Formica® Laminate: Special Cleaning Recommendations

Have a stubborn stain on your laminate countertop? Need more information on which products and chemicals to use with laminate (or not)? Here's your guide to special cleaning materials and more.

Special Cleaning Recommendations

Residual Glue

Sometimes new decorative laminate has a streaky appearance caused by contact adhesive used during fabrication. Clean with a non-abrasive cotton cloth and an adhesive solvent such as Formica® Brand Non-flammable Contact Adhesive Solvent. Use solvent sparingly, as excessive amounts may delaminate edges. Read and follow all warnings and instructions on the labels of all solvent products.

Paint and Varnish

Remove most oil-base paints, varnishes and lacquers from decorative laminate surfaces with a suitable solvent. Read and follow all warnings and instructions on the labels of all solvent products, and remember that most solvents are extremely flammable. Use solvent sparingly, as excessive amounts may delaminate edges. Remove most water-based paints with an ammoniated household cleaner. For stubborn paint spots, gently use a plastic, non-metallic, non-abrasive pad. Never use steel wool or other abrasive scouring pads.


To remove or minimize stains, use full strength Fantastik® All Purpose Cleaner, Formula 409®, Pine-Sol® (original formulation) or other mild household cleaner on the affected area, and allow it to draw out the stain. Blot with a clean, damp, non-abrasive cotton cloth, and then rinse with clean water. When a recommended cleaner changes its formulation, the change may be harmful to the laminate surface. Formica Corporation cannot be held responsible for these changes. Solvents such as denatured alcohol can also be used. Follow all directions and warnings on the solvent label because many are extremely flammable.

Additional Stain and Materials Information

Stubborn or “fugitive” stains that may disappear on their own after a short time or after repeated cleanings include:

  • Coffee and tea stains

  • Food stains

  • Fingerprints

  • Glass rings

  • Food dyes

  • Water marks

Stains which are stubborn or even permanent and may not disappear include:

  • Cash register inks

  • Lemon juice

  • Food pricing ink

  • Marking pen inks

  • Indelible inks

  • Newsprint

  • Label inks

  • Wood stains

Some materials and liquids such as dyes and pharmaceutical products will permanently stain laminate.

Examples include:

  • Dermatological products

  • Povidone-iodine

  • Hair dyes and rinses

  • Red-2B dye

  • Laundry bluing

  • Silver nitrate

  • Mercurochrome®

  • Tannic acid

  • Peroxides

  • Tar compounds

These stains may be reduced by applying a paste of baking soda and water on the area to pull out the stain. The paste will be slightly abrasive so do not rub. Wipe up the paste with a clean damp non-abrasive cotton cloth and then rinse clean with water. Periodic application of a self-cleaning wax can help minimize future staining.

Download this information guide in the full Formica Laminate Use & Care Guide and Warranty PDF.

Scotch-Brite® is a registered trademark of 3M Company. Fantastik® is a registered trademark of DowBrands Inc. Formula 409® and Pine Sol® are registered trademarks of The Clorox Company. Mercurochrome® is a licensed trademark of Beckton Dickson.

Our Products

You're using an unsupported browser and some features may not work properly. Please upgrade to a modern browser, such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.