An unsightly rust ring on a beautiful quartz countertop will understandably cause frustration. We’ve scoured the web to bring you a guide on potential solutions for how to remove rust from quartz.
You can remove rust stains from your quartz either with products you have on hand or with the help of specialty cleaners designed specifically to remove rust such as Bar Keepers Friend or Iron Out.
I’ll also go over a few tips on how to prevent rust stains from reoccurring on your countertops.
Table of Contents
What Causes a Rust Stain?
Rust is a natural corrosion reaction that happens to some metals. But metal doesn’t rust on its own, it needs a catalyst and that usually comes in the form of water.
It’s more than likely that you noticed your rust stain after moving an object that had a metal bottom on it. This could be anything from a candle, a soap dish, or even a cast iron pan.
You can remove the top layer of rust left on your countertop but are still left with a small orange-red stain, especially if the object has been sitting for a while and had plenty of time to corrode.
Home Products to Try First
It’s best to start simple with some on-hand cleaning products before moving up to more aggressive specialty cleaners.
Baking Soda & Lemon Juice
This is the gentlest approach and will work best on light stains. You can either mix the baking soda and lemon juice together to form a paste or sprinkle the baking soda on top & drip some lemon juice on it.
Let the mixture fizz for about 30 seconds on top of the stain to start the reaction then take a damp sponge or cloth and start scrubbing the area.
If the change is noticeable then repeat with a second application. But if you feel like nothing is happening, switch to the next option.
This one may take some elbow grease. Magic Erasers are considered an abrasive cleaner and work with the help of a material called melamine.
Wet the magic eraser and get to work scrubbing the stain. This is going to work best on light-medium stains that are fairly fresh.
People can certainly get creative when it comes to removing a stubborn stain! While we’re usually cautioned against mixing chemicals, rest assured that this formula has been tested and is safe.
All it consists of is lemon juice, dish soap, white vinegar, and water. Take about ½ cup of white vinegar, add in 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and dish soap, and then top it off with 1 cup of water.
Soak a rag in the solution and lay it on top of the rust stain, then let it sit for a few minutes before finishing off with some firm scrubbing.
Save the remainder of the solution in a spray bottle because it’s a great all-purpose cleaner for many other areas of your house too.
If the stain you are working with is particularly large or severe, you may need to opt for some stronger specialty cleaners to get the job done.
Bar Keeper’s Friend
I’m sure at some point, you’ve heard of the highly hyped cleaning product known as Bar Keepers Friend. It’s been around since the late 1800s and basically has its own fan club.
It was first marketed to clean almost any kind of dirt on stainless steel (including rust) but its powerful cleaning abilities were discovered to be effective on many other surfaces as well. This has been my go-to product as it effectively removed the rust ring on my bathroom counter.
Though the BKF line does include liquid and “soft cleanse” formulations, you should choose the original formula which is a very fine powder.
Wet the stained area well with regular water and sprinkle a generous amount of Bar Keepers Friend on top. Smudge it around a bit to form a paste and make sure you spread it over the whole area.
Let this sit undisturbed for about 20 minutes and then start scrubbing the area with a regular dish sponge. You should see the stain start to disappear fairly easily with little elbow grease involved.
Rust occurs from the oxidation of iron, a metal found in many objects. The brown-red stain it leaves behind is caused by iron molecules. Iron Out is a product specifically formulated to remove rust and rust stains.
It’s very effective in bathroom applications such as toilet bowls and showers, but it’s also a favorite among gemstone enthusiasts who soak their stones in Iron Out to remove natural discoloration.
Just like Bar Keepers Friend, it comes in many formulations but you should opt for the powder version for the best results on your quartz countertops.
Apply it the same way as BKF – wet the area, make a paste, and let it sit. Then scrub the stain out and rinse the area with water once you’re done.
CLR stands for “Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover” and is another popular bathroom cleaner, especially when it comes to hard water stains.
It comes in the form of a liquid gel and it is recommended you mix it with equal portions of water. Avoid placing this straight on the stain as it is pretty powerful.
Make your mixture in a separate bowl. While wearing protective gloves, either pour it on the stain or soak a rag in the solution and wring it out over the affected area.
Allow it to sit for 10 minutes minimum and then scrub the area with a regular dish sponge. Rinse the area thoroughly with water once you’re done cleaning.
Tips for Preventing Rust Stains
Save yourself the headache of having to clean future rust stains by taking a few preventative measures.
Clear Nail Polish on Stationary Objects
Remember the rust ring on my bathroom counter I mentioned earlier? That was caused by a can of hairspray that I use daily. Since it was in such close proximity to the sink, the backsplash caused some drops of water to get underneath and around the bottom of the hairspray can.
Because I use both my sink and my hairspray daily, I found it hard to remember to put it up after use and I actually dealt with that pesky ring not once or twice, but three times.
The solution? Clear nail polish! I had read that two layers of clear nail polish on the bottom of a metal container will prevent it from coming in contact with water and leaving behind a rust stain. It took me 10 minutes to apply and I haven’t had a stain since.
This trick can be used on any object, such as a soap dispenser or a candle.
Keep Your Quartz Countertop Clean & Dry
For added measures, try to get in the habit of placing your metal items on some sort of non-reactive surface, like a towel or trivet. Also, wipe down your quartz counter regularly to make sure there are no puddles of water, especially around the sink.
Though rust can seem like a stubborn stain to remove, there are some tried-and-true ways to remove it. And its appearance is avoidable by reducing the contact metal objects have with your countertops, especially if they are wet.