How to Polish and Restore Formica® Laminate - Tips, Advice, and FAQs

How to Polish and Restore Formica® Laminate - Tips, Advice, and FAQs

If your Formica® laminate countertop is starting to show signs of wear and tear, try polishing it back to its original appearance.

Formica® laminate is a fantastic material, known for its durability and ease of maintenance. Usually, all you need to clean your Formica® laminate countertop and have it looking good as new is a damp, non-abrasive microfiber cloth, a mild liquid detergent, and a bit of elbow grease.

However, age and certain environmental factors can eventually take their toll -- not to mention the damage that may inadvertently be caused by using your kitchen top as a cutting board.

If your Formica® laminate countertop is starting to show signs of wear and tear, try polishing it back to its original appearance. You might be surprised by the results!

Restore and polish Formica® laminate in two simple steps

You will need the following:

  • Neutral, non-abrasive cleaner
  • Nylon brush (or toothbrush)
  • Soft cloth
  • Protective gloves (if you are sensitive to cleaners)
  • Countertop polish

1. Clean the surface thoroughly with non-abrasive soap and a soft cloth.

To maintain the natural shine of a high pressure laminate countertop, clean it on a daily basis with an antibacterial surface cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth. This will minimize stains and prevent abrasive dirt from damaging the surface.

As we’ll explain further, do not use any commercial cleaners designed for standard household surfaces like cooktops, drains, tiles, or toilet bowls. Most of these products contain acids that can damage Formica® laminate. Instead, simply use dish soap or a mixture of water (2 cups) and vinegar (one tablespoon). Leave the solution on the surface for 2 minutes before wiping it down.

If the stains are especially stubborn, use a paste made of baking soda and water. Apply the paste with a nylon brush to reach any stains in deeper crevices. A toothbrush is a great option. Once you’re done, simply rinse your Formica® laminate surface with water and dry polish with a soft cloth. Be careful not to flood the laminate, especially near the seams, as too much water can penetrate and cause the substrate to swell.

A person cleaning a countertop

If you’re not seeing the results you’d like, you can also consider using acetone, rubbing alcohol, or ethanol to draw out the stain. Clean the area using a circular motion and rinse out the cleanser before polishing the surface dry.

2. Polish your Formica® laminate surface

Avoid applying anything resembling standard, commercial furniture polish to Formica® laminate surfaces, since these products typically contain silicone and other chemicals that will cause buildup, leading to streaks and discoloration.

Hope’s Perfect Countertop spray wax is the sole polishing agent that we recommend for this purpose. It is specifically formulated to enhance the shine and colour of your Formica® laminate countertop, without causing any streaks.

A person cleaning a countertop

What products can I use on Formica® laminate?

Formica® laminate is a strong material, but it’s much easier to maintain when you clean it regularly. We have compiled a list of products to use and NOT to use to polish and clean your counter or tabletop.


  • Mild dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Non-abrasive nylon brush
  • Soft microfiber cloth
  • Hope’s Perfect Countertop laminate cleaner and polish


  • Furniture polish
  • Commercial cleaners for domestic surfaces
  • Ammonia 
  • Powdered cleaners
  • Scrubbing pads
  • Steel wool
  • Hard scrubbing brushes

FAQs about polishing and maintaining Formica® laminate

How can I remove glue residue from a Formica® laminate countertop?

Remove glue residue from the laminate with a solvent like acetone and a non-abrasive cloth. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the remaining solvent, then dry the surface.

Contact adhesive sometimes appears at the joints. When cleaning, be careful not to flood them with solvent or any other type of liquid.

Can I use car wax on my Formica® laminate countertop?

While it’s true some people apply car wax to add sheen to laminated services, the only such product Formica Group endorses for this purpose is Hope’s Perfect Countertop.

Can sandpaper be used to remove scratches on Formica® laminate?

Do not use abrasive materials such as sandpaper, steel wool, or wire brushes to repair scratches on your countertop. Abrasives will damage the protective coating on high pressure laminate surfaces.

How do you polish a Formica® laminate tabletop?

Again, the most practical way to clean and polish your counter or tabletop is with a dry, clean, non-abrasive microfiber cloth and a little elbow grease. You can also use Hope’s Perfect Countertop spray and wipe wax to polish Formica® laminate and give it an extra shine.

How do you repair chipped Formica® laminate countertop edges?

Often, the edges of a countertop are the most vulnerable areas to chipping or damage. You can repair them by purchasing rolls of edge banding from a dealer specialized in cabinets and countertops. Simply scrape off the old Formica® laminate edges and install the strip, using plastic laminate adhesive to secure it in place.

How do you fix a burn mark on a countertop?

Burn spots on your laminate countertop can appear when you don’t protect it from exposure to hot objects, like a frying pan straight off the burner. Surface burns are relatively easy to repair, but deeper burns require a little more work.
For surface marks, first use a soft cloth and soap to clean the surface, and then apply a thin layer of baking soda or toothpaste to the mark. Let it sit there for a few minutes. Then use a toothbrush or soft bristle brush to scrub the burnt surface. Clean again. Repeat as necessary until the mark is gone.
How do you fix discolored Formica® laminate?

Over time, your Formica® laminate countertops and surfaces may lose some of their original brightness and shine. To prevent this from happening, clean your Formica® laminate regularly and polish it well.

If the damage has been done and the discoloration is already present, clean the surface and apply Hope’s Perfect Countertop to restore its appearance.

Can white Formica® laminate that has yellowed be brightened?

Several things can contribute to your Formica® laminate surfaces turning yellow. The most common culprits are bleach stains, direct sunlight, and grease build-up (mainly in the kitchen).

In such cases, try restoring your Formica® laminate’s original shine by washing your surfaces with dishwashing soap or Windex glass cleaner.

Can you use Pledge on Formica® laminate?

Although scratches on Formica® laminate are irreversible, they can sometimes be masked by applying lemon oil or self-stripping waxes such as Pledge®.

If you simply wish to polish your Formica® laminate table or countertop, use Hope’s Perfect Countertop spray and wipe wax.

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