From exciting solids to innovative patterns to realistic woodgrains and more, today’s commercial-grade laminates offer the latest designs and finishes for a variety of decorative and functional needs. Keep your surfaces looking new longer with the following suggestions and recommendations on care and cleaning techniques:
Routine cleaning. High-pressure laminates can usually be wiped clean with just a damp cloth or sponge using a mild soap, non-bleach detergent, or a general-purpose cleaner. Ammoniated and/or vinegar-based glass cleaners are best for cleaning surfaces soiled by grease. Abrasive cleaners/powders and metal or abrasive-coated scouring pads should not be used on most laminates as they may permanently dull and scratch the laminate and make it more susceptible to staining.
Food stains. Though most spills are easily wiped away, certain food stains such as tea, food dyes, fruit drinks, or coffee may be more difficult to remove. A thorough cleaning using mild cleaner, detergent, or general-purpose cleaner and a short soft-bristle nylon brush is recommended for removing stains. This procedure will also remove water marks, glass rings, and greasy fingerprints.
Ink stains/pencil marks. Stains from pencil marks and inks such as felt-tipped pens, food-pricing labels, textile dyes, newspaper print, and other indelible inks can sometimes transfer to the laminate surface and could become permanent. In order to reduce the risk of permanent damage, stains should be removed as quickly as possible. If necessary, use full-strength detergent or a glass spray cleaner. Allow cleaner to remain on the stain for several minutes, blot with a damp cloth, and then rinse. If stubborn stains persist, a solvent - such as denatured alcohol, fingernail polish remover, mineral spirits, or paint thinner - may be used. Several applications may be needed. Follow with routine cleaning and rinsing procedures.
Chemical stains. High-pressure laminates resist many chemicals, including alcohol, paint thinners, most cosmetics, and drugs. However, care must be exercised when using bleaches, hair dyes, rinses, bluing, drain cleaners, and full-strength detergents for automatic dishwashers as these chemicals can cause permanent stains. Take precautions to protect your laminate surface from chemicals commonly found in rust removers, metal/oven cleaners, and drain/toilet bowl cleaners. Never put these cleaners on laminate surfaces. Accidental spills should be wiped off immediately and the area rinsed thoroughly to prevent permanent etching or discoloration of the surface.
Paint and adhesive stains. Varnish, lacquer, and oil-based paints can be removed from laminate by thorough cleaning using proper solvent or paint remover. (Caution: Most solvents are extremely flammable.) Solvents will damage real wood finishes; be careful not to splash on cabinets or other wood surfaces. Water-based paints are best removed with an ammoniated household detergent. If spots have dried and are especially stubborn, a plastic (non-metallic), non-abrasive scouring pad may be used. Super Glue™ adhesive can be removed with nail polish remover or Acetone.
Information for this column was provided by Nevamar Decorative Surfaces, which was recently acquired by Shelton, CT-based Panolam Industries Intl. Inc. (www.panolam.com), a market leader and innovator in the decorative laminates industry.