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How To Clean Laminate Countertops

Trusty and affordable, laminate counters have been a staple in home kitchens since the 1940s. Nowadays, they aren't as popular as granite countertops, but you will still find them in a lot of homes and apartments. Many homeowners still opt for this countertop material because, as ConsumerReports notes, laminate is affordable and just as sturdy as many more expensive countertops. 

If you live in a home with this type of counter, you probably want to make sure you get the best return on your investment. This means understanding how to clean your countertops so that your surfaces hold up for years to come. To increase the longevity of your countertop, there are some smart methods you can employ.

There are also some issues to be aware of with laminate like propensity to chip as well as their vulnerability to burns and cuts. 

By understanding how this material can be damaged easily, you can take proactive measures to protect it (like using cutting boards and having hot pads or trivets at-the-ready when you need to place a hot pan somewhere besides the stovetop).

In today's article, we will review some of the best ways to clean laminate, and how to take care of your laminate countertops on a daily basis.

First, What is Laminate?

Laminate is a composite material comprised of layers of paper and resin. Interestingly, some layers are made of the same paper that grocery bags are made from. These layers are pressed together while they’re cooked. The combination of heat and pressure results in the layers chemically bonding to create one sheet of laminate.

After the laminate has been created, it’s cut down to size and glued to plywood. And that’s how laminate countertops are made.

A Note on Laminate Finishes 

There are actually a number of different types of laminate besides the standard matte finish. This article will assume a standard matte-finish laminate, but laminates nowadays can be designed to mimic textures of wood, stone, and marble.

How to Clean Laminate Countertops

As with most housekeeping tasks, the key to keeping your laminate countertops clean is the frequency with which you wipe them down. However, when you clean a surface regularly, you should use milder materials. Doing so results in less wear and tear, which means your counters last longer.

To clean laminate countertops on a daily basis, all you need is dishwashing liquid, warm water and a microfiber cloth. Apply a mixture of dish soap and water to your counters using the cloth. As you wipe the counter, rinse your cloth in clean water. That way you’re actually cleaning, not just spreading dingy suds around. Afterwards, you can let the counter air dry or you can wipe away any remaining moisture with a fresh microfiber cloth.

How to Remove Stains

If your countertops are stained, you can take care of those with baking soda and water. Simply combine a tablespoon of baking soda with a couple of tablespoons of water and mix those together to form a paste. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for about five minutes. Afterwards, wipe your countertops down with a damp microfiber cloth. Don’t scrub, or you could damage the surface. If the stain still isn’t gone, you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see what stain removal products they recommend. Additionally, you’ll want to spot check the baking soda mixture on a small out-of-the-way section of your counter before applying it to larger areas.

Like we mentioned earlier, there are many different kinds of laminate nowadays both in terms of texture and material, so it's good to hang on to manufacturer guidelines for long-term care and maintenance. 

Keep Your Laminate Countertop Looking Good

As we’ve mentioned, one of laminate’s best features is that it’s affordable. To get your money’s worth out of your counters, you need to do more than know how to clean laminate countertops. You need to treat them right. Unwanted scratches are a common issue when homeowners fail to take the right precautions. To keep your counters maintained over the long-haul, here’s a list of laminate do’s and don’ts:

  • Use cutting boards or a butcher’s block when using knives.
  • Put down placemats and trivets to protect laminate from heat.
  • Make use of soft damp cloths when cleaning 
  • Know your manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning products and materials.
  • Clean with powdered cleaners, scouring pads, steel wool or scrub brushes.
  • Use knives, meat tenderizers or similar kitchen utensils on your countertop.
  • Wash laminate countertops with bleach, as it can discolor the surface.
  • Leave spills to sit for long periods of time. 
  • Put hot pans, sheets, mugs, or plates on the counter if they are over 150 degrees F.
With proper cleaning, laminate counters can last you a long time. Has learning how to clean laminate countertops inspired you to tackle the rest of the kitchen? Well, we’ve got plenty of cleaning tips to help you make your kitchen sparkle.