Q&A / 

Plastic Laminate Care Tips


Most cleaning solutions, or soaps, are alkaline. Alkaline substances can etch the plastic top layer of plastic laminate, depending upon how strong they are and how long they are in contact with the laminate.

New laminate countertops can be damaged by residual soap which is not rinsed off a countertop! For example, let's say you inadvertently leave some soap or cleaning solution on a countertop. Then you set a glass or a plate, which is wet, onto the countertop. The moisture on the bottom of the glass and/or plate can reactivate the soap. Hours later you move the glass or plate and see a ring. Try as you may, the ring does not rinse or wipe off. The solution: Always rinse off laminate countertops with clean water after washing.

Difficult Stains

For spots that cannot be removed by a standard mild dishwashing liquid soap, try an all purpose or bathroom cleaner. Be sure that the cleaner is non-abrasive. Abrasive cleaners, like Comet® or Soft Scrub® can easily scratch a plastic laminate surface. If this happens, you will probably be unable to restore the original luster of the laminate.

When using these stronger cleaners, work in small areas. Use good lighting. Monitor the laminate to make sure the cleaner is not etching the surface.

Damaging Household Products!

Certain common household products can really damage or discolor laminate countertops. Common drain cleaners that contain lye will scar plastic laminate. Dyes will discolor and stain plastic laminate. For example, don't use hair, clothing, or food dyes on or near plastic laminate. You may be in for an unpleasant surprise!

Oven cleaners have strong alkaline chemicals in them. Overspray or cleaner which has dripped down the side of a can can scar and etch your new countertop.

Rust removers will cause irreversible damage to your plastic laminate. Keep them away from your countertops! Rust itself will stain your countertop. As such, if you use steel wool for cleaning, don't set it down to dry on your plastic laminate.

Toilet bowl cleaners also contain strong alkaline chemicals. Keep these off your laminate.

Certain foods and liquids are alkaline and acidic: grape juice, citrus drinks (OJ, grapefruit juice,etc.), tomatoes, etc. Be careful - prolonged exposure to these things may stain your new countertop.

Recommended Household Cleaners for most plastic laminates (Be sure to check with your manufacturer!)

All of the following are Trademark or Registered Names

  • Clorox
  • Formula 409
  • Ajax
  • Dawn
  • Dow Bathroom Cleaner with Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Fantastik
  • Favor
  • Pledge
  • Windex
  • Lestoil
  • Glass Plus
  • Grease Relief
  • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Basin/Tub/Tile cleaner
  • Mr. Clean

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