Laminate is durable and easy to maintain, which makes it a good kitchen countertop material. This doesn’t mean that it won’t still need special cares to remain shiny and presentable. 

But how do you properly maintain your laminate benchtop and prolong its lifespan?

Do not skip cleaning, that’s lesson number one. Keep reading to learn more, like how to tackle the different stains and cope with nasty scratches.   

Table of Content:

What makes laminate countertops hard to clean?

Laminate is a very popular choice when it comes to kitchen countertops and that’s no surprise. As a synthetic product, laminate is more cost-effective in comparison to materials like granite or marble. It is also considerably more durable and fairly resistant to staining. 

There is one catch, though. If not removed right away, certain liquids and food can permanently stain the material. This could be a real problem, especially for white and light-coloured laminate, as yellowing is possible over time. In addition, laminate could easily be damaged by sharp objects and hot ones, which are placed or dragged along the surface.

General maintenance tips

Laminate benchtops have a nice and shiny look which, unfortunately, won’t last without your help. If you want to preserve the surface, here is what you need to remember:

  • Polish the laminate benchtop daily, especially after cooking or general use when staining is most probable.
  • Always wipe and dry the surface with a clean cloth, as excessive water can damage it.
  • Steer clear of abrasive, wax-based or highly acidic types of cleaners. Definitely avoid bleach. Better rely on eco-friendly cleaners or even make one yourself by mixing soap, white vinegar and a bit of warm water.

Check out also: How to Clean a Kitchen

Stain removal solutions for laminate benchtop

Spills are impossible to avoid, but it’s good that there are natural solutions to get even the most stubborn stains out. Keep in mind, though, that in case of severe damage to the material, getting the stains out may not possible and investing in new laminate may be the only option.

Turmeric stains

Turmeric stains are among the toughest to beat. The yellow powder can colour just about anything and it doesn’t need long to do it, too. To effectively remove turmeric stains from the kitchen countertop, you can try the following steps:

  • Dilute baking soda in a bowl with a little bit of water. The quantity depends on the size of the stain you have to treat. 
  • Once you have the white paste ready, use a towel or a sponge to apply it to the stained area.
  • Let it sit for 15 to 20 min.
  • Start scrubbing gently and then wipe clean.

Baking soda has a whitening effect and can help you effectively remove other cooking marks from the stained laminate counter in no time. If the stain is still visible, try the same process a few more times, leaving the baking soda on for a while longer.

Greasy stains

If not cleaned properly, you risk spreading the grease all over the counter, making the surface look smudgy. Acidic cleaners break down these types of stains immediately and you have the best eco-friendly alternative right in your home. Freshly squeezed lemon juice, white vinegar or tea tree/eucalyptus oil are some options you can test.

Option 1: Lemon or white vinegar can destroy grease build-up immediately and you can add warm water to the mixture for higher efficiency.

Option 2: Add 5-10 drops (the more drops, the stronger the cleaner) of tea tree or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of warm water. Take a microfibre cloth, dip it into the solution and clean the greasy area. You can use the same cleaning solution for general cleaning and polishing of the laminate countertop. The essential oils kill bacteria and evaporate within minutes.

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Coffee or tea stains

It’s hard to imagine that enjoying a cup of your favourite hot drink in the morning can get you into cleaning troubles, but it happens. You can get coffee or tea stain out of the laminate benchtop quickly with two products:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Toothpaste

Apply a little bit of the toothpaste OR the hydrogen peroxide on a clean cloth and rub it into the stained area. Afterwards, rinse the laminate clean.

Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and the likes are most suitable for treating light-coloured laminate benchtops because of their bleaching effect. Microfibre cloth dipped in soap solution or even just plain water will be enough for cleaning dark-coloured materials. Take extra caution when testing other cleaning recipes on black or similar laminate.

Wax stains

Instead of trying to scrape the wax stain off with a knife and risk damaging the laminate surface, you can try a simple trick:

  • Just take a blow dryer and melt the built-up wax until it’s in its liquid form again.
  • Wipe it away quickly with paper before it gets hard again.
  • If you still feel the surface is greasy or stained, then apply a cleaner directly, preferably one that contains ammonia.

Paint and markers

Freshening up the kitchen’s interior through painting is a great idea, however, it may have some unpleasant consequences. Paint stains are easy to spot on laminate and old stains can be a real challenge to get off.

The first thing you need to do is determine the type of paint. Water-based paint is easy to erase with just a regular multi-purpose cleaner. To get tougher paint stains off laminate countertops, resort to products like a paint removing solvent (paint thinner). As for marker stains, they can be treated directly with nail polish remover.

Nail polish remover and paint removal products have an aggressive formula taht should not be taken lightly, so always test on a small area first to see how it reacts with the surface. This way you will avoid damaging the laminate’s protective layer.

How to remove scratches from laminate

It is normal for a scratch or two to appear on your laminate benchtop over time and the darker the colour the more visible the scratch. Here is what measures you can take:

1

Thoroughly clean and dry the surface.

2

Get a laminate repairing product, there is a big variety in the form of a paste that can work well (make sure that the colour matches the colour of your benchtop).

3

Spread the paste over the scratch with a spatula or another tool you have.

4

Let the paste dry overnight.

5

Clean the benchtop and make the laminate shine again by applying a polishing product.

Takeaways

  • Take caution when cooking on your laminate counter as stains are prone to happen. Also, do not cut food directly on the surface or place hot pots and the like there. 
  • Clean your countertop daily with mild detergents and tools that are gentle on the surface. 
  • Steer clear of very abrasive, highly acidic cleaning agents as well as of brushes, scouring pads and the like.
  • Regular deep cleaning and polishing of your laminate benchtop will prevent fading of its natural shine and shortening of its lifespan.
  • Last update: June 4, 2020

Posted in All Articles, Cleaning Guides

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