Formica, sometimes called laminate, is a durable yet affordable option for your countertops. It can mimic the design of higher end products. For example, WilsonArt laminate countertops from a place like Plastic Line Mfg Inc come in styles that look like granite, quartz, and other expensive stone options. The additional benefit is that the laminate is less likely to suffer stains and it is often much more easy to care for. The following tips can help you care for your countertops so that they look good for a long time.
Tip #1: Don't use abrasive cleaners
There is no need to use anything abrasive on laminate. This means don't use green scrubbie sponges, stiff brushes, steel wool, or abrasive cleaning solutions. Abrasive items can leave small scratches in the laminate. These may not be visible at first, but eventually dirt will become lodged in these scratches. This results in a dull or dirty appearance that can't be easily removed.
Tip #2: Always use a cutting board
Although laminate is durable, it's best to always use a cutting board when slicing anything on the countertop. The concern isn't that food will stain the laminate, but that the knife will etch the surface. This results in the same issue as with abrasive items – small scratches that eventually collect dirt.
Tip #3: Keep it dry
Keeping it dry doesn't mean you can't use water. Plain water or a mild all-purpose kitchen cleaner is the best way to clean laminate. Keeping it dry means don't leave standing water on the laminate, especially near the edges or seams. The wood beneath the laminate can absorb standing water, which causes it to swell. If this happens often enough, then the laminate will weaken at these seams and eventually begin to separate from the substrate. After cooking or cleaning, wipe up any excess liquid with a sponge or dishcloth.
Tip #4: Avoid acidic cleaners
Water or all-purpose kitchen cleaner is all you need. Any cleaners that contain acid can etch the countertop, leading to those dreaded dirty scratches. This means that you need to avoid the use of oven cleaners, drain cleaners, lime scale removers, and metal cleaners. Generally, if a product promises to remove water stains or spots, it likely contains an acid and shouldn't be used.
Tip #5: Remove stains promptly
Fortunately, laminate isn't highly absorbent so it doesn't stain easily. Coffee, tea, and dark foods like tomato or grape juice are the main culprits. You can usually clean these up quickly with a weak bleach and water solution or an oxygenated bleach product. Failing this, make a thin paste with baking soda and water and use this to scrub out the stain. Baking soda is a mild enough abrasive that it won't scratch the laminate.
For more help, contact a laminate countertop dealer near you.