Before and After: Formica Tabletop

Today my son started preschool in the afternoon and I was going through slight mommy withdrawal. To keep myself busy, I went to work on my new formica tabletop and tried to get that blasted stain out of it. To be honest, I didn’t have a whole lot of hope when I saw it at first but thought it was faint and no big deal. When I got it home it was not so faint. When I researched stain removal online I had a little more hope. And after working on it for an hour…well, you’ll see.

BeforeHere is the before in proper lighting, not a dimly lit back room. It’s not too awful, but I’m thinking it will probably bug me. Can I go back to the 1950s and wipe this stain up right away? And I digress. Here’s the after:

AfterSeriously. Two different shots. Here are the methods I tried to use and failed with. Several people mentioned the wonders of a baking soda and white vinegar mixture left to sit for twenty or so minutes. Tried that. Twice. No difference. Others mentioned mineral oil/cooking oil/olive oil, but this mainly cleans light surface stains and my engrained stain laughed in that option’s face. Then I attacked it with a Magic Eraser, something I was pretty sure would work. False. I have one more option to try but that involves picking myself up and going to a store to buy a product called Countertop Magic. From the reviews it again looks more like a light cleaning product. Some people said bleach but I’ve had bad luck with it and am too chicken to try it.

What do you all think? Any recommendations? Now I’m going to look for some matching chairs. Or wildly contrasting chairs. Or a new table altogether. I’m feeling a little defeated.

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  1. Victor
    Posted February 13, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    When we moved to our current place, we, too, were met with laminate countertops displaying decades of stains left behind by a parade of uncaring renters. Most scrubbing methods did nothing to fade said stains.

    We did finally find a solution that worked – my wife’s discovery:
    – Use the Clorox-brand Disinfecting Wipes, preferably the Orange ones. (Lysol Lemon Disinfecting Wipes do not work quite as well, but can be used)
    – Lay one or two layers of the wipes flat over the stain, pressing them firmly down, flat onto the countertop’s surface. (you could even use a rolling pin to get it good and flat)
    – Leave the wipe(s) stuck down *overnight*. Lift and wipe surface clean in the morning.
    – Repeat until stain is lifted, though for us it usually doesn’t take more than one or two applications.

    This method works great on most plastic and resin surfaces we’ve tried it on.
    It is especially great for lifting spaghetti-sauce stains off of the little one’s plastic high-chair tray!

    To be fair, though, we’ve only tried this on ivory and white-with-gold pattern surfaces. We have not seen a color change, but you may want to try it on a non-conspicuous part of the counter first.

    • Angela
      Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the tip Victor! The wipes have been purchased and now I need to clear off some boxes to get back at that table top. I was super annoyed with my first attempts but will hopefully try again this weekend :)

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