The beauty and relevance of quartz in domestic settings cannot be properly emphasized without an insight into what the material actually entails.
It is a hard and crystalline mineral that is primarily composed of silica, and exists in the duality of α-quartz and β-quartz (high-temperature quartz).
While quartz has been used in several industrial settings such as in the making of watches, electronics, and jewellery, another example of its multi-faceted functionality comes in the form of domestic use, especially in kitchen settings.
It is easy to clean, aesthetically appealing, and generally more sanitary. Yet, just as is the case with all elements of the home, it has to be cleaned and maintained efficiently for best use.
This article highlights the best practices and procedures for cleaning and maintaining your way into an ideal quartz countertop.
When considering cleaning quartz countertops, a helpful approach is to divide stains across classifications of hard and soft.
Hard stains include grease, gum, and paint, amongst others. On the other hand, soft stains include lighter liquid stains, flour, and dried substances.
Lined out below, are quick answers on how to clean countertops across hard and soft stains.
- Use a mild soap or detergent
- Use a soft cloth and warm water
- Wipe liquids promptly
- Use hydrogen peroxide instead of Vinegar and Lemon Juice
- Scrape strong stains with a plastic knife
- Spray glass cleaner occasionally
1. Using Mild Soap or Detergent
It is important to use a mild soap or cleanser because of the dangers associated with bleach and abrasive soaps.
Bleach and abrasive soaps are characterized by high-pH concentrations and can damage the appearance of the countertops. Mild soaps are more ideal in the sense that they avoid stains or damage, they are usually pH-neutral, and they efficiently clean and disinfect the surfaces.
Examples of mild soaps that can be used are light detergent or a gentle cleaning spray. There are also a host of branded cleaning sprays specifically made for quartz surfaces.
2. Use a Soft Cloth
While the substance used for soft stains is important, it is also as important to use a soft cloth when cleaning. Soft cloths can be used for liquids or light food stains.
It is also advisable that these stains be patted off or cleaned with small swipes, instead of rubbing them off over a wider span as it would likely spread the stain.
Because of the finishing in quartz materials, the resins used in sealing makes them resistant to dust, stains, and dirt. This is why it is better to use warm water so that it breaks down the resilient stains that stay on the surface.
3. Wipe Liquids Promptly
When liquids spill on the counter, if they are left for some time, they evaporate and leave left-over minerals that build up, dry, and bond to the surface.
This leaves chalk-like stains that do not wipe off with the use of cloths or a handful of other methods. These water stains are resistant to the pH-neutral cleaners that should be used for cleaning quartz surfaces.
While there are several formulas and products tailored to clean off water stains, most of them are acidic and hence affect the acid-sensitive resins that are present in quartz tabletops.
In the case of water stains, a super-fine steel wool with #0000 grading would be appropriate. It would require light rubbing in circular motion and a level of precision so as to avoid scathing the surface. A sharp straight razor can also be used for water stains that are slightly harder or thicker.
4. Use Hydrogen Peroxide As Opposed To Vinegar and Lemon Juice
While several publications propose the use of vinegar and lemon juice to clean tough stains, the setbacks of these practices are often not highlighted.
These substances can wipe off tough stains, but their pH content is detrimental to the quartz surface in the long run. In addition, vinegar is typically characterized by a strong smell that can be distasteful, especially in the domestic setting of a home.
An ideal alternative is hydrogen peroxide. It can easily be made domestically or acquired through a wide range of home care products.
5. Scrape strong stains with a plastic knife
For strong stains in the form of dried substances, a plastic knife can be used. This is a better option than metal knives for the sake of safety, and to avoid the metal damaging the surface of the quartz.
The motion should be circular and subtle, covering one small portion of the stain before another for efficiency and moderation.
If the motion is not moderated and involving too much pressure, it can create scratches and abrasions that would worsen in the long run.
6. Spray Glass Cleaner Over Counter Occasionally
One of the effects of ageing quartz material is the cloudy surface that it develops. The reason for is that the resin sealant fades and the shininess starts to blur.
To prevent this is, it is essential to spray glass cleaner liquids on the surface occasionally in order to maintain the lustre. The procedure can also be done correctively, when murkiness has been observed on the surface.
Prevention Practices For A Clean Quartz Counter Top
A solid approach to achieving a clean countertop is efficient maintenance, and prevention is just about half the process to achieving a clean countertop.
This is why it is essential to maintain prevention procedures, some of which are lined out below;
When observing kitchen practice, it is essential to be mindful of the countertops. Separate boards should be used for cutting to prevent damage to the countertop. Quartz countertops are also inconvenient for heat.
Quartz is designed to tolerate a maximum temperature of 200 degrees Celsius. When the material is subjected to heat above this level, or heat in this range, for long periods of time, it will cause cracking.
This is why it is important that heated pots and pans should not be placed on the countertop. Also, appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, cookers, or tasters, should not be placed on the quartz countertop surface.
Quartz countertops should typically be set up in indoor settings and not outdoors (barbecue stands, grill sheds, patio kitchens, etc). This is because of the exposure that would be the case in outdoor settings.
When outside, quartz countertops are more exposed to UV rays from sunlight, dust, moisture, and scratching.
Not only can this cause more frequent damage, it would require more cleaning which can cause more murkiness to the surface. In any instance that it would have to be outside, the best option would be to cover it with an overhand or awning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use antiseptics to sanitize my quartz countertops if I don’t have access to appropriate sprays or Hydrogen Peroxide?
Antiseptics vary widely across types and brands. So there is no standard sample of antiseptic that can be used as a general reference. However, most antiseptics have pH levels that range between 8-10, meaning that they may not be the best solutions for cleaning quartz countertops as they are above the mid-level range.
In addition, antiseptics may affect the food that is usually used in kitchen settings (the most likely settings for quartz countertops). If it is not properly wiped off, it can come in contact with any food that is placed on the counter.
Q: Is it advisable to use acetone on a quartz countertop? If it has already been applied, is there a way to reverse the effects?
It is highly unadvisable to use acetone on quartz countertops. There are chemical binders in the composition of quartz, and acetone, being a solvent, can discolour the countertop.
That is why there is usually a cloudy appearance that develops with time. In most cases, the cloudiness becomes a permanent feature. However, it can be slowed or slightly corrected with an application of toothpaste. Toothpaste contains fine abrasives and is likely to help.
Q: Why can’t I just use regular water to cleanse my quartz countertop?
Regular water for cleaning quartz countertops may sound like an ideal practice; It is typically clean, it contains none of the harmful chemicals that can be found in most cleansers, and it is easily accessible.
However, it is not advisable to use regular water for cleaning quartz countertops. The case of water stains has already been mentioned and there is a highly increased chance of this occurrence if water is used for cleansing.
Also, water can hardly address several of the stains that appear on countertops. Water cannot dissolve greasy or oily stains, neither can it wipe off other stubborn stains. Water is also unable to disinfect the countertop like other substances would. Lastly, water fails to do away with odours that may be the case after cooking or other kitchen activity has been done.
Quartz countertops have shown to be highly luxurious and presentable in homes. A further benefit is that with proper maintenance and cleaning, they can last for long periods and bring out the best in efficiency and appearance.
With the use of mild soaps, soft cloths, warm water, and other appropriate substances, cleaning would be a seamless and fruitful process. Practices of correction and prevention are also essential to achieve a long-lasting countertop. So before you consider your next quartz countertop, ensure that you have these practices in mind.