How to Remove Rust Stains from Formica Countertop

Formica is an affordable and long-lasting countertop that many homeowners are investing in. Sometimes, the countertop can get rust stains from pots and table hardware. These tend to leave some orange streaks on the surface. Knowing how to remove rust stains from your Formica countertops will help keep them in tip-top shape all year round. 

There are several ways to remove rust stains from Formica countertops:

  • Using warm water and a mild detergent.
  • Using a paste made from borax and lemon juice.
  • Using a paste made from white vinegar and lemon juice.
  • Pouring alcohol on the surface.
  • Wiping the surface with a soft cloth dipped in white vinegar.

How to remove rust stains from Formica countertops

Formica is a form of plastic laminate that is often used in counters. Cleaning this surface is easy since it rarely forms permanent stains. If you have noticed some rust stains on your kitchen Formica countertop, you should clean it properly. Doing this wrongly can cause more damage than the rust stain. Follow the steps below to remove rust stains on this countertop.

Use warm water and a mild detergent

Wipe off rust stains on your Formica countertops with mild detergent and a rough cloth.
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Get two teaspoons of mild detergent and some warm water. These can help you remove the rust stains on the surface easily. You can use a rough cloth to wipe the rust stains from the countertop. If you don’t have a rough cloth, consider cleaning the affected surface with a soft-bristled brush. Do not clean the Formica countertop with a stiff brush or an abrasive pad since these can scratch the surface.

Once you clean the surface with a soft cloth and warm water, you can rinse it off with some clear water without any soap. Avoid using too much water close to the seams of this countertop. This can penetrate and make the Formica crack. Ensure you also wipe dry the surface since leaving standing water can make the laminate warp or separate.

Use borax and lemon juice

A paste mixed with borax and lemon juice will help remove rust stains from Formica countertops.
You can buy borax online from Amazon or your local stores.

Apart from water and mild detergent, you can also remove rust stains from the Formica countertop by using borax and lemon juice. To form the paste, you need lemon juice and borax. Lemon juice contains citric acid combined with the borax to help you get rid of light rust stains on the Formica countertop.

After creating the paste, smear it over the rust stain slowly. Avoid rubbing the paste in. Give it at least three minutes before you wipe the surface. The citric acid in lemon juice cannot damage the Formica. Once the period is over, you should wipe the paste off the countertop using a wet rag. You can then rinse the surface and check whether the rust stains are gone.

Pour alcohol on the surface

If you have used lemon juice and borax paste on the Formica countertop and still notice the rust stain, you should pour some alcohol on it. Give it at least a minute for it to take effect. You can also add some bleach to the surface to cover the stain. If you add bleach to the stained area, give it another minute, then rinse the area with a clean rag and water.

Use lemon juice and baking soda

Using baking soda with lemon water is just as effective as borax in removing rust stains.
Baking soda is an alternative to borax and can be bought from Amazon.

If you don’t have access to borax, you can still use lemon juice and baking soda. Once you mix these two substances, they will form a toothpaste-like consistency. Start applying the thick paste onto the rust stain, then cover the mixture using plastic. Use tape to cover the edges. Give the mixture up to 4 hours to work. After this, remove the plastic, then wipe the mixture using a wet sponge or rag.

Use white vinegar

Wiping the rust stains with white vinegar is an effective way to remove them.
Be careful not to wipe white vinegar off at once as it may cause the stain to smear across your countertop.

You can also get rid of rust stains on the plastic laminate with the help of white vinegar. Dip one of the ends of a soft cloth in white vinegar. Instead of using a dyed cloth, you should use a white one to avoid transferring any dyes onto the Formica countertop. A dyed cloth can form another undesired stain on the countertop. The cloth should also be soft since a rough one can scratch the surface.

Once you have dipped the cloth into white vinegar, use it to rub the stain from the outer edges working towards the middle part. Avoid wiping the entire rust stain at once since this can make the stain smear all over the surface. After properly wiping the stained surface, you can rinse the Formica countertop with some plain water.


Many people choose Formica countertop since it comes in various colors, styles, and patterns. If you have this countertop at home, you should know how to get rid of rust stains on it. Consider using one of the solutions we have highlighted above.


Can I remove rust stains on the Formica countertop using steel wool?

No. This can easily damage the finish.

How can I polish Formica?

Use an all-purpose cleaner to polish Formica.

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