Quartz is an increasingly popular
countertop material that is ideal for high-end kitchens because of its stunning natural beauty and incredible durability. While the price and appearance of quartz countertops are comparable to
granite and other natural materials, quartz may have superior physical qualities that can enhance your experience in the years to come.
Regardless of whether you are preparing to install quartz countertops or you have recently purchased a home that already has this material installed, you should learn more about the unique qualities of quartz. As durable as it is, this gorgeous material can be damaged if it is exposed to damaging substances or forces. You understandably want to keep your home as sanitary as possible without damaging your quartz counters. Learning more about quartz and its care instructions can help you to enjoy the beauty of this material in your home for years to come.
Learning About Quartz Countertops
Natural quartzite may be used as a countertop material in some homes, but many quartz countertops are made from engineered quartz. Engineered quartz is produced by combining natural quartz with special resin binders. Natural quartzite is comprised of silicon and oxygen, and it is among the most durable and abundant materials on the planet. The engineered quartz material combines the benefits of natural quartzite with a resin that makes the counters resistant to mold and mildew growth, odor-causing bacteria and staining.
Quartz is commonly known for its beautiful crystalline structure, but many people do not realize how many different colors and varieties of quartz are available. Some of its many colors include pink, white, gray, brown, purple and more. In addition, it can be translucent, opaque or semi-translucent. The crystallization can make the material look like granite, marble or other materials. However, this stunning material is notably more durable in various ways than many other materials that it can look like, and this makes it a preferred option in many homes.
Understanding Elements That Can Damage Quartz
While quartz countertops may be more durable, they are not entirely resistant to damage. As you take steps to care for your counters, it is important to understand the elements that could damage your countertops. Engineered quartzite resists staining and damage from materials like lemon juice, tea, vinegar and various other items. However, natural quartzite is more porous than many other natural countertop surfaces. If you have natural quartzite countertops rather than engineered quartz, be aware that some substances can penetrate into the stone if they remain on the surface for a lengthy period of time.
When you are selecting cleaning products to use on your countertops, be aware that many common household cleaners that may be used on other types of countertops may not be suitable for use on quartz countertops. Specifically, avoid exposing your quartz counters to oven cleaning products, turpentine, drain cleaning products, bleach, nail polish remover, dishwasher rinses and other acidic or alkaline substances. In the event that your counters are exposed to one of these substances, wash the area with a mild soap and water mixture before rinsing it thoroughly with clean water. Remember to use a soft cloth to avoid unintentionally scratching the surface. This is particular important if you are going to scrub the surface, such as to remove grime from cooking.
Many people prefer quartz over other materials because it can tolerate high temperatures. In fact, it can resist damage when it is exposed to temperatures up to 300 degrees. However, it can be damaged by dramatic temperature changes. Therefore, placing a hot pan on a cold countertop can create damage related to a thermal shock. Likewise, quartz is resistant to damage from knives, but it is not impermeable to this type of damage. It is best to use a cutting board when you are preparing food on your quartz countertops. Be aware that quartz can also chip or crack when hard or heavy objects drop on it. In fact, any excessive pressure can result in damage to the counters. For example, when cleaning your home, avoid dropping buckets filled with water or other heavy objects on the counters.
Cleaning Quartz Countertops Regularly
You understandably need to clean your countertops regularly in order to maintain a hygienic home and to keep pests away. The best step to take to regularly clean quartz countertops is to use a combination of warm water and mild detergent to wipe the surfaces down. Avoid using very hot water that could result in damage from thermal shock. If you are in doubt about the soap or detergent that you plan to use, conduct thorough research so that you can avoid unintentionally damaging the quartz. Remember to wipe the soapy water away with a clean cloth. This cleaning step may be completed once or several times each day as needed.
In some kitchens, cooking activities may result in gunk or buildup accumulating in thick layers on the counter. For example, this may be from cooled grease. It could even be from gum, dried paint or other materials. If the substance will harden as it cools or is exposed to air, it may be best to allow it to harden before trying to remove it. Then, use a scraper or a putty knife to gently remove the material as needed.
Warm water and a mild detergent may not be sufficient for removing grease splatters. For these issues, use a quartz-safe degreasing product. Regardless of the product that you use, you should still follow up by using a mild detergent with warm water. Research all degreasing products before using them to ensure that they are safe to use on quartz.
Despite your best efforts to keep your quartz countertops well-maintained and to clean them regularly in a safe manner, you may still have to deal with a stain or discoloration from time to time. You may be inclined to think that stains in quartz countertops are impossible to remove, but this may not be the case. Some stains embedded in quartz countertops respond well to a citrus-based adhesive remover. You may allow a product that is safe for use on quartz to remain on the surface for up to 10 minutes, if necessary. Remember to rinse the product off thoroughly with warm water.
If the stain is from ink or a marker, you may pour a small amount of isopropyl rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth. Gently rub the cloth on the stained area until the stain is no longer visible. Immediately rinse the area with warm water. As is the case with any new material or substance that you introduce to your countertops, spend time researching its impact on quartz. Spending a few minutes conducting research is a small price to pay for the protection of your beautiful counters.
Deep Cleaning for a Shiny Surface
Some people find that the sheen or luster of their quartz countertops fade over time when they are only cleaned with a mild detergent and warm water. If you want to restore the sheen on your quartz counters, you may use a non-ammonia glass cleaner. Rather than wiping the spray glass cleaner off with a dry paper towel as is customary when using this type of cleaning product, use a damp cloth. Keep in mind that some manufacturers of quartz countertops recommend that you avoid the use of any glass cleaning products. Ensure that you follow your manufacturer’s instructions.
Protecting Your Quartz Countertops from Unnecessary Damage
You can see that improper use of the counters can result in damage. Likewise, following the wrong cleaning and care practices can cause damage. You should learn whether you have engineered quartz or natural quartzite counters so that you can better determine which substances are safe on your countertops. In addition, to avoid introducing temperature changes to the material, always use pot holders and trivets. You should likewise always use a cutting board when you are slicing and dicing food to avoid unintentionally damaging the counter.
It can be difficult to determine which mild detergents, adhesive removers and other products may be safe to use on your counters. If you are in doubt, consider obtaining a list of products that are safe to use from the manufacturer. You may also conduct thorough research using reputable online sources before introducing any new products to your counter surfaces. This may take some effort initially, but you can then continue to use the same safe products going forward.
You understandably need to keep your counters clean on a regular basis, but you also need to preserve their beauty and quality over the years. These care instructions may sound complicated, but keep in mind that many other high-end countertop materials have similar usage and cleaning requirements. Once you become accustomed to these requirements, they may become second-nature to you. Now that you know more about how to care for your quartz or engineered quartzite counters, you can continue to enjoy their beauty and functionality throughout your time in the home.