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Will Laminate Countertops Stain? E-mail
Laminate countertops are fairly resistant to staining, but they are the least stain-resistant among other countertop types. The laminate material has a slightly slippery coating, which holds liquids on the surface away from the absorbent sheets underneath. However, this coating is slightly porous, and water that gets into these pores can accumulate gradually and create dark spots which cannot be wiped off since they are under the laminate surface. Most other stains can be removed by wiping or gentle scrubbing.

Laminate countertops react differently to different types of stains. Stains on laminate countertops are commonly caused by food spills, grease, food color, and heat.

Food spills

Food spills, particularly sauces, are one of the most common culprits of laminate countertop stains. Thick, dark sauces, such as tomato and chili, seep into the surface particularly fast, and if left on the surface long enough, they can leave a light stain even after they are wiped away. The stain goes away eventually, however.


Grease does not stain easily, but once it does, the stain is difficult to remove. Grease can come from food leftovers such as fat and dips, or from meat drippings left over when frying. Grease that makes it onto your laminate countertop should not do any damage for about thirty minutes; leave it any longer and you have a stain that will not budge even with heavy scrubbing. Stains made by light grease such as vegetable oil may go away in a few weeks, but heavy grease stains are usually there for good.

Food color

Food color stains quickly. A low-grade or diluted food color can seep into your countertop surface in thirty seconds, but the highly concentrated kind will stain in ten seconds or less. Worse, wiping them away will only spread the stain. Luckily, rubbing with a strong soap solution usually works. Vinegar or a small amount of home-grade acid should get rid of particularly stubborn food color stains.


Heat stains usually happen when you place a very hot object on your countertop, such as a pot straight from the fire, and let it stay longer than five minutes. Pots usually cool down before they can melt or deform your countertop, but they do stay hot long enough to burn it slightly. Also, since extreme heat changes an object's chemical structure, burn marks do not respond to any amount of wiping or scrubbing.

How to prevent stains

With laminate countertops, the trick is to wipe spills as quickly as possible. Always have a damp rag or towel handy for wiping. Keep all sauce bottles, jars, cups and glasses a safe distance from your countertop when cooking. Make sure the caps and lids are tightly placed before returning stain-prone items to the racks.

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