How to Clean Laminate Countertops

Safely and effectively clean spills and stains from laminate countertops with these tips from DIY experts.

Laminate Kitchen Island

Laminate Kitchen Island

High pressure laminate countertop is a stylish choice thats easy on the budget. The durable surface is available in a wide variety of colors. Mineral Ochre. Photo courtesy of Formica Corporation

Photo by: Courtesy of Formica Corporation

Courtesy of Formica Corporation

Laminate is an affordable and and durable option for kitchen and bathroom countertops. It’s a made of a mix of plastic, paper and board. It’s often called Formica, a trademarked term that has become a generic word for laminate. Whatever you call it, knowing how to clean laminate countertops is key to keeping it looking lovely.

The best way to keep laminate counters clean is to wipe up spills immediately. The longer it sits, the more likely it is to stain. 

For daily cleaning, use a soft cloth to wipe a mild liquid detergent or commercial cleaner on the countertop. Use a soft toothbrush to clean along seams or metal edging. Rinse with clean water and dry with a cloth towel. Don’t use too much water, especially near the seams of the laminate, because it can penetrate and cause the laminate to swell and crack. Don’t use an acidic cleaner like bleach, or a tub and tile cleaner, because it can etch or permanently discolor the laminate. To clean greasy buildup, use a commercial kitchen cleaner or make your own cleaning solution by mixing vinegar and water in a 50/50 solution. 

To remove stains from coffee or tea, mix a paste of baking soda and a mild household cleaner and apply to the soiled spot. Let the paste sit for five minutes, then rinse with a soft cloth. You can use a nylon bristle brush but don’t scrub. You might scratch the surface of the laminate. Baking soda is a bit abrasive and can leave fine scratches, so take it easy. Don’t use steel wool, ever. Once a laminate countertop is scratched it becomes more porous and will stain much easier. For incredibly tough stains, leave the baking soda paste on the stain overnight and wipe off in the morning. Another option for removing stains is to rub the spot with a cotton ball moistened with bleach. Rinse and dry. 

Another tip on how to clean Formica countertops: Use nail polish remover for stains like ink. Put a little on a cotton ball or soft cloth and rub it on the stain. Be sure the cloth is white, because nail polish remover could remove the dye from the fabric and stain the laminate.

You can buy countertop coatings at home improvement stores that will seal the laminate and help it resist future stains. 

Knowing how to clean Formica countertops will keep them looking lovely and help them last longer.

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