Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Thing #193--Wax On

Our house is about 20 years old, and many of the things inside are "original equipment", including the off-white Formica kitchen countertops. We're slowly weighing our options for replacing them, but in the meantime I need them to look as good as they possibly can. Some Internet research revealed several possibilities for cleaning them up, and today I polished my kitchen countertops with car wax.

I usually don't go to the trouble to wax my car, so I had to buy some wax at the auto parts store. There was a whole section of waxes; I just bought the cheapest one and brought it home.

The first step in the project, though, was getting all the old embedded dirt off. I brought out the big guns, and scrubbed them with cleanser. It was amazing how much dirt was embedded in the surface! With a lot of cleanser, elbow grease, rinsing (and a change of clothes after I got wet cleanser all over my shirt), the countertops were clean. However, they didn't have that shiny gleam I was going for.

It was wax time! The directions were simple--wet the applicator, apply wax and let it dry, then wipe it off. I did it a section at a time, and found that it takes a LOT of elbow grease to remove dried-on wax. However, the horizontal countertop was much easier to do than a vertical surface like a car.

I finished up the countertop and the island shortly before I had to leave for work. They looked nice, but I didn't notice a dramatic difference. However, when I came in the door after work I was greeted by an expanse of gleaming counters. They were beautiful! I got out all my supplies again so I could clean and polish my kitchen desk, which is made out of the same Formica.


  1. Is your house on the market or something? I don't think I'd ever wax our laminate countertops..they have a sort of matte finish that would not be improved by wax. I've lived some places with older, shiny formica and I can see how a coat of wax might make them look a bit fresher for a short period of time.

    The only strange thing I've ever waxed is our shower doors (with RainX)--it looked nice for a while (the water just ran right off and didn't leave spots), but the wax attracts dirt/soapscum more easily than glass does, and took a lot more scrubbing to get it clean again.

  2. I just got tired of looking at the coffee rings,mustard stains, and pen marks that wouldn't come completely off, no matter how hard I tried.

    Our counters also have the matte finish, but they were looking pretty dull. The coat of wax should protect the counters for a while. This morning's messes wiped right up!

  3. Key Kathy... just going through some past "Things" and saw this one... maybe i'll try the wax... i just cleaned my counters with soft scrub last week so they are clean... any suggestions on the type of wax to use?


  4. Stephanie--I just went to Auto Zone and bought the cheapest stuff they had.

    Now, about a month later the counters still look shiny!