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Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Category Kitchen
Over time with normal usage and constant cleaning, your Formica countertops can look dull and worn. This is a guide about restoring the shine on a Formica countertop.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

1 found this helpful
August 11, 2010

I used Ajax cleanser to remove a spot on my Formica counter and it has left a dull mark. Is there any way to get the original look of the counter back?

By Beth from Prudenville, MI

Answer Was this helpful? 1
August 13, 20103 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try using car wax. When we got new countertops, the installer told us to use that periodically to protect the counters - might work for you!

Reply Was this helpful? 3
November 17, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Someone suggested using Mop N Glo. Thanks! It worked very well. The only thing that got my worn Formica counter top to shine again. Just follow the directions.

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March 30, 20156 found this helpful
Best Answer

To say; "You can't restore a long-lasting shine to formica" is simply NOT true! Formica is like "plexiglass" or any other hard acrylic. As an aircraft mechanic, I've had to "restore" acrylic canopies.

In my hobby/business, I repair and restore mid-century modern (mostly "Atomic Age") furniture that incorporates a LOT of formica. Replacing that original formica would ruin the piece as a collectable/antique.

You have to start by filling in the voids (yes, some people actually cut up food directly on formica, imbedding particles of plastic in their food and ruining their counter-top and knife edges!).

Use the same products made for repairing auto windshields. The best and most effective are the Novus products unless you know all about abrasive slurries. After you polish your formica, protect it with a good, hard wax like carnauba and follow that with a soft, sacrificial wax like beeswax...and don't be cuttin' up food on the dang counter-top anymore!

Reply Was this helpful? 6
March 30, 20152 found this helpful
Best Answer

Formica stains: First off, chorine bleach destroys plastics in the same way UV rays do. You should never use it to sanitize your formica countertops as it actually encourages crazing and stain deposits. I'm not a big fan of chlorine and I prefer a sulfur based kitchen sanitzer used in professional kitchens, brew houses and by wine makers - metabisulfites of potassium or sodium - aka - campden tablets dissolved in a spray bottle with a mild soap.

Natural stains, the most common being "rust" can be removed with oxalic acid which is sold as "wood bleach" or you can extract your own from rhubarb leaves, sorrel or from mature poke plants. This also removes rust stains from porcelain, like sinks and tubs, but it won't remove the mineral deposits. Cean your formica well with HOT soapy water removing all oils, waxes or grease. Apply the OA mixed in VERY HOT water to the stain with a brush, then cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from dying out. The rust stain should be gone in an hour or two.

Oxygen bleaches and, dare I say it - chlorine will remove stains made by man-made dyes such as food coloring.

As I posted earlier, you can bring back the gloss of old formica. You can also resurface your counters with the resins used to "imbed" things in bartops and tables... polish out as instructed earlier.

I hope this helps someone.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
January 9, 20164 found this helpful
Best Answer

Please DO NOT use car wax, floor wax, mop 'n glow, etc., on your kitchen countertops. These products are not safe for food preparation areas. A periodic application of olive oil, buffed off, leaves a temporary, safe shine.

Reply Was this helpful? 4
October 24, 20160 found this helpful

For the 3 products you mentioned, do you have any favorite specific brands/types you recommend? If you can recommend some for me, I would be eternally grateful!!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
December 3, 20160 found this helpful

Thanks, Rick!

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January 11, 20170 found this helpful

Formica is no longer made from the same good material the old ones were made from. The material is horrible, and hard to keep from damaging and staining. I'm 56, and my parents still have the same, wonderful formica on their counters as they had when I was growing up. Go take a look in the large hardware stores, it doesn't even feel the same.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 7, 20100 found this helpful

How can I restore the shine to 17 year old Formica counters?

By Mimi from Cedarville, MI


Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

You really can't, sorry to say. Once the laminate dulls, it's time to buy new or wait it out until you can afford a different material. (11/05/2009)

By Allison5

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Try car wax. (11/07/2009)

By ahastings7878

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

I've often wondered if Rainex would help such a condition. I've even thought of trying it on my old sinks to see if shine could be restored. Good luck. (11/08/2009)


By Carol in PA

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
January 9, 20170 found this helpful

You can still buy Jubilee on Amazon. It's not cheap but well worth it. I had used it on my previous countertop that looked brand new still after 17 years and now I have a brand new house and the countertop was so dull and scratched easily etc. so I was happy to find Jubilee wax again.

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November 5, 20090 found this helpful

I sprayed my formica countertop with a surface cleaner containing bleach and let it sit a bit too long (got distracted!) and when I came back to wipe it off, it took the shine off of the countertop in that area. Is there any way to get that shine back? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Mary P


Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Try a kitchen wax made, such as Jubalee (07/13/2005)

By johnsonya

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Gel-gloss is the best product I have ever seen for countertop restoration. It comes in a spray can or cream and is similar to car wax, in the way that it dries and then you rub it off. I hope this helps. (07/26/2005)

By Penny

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Hi to all. I just tried "Armor-all" on my marble-looking formica and it really shines now! You can get it anywhere they sell automotive/car wax items. (02/20/2008)

By Susan

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Well I'm struggling with my counter top, too. My sister actually refinished counter tops in 2 of her homes by cleaning the surface thoroughly then applying an acrylic paint with a swirl pattern. She did such a great job it looks like a marble counter top. Unfortunately in the area we live, I'm not able to purchase this paint but larger cities should stock this item. Other than that, I've been reading, use an abrasive like Comet and scrub it down to an eggshell surface. I'm going to give that a try now. Good luck to all! (03/05/2008)

By middlesis

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

I, too, spilled some kind of cleaner on my kitchen counter. I just purchased a can of Countertop Magic FM44 at Ace Hardware and after 1 treatment it looks 90% better. I think one more dose will do it. Good Luck. (03/11/2008)

By Dee

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

I have used car wax on my Formica Countertops. I used NUFINISH. It brought back the shine. (09/25/2008)

By Barbara.

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October 23, 20160 found this helpful

Don't forget to check the products you are using for toxins. Armorall is known to be very toxic...not what you want around your food or toddlers!

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August 11, 20100 found this helpful

I would like to do something with my Formica counters. I like the color, but they have gotten scratched and dull over time. Is there a clear finish I can use? I have seen what others have done for faux finishes, but I want to keep it simple. Thank you very much.

By Sandi from Scotland, CT


Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

I have heard you can use Turtle Wax or another similar product and wax like a car. If you have a buffer even better. Think of your counters like an oxidized car. (03/17/2010)

By Lisa Kay

Restoring the Shine on a Formica Countertop

Some stores actually sell a wax/polish for kitchen counters and such. It makes then feel so smooth and gives them a nice shine. (03/18/2010)

By susanmajp

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

March 14, 20100 found this helpful

How can I clean and restore the shine on my Formica kitchen countertops that are 16 years old?

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