How to Refurbish Formica Countertops

Formica countertops are known for their resilience and usefulness; these laminate surfaces are generally easy to clean and resistant to scratches and other surface damage. The wear and tear of time will diminish any surface, however, and your Formica countertop may turn from something to brag about to something to cover up. If stains or loose edges have ruined your Formica, take the time to brighten up the look of your kitchen with some basic refurbishing.

Step 1

Dampen a clean, soft rag in warm water mixed with mild dish detergent. Wipe down the counter with this rag, removing surface dust and dirt. Scrub with the rag to remove some surface stains such as coffee or drip marks.

Step 2

Rinse the surface with a rag dampened in clean water to remove residual soap. Do not flood the surface, as the water can leak into the seams and cause swelling. Dry the surface thoroughly with a clean towel to avoid water leaking.

Step 3

Apply an all-purpose cleaner to stained areas. Allow the cleaner to sit on the stain for five minutes, and then blot up the stain with a clean, damp rag. Rinse with a rag dampened with clean water to remove residual cleaner.

Step 4

Dampen a rag with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol and scrub to remove stubborn stains. Some tough stains, including food dye or fingerprints, may require repeated cleanings. Rinse the surface with clean water after any cleaning product is used, to avoid ingesting the chemicals when you cook.

Step 5

Mix baking soda with water until it forms a paste, resembling toothpaste. Gently apply this paste to areas with extremely stubborn stains. Do not rub or scrub with this paste, as it will be abrasive and can cause scratches. Spread the paste over the stain and allow it to work on drawing out the stain for 10 minutes.

Step 6

Wipe the baking soda away with a clean, damp rag. Repeat applications as necessary to remove stains. Rinse the area completely with a damp rag to remove residue

Step 7

Inspect edges to see if you have loose laminate. If you find any, glue it back into place with contact cement or other industrial adhesive. Align the laminate carefully. If you use contact cement, the bond will be permanent as soon as the glue touches the surface.

Step 8

Wrap masking tape or painter's tape around the repair areas to hold the repair in place as the adhesive dries. Remove the tape after 48 hours.

Step 9

Apply a self-cleaning countertop wax to the Formica to restore shine and to help prevent future staining. Follow all product instructions regarding application of this material, as different products may have different instructions.


  • Never use abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals to clean or restore Formica, as these materials can damage the laminate countertop or cause scratches in the Formica surface.
  • Large damage in Formica, as well as full sections peeling away from the surface, must be handled by a professional installer or restorer. Some of this type of damage may require replacing the whole countertop.
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