining your quartz countertop
- Don’t put anything of extremely temperature directly on your quartz countertop. Sudden changes in temperature can cause ‘thermal shock’ and damage the surface. Coasters and trivets are handy tools for protecting your worktop from cold drinks or hot pans.
- Use a cutting board, as knives and other sharp objects can scratch the quartz.
- Be sure not to confuse quartz with the natural stone quartzite. Quartzite lacks the plastic elements of quartz and requires sealing every few years. Always double check exactly what you’re buying.
- UV light degrades quartz over time, so this material is best used in kitchens without much direct sunlight.
Quartz worktops are a great option for people who prefer to keep their cleaning routine simple. Gentle cleansers are ideal and with just few minutes of daily maintenance, your quartz countertops should remain smooth and bright for years.