How to Restore a Formica Finish

Formica countertops are durable and easy to maintain, and they're available in many colors and styles.

Formica countertops are durable but can be damaged easily by harsh chemicals.Formica countertops are durable but can be damaged easily by harsh chemicals.
Although Formica is a sturdy surface for food preparation, because it is a plastic laminate, it is susceptible to damage from chemicals. Never use harsh cleaners and other chemicals like hairspray or nail polish remover on Formica.

Clean your Formica counter top off first with a clean rag and warm water. Rinse any soap or other cleaning agents off the Formica completely, as they can damage the Formica.

Use a paste of baking soda and water or an all-purpose spray cleaner to remove any stains. Abrasive cleaners, even paste cleaners, can scratch a Formica surface. If you scratch the surface, it may be impossible to restore the finish on the countertop.

Apply car wax or beeswax with a clean rag to the surface of the Formica. Use small circular motions to apply the wax, or follow the car wax manufacturer's instructions. Then buff with a separate clean, soft cloth such as a cloth diaper.

Apply a lemon oil or self-stripping wax to your Formica occasionally to maintain the finish.

Things You Will Need

  • Clean rags
  • Warm water
  • Baking soda
  • All-purpose spray cleaner
  • Car wax or beeswax

About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.