Living in an Island state has taught me to be much more aware of the environment and the impact we have on it. The majority of the goods in Hawaii are imported, and it takes a great deal of energy to transport those goods here. Furthermore, Oahu alone generates 1.6 million tons of trash annually, according to

Still, our surroundings constantly remind us of the beauty of our natural resources. We have to be conscious of our choices if we want that beauty to stay. There seems to be a big move here — and elsewhere — to do our part to help preserve what we can and lessen our environmental footprints. Perhaps this is the reason why many kitchen countertop consumers are making the switch from natural stone to quartz.

Quartz, also called engineered stone, is seen as a more eco-friendly alternative. It is manufactured in a factory, sometimes even using recycled materials. Unlike natural stone products, quartz does not need to be mined and often requires less distance for transportation for delivery to consumers. It also is lauded for its durability and easy maintenance in comparison. We recently made the switch ourselves, and although maintenance is minimal, there are still some things we need to keep in mind:

Soap and water. Because quartz is non-porous, it won’t absorb liquids the way other materials might. It also does not require sealing. Simply wipe with mild soap and water for daily upkeep.

Go soft. Silestone, one of the leading manufacturers of quartz, recommends mild household cleaners, such as 409 or Windex. For more stubborn spills, the company suggests soaking with a mild cleaner for up to 10 minutes before wiping with non-scratch scouring pads. Dupont, another major manufacturer, also suggests avoiding things like bleach and high pH cleaners, such as oven-cleaning products and concentrated bleach.

Use common sense. Although quartz is durable and heat-and stain-resistant, manufacturers are quick to point out that this does not mean the material is indestructible. If you have a hot pot or pan, you’ll still need a trivet. If you’re chopping food, you’ll still need a cutting board. You’ll also want to keep things like permanent markers, nail polish removers and paint strippers away.

Remember, caring for your quartz countertops may vary by manufacturer. Double check instructions for the best guidance on care before proceeding.

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