After twenty years of soft drinks, coffee and wear and tear, a plastic laminate kitchen countertop can become discolored and worn. Small scratches dull the finish.
It’s impossible to fully restore the color and eliminate scratches from plastic laminate (better known by common brand names like Formica). The same properties that make plastic laminate such a tough and durable material for countertops also make it impossible to patch or repair fully.
However, you can clean and polish laminate with a product like Gel-Gloss, a milky white cleaner/polish much like automotive wax. With a little rubbing, Gel-Gloss will remove most stains and discoloration with its mild abrasive and solvent cleaner.
Spread a thin coat on the countertop after it dries to a light powdery residue, buff with a clean cloth. This leaves a nice gloss that tends to mask scratches, so the plastic laminate looks refinished. It also creates a smooth, sealed surface that resists water spotting and stains. In the future, when the counter gets dull again, apply more.
Never use bleach or strong abrasive cleaners on plastic laminates. They can damage the surface and remove the color. Also, don’t flood the surface with water – water may get into the edge joints and swell the underlying particle board.