Quartz Countertop Care No-Nos
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Poet Robert Burns may have penned these words in 1786, but people still use them today when they talk about a project or plan that doesn’t end as well as planned – or even ends up in a disaster. Sometimes it can be your best-laid plans for cleaning your quartz countertop that go awry – awry.
Because quartz is one of nature’s most abundant minerals and one of its most durable, it’s also been put to many uses in modern life. But even though quartz ranks number seven on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, a chart that lists minerals in order of their imperviousness to scratching, the process that goes into crafting quartz crystals into that shiny, smooth marbled countertop can rob it of some of its impenetrable armor. For this reason, an impenetrable sealant has been applied.
But even though they do so with the best of intentions, some of the products homeowners use to care for their quartz countertops may be widening those chinks. Here are some of the most common countertop care mistakes people make,
But I Just Wanted to Keep it Looking Like New
Many of the cleaning products you use elsewhere in your house, while they do a great job on your floors, appliances, and bathroom, contain chemicals or acids that can break down the bonds of the resins and polymers holding the quartz aggregate together, rendering its sealant less effective. These include
· Acid-based substances including lemon juice, bleach, vinegar, window cleaners containing vinegar, (And a word of caution about some wet wipes that even though they are marketed for cleaning countertops, contain an acidic substance. However, if you must use one, make it a quick once-over and done.)
· Alkaline products containing ammonia, baking soda, window cleaners containing ammonia, scouring powders, and – yes, some people do use them – drain and oven cleaners,
· Abrasive scraping tools like scouring pads, stiff brushes, and metal scrapers.
· Nail polish remover, stainless steel cleaners
· Dish detergent, while not inherently harmful, if used regularly, will leave a dull haze which defeats the purpose of having a smooth, shiny quartz countertop.
In short, unless a product like Rock Doctor Granite & Quartz Cleaner says it’s made for quartz countertops, steer clear of it. And no matter what safe product you choose, use a clean, soft cloth to apply it and another one to buff it when dry.
Oops, and Uh-Oh: Nasty Spills
Spills happen, and when they do, even though your quartz countertop has been sealed, you should wipe them up right away. Even small drops because if it’s been a while since it was last treated, it’s possible that certain substances can leak through to the stone. Don’t find out the hard way. It takes but one spill of tomato sauce, red wine, tea, or coffee to produce a stain. Should this happen to you, the worst thing you can do is wipe it up, for that will only serve to spread it. Instead, take a paper towel and softly blot it up before its high pH (acidic) content can work away at the sealant. Then rinse the area several times with plain water and dry with a soft towel.
As in the case of protecting anything of value, it’s best to maintain an ounce of prevention attitude when it comes to preparing a meal on your quartz countertop. For example, you can prevent such spills from happening in the first place if you place a tray, cutting board, or trivet on the counter before you pour a glass of wine or add tomato sauce to a recipe.
The Thing to Remember
Even though one of the reasons you selected your quartz countertop was that it would be easier to maintain than many other countertops. There are ways you can potentially damage it unless you know how to properly clean quartz countertops. But if you keep in mind the advice offered in this article, you’ll be giving it the care and maintenance it needs to keep looking its best for many years to come.