Formica is becoming an increasingly popular material in kitchen and bathroom design, providing the look and feel of expensive marble at a fraction of the cost. It is also a very robust option for a countertop and can stand up to a lot of abuse without looking any the worse for wear. Inevitably, though, things are liable to get spilled in the kitchen whenever you live in an active household. Even hard countertop materials like this can stain over time, degrading the sleek appeal.
Simple Solutions Work Best
The classic baking soda and white vinegar mixture is a proven stain remover and is much less likely to be damaging to your Formica countertop. Typically, it will just need to soak into the problem area for a few minutes before being wiped down. If this is a bit too old fashioned for you, you can use other chemicals specifically for removing stains as well. Keep in mind that if you choose to use commercial cleaners, choose one that's rated to work with a material of this type. Many cleaning products will either list the materials they're designed to remove stains from or state that they are a general-purpose cleaner that is safe for all countertops. Since Formica is laminate-based, it tends to be fairly tolerant of all but the harshest of chemicals.
Take Consistent Care of Formica
Taking good care of your countertop in other ways can help make stains easier to remove as well. For example, using your Formica as a cutting board might come back to haunt you. Stains are most easily removed from flat, smooth surfaces. If your kitchen activities have been hard on your counter, stains can soak into the scratches and cracks that may form. If that happens, putting a spit shine on the rest of the countertop will only serve to accentuate the imperfections.
Avoid Bleach for Stain Removal
Regardless of what type of stain you're dealing with, the most important thing to keep in mind is that Formica does not react well to bleach. Applying bleach to a darker stain, such as red wine or grape juice, is more likely to just worsen the stain and discolor your countertop. Once this happens, it's almost impossible to restore the original color, especially if your countertop is of a very light color. You will always be able to tell there was a stain there. The only way to completely remove it would be to literally cut into the finish with some medium-grit sandpaper.
Formica can be used to complete the look of an already sophisticated kitchen. Treat it with the same level of refinement that you would real marble, and it will repay you with a beautiful appeal for a very long time.