Anyone who has a laminate countertop needs a cutting board. Without one, you're bound to scratch the laminate. Unfortunately, you can't always remove scratches from laminate countertops. You may be able to fill knife cuts with laminate repair paste, but sometimes the best you can do is camouflage them. There's a way to do that with paste wax as long as you're OK with the fact that camouflaging them and repairing them are two different things.
It's important to do something, though, because if you leave the knife cuts as they are, they'll collect water and dirt, and mold is likely to grow. Mold on a food surface is hazardous to your health, and it doesn't do much for the taste of the food you're preparing either. Use these techniques to prevent knife cuts as soon as you can.
Laminate Paste Countertop Repair
Laminate repair paste products, such as SeamFil and Liberon Laminate Repair Sticks, are soft and pliable upon application and cure to a hard finish in a few hours. They come in various colors, and it's possible to mix colors to get a hue that matches your countertop. It's important to get a good match if you want the knife cut marks to disappear.
The procedure for using laminate repair paste, as described in How Stuff Works and elsewhere, is fairly simple. Before you begin, you should always check the instructions on the container, especially if you use a two-part product that needs to be mixed before you apply it. The following general procedure usually applies:
- Clean the area around the scratches with dish soap and water and dry the countertop with a towel.
- Apply the paste to the scratches with a putty knife and work it deeply into the crevices. Scrape off the excess.
- Wait for the product to harden, then wipe off the residue with a soft cloth.
- Apply an optional finish coat of glossy lacquer or polyurethane or buff the repair with paste wax if the sheen of the filler doesn't match that of the laminate. Most pastes harden to a matte finish, and most countertops have a glossy sheen.
Furniture Paste Wax for Laminate Worktops
Furniture paste wax offers a quick and easy way to fill knife cuts and camouflage them, although it won't make them disappear completely. Apply the wax with a soft cloth, because you don't want to create more scratches by using steel wool or anything similarly abrasive.
Let the wax dry for a few minutes, then buff it up by rubbing vigorously with the same cloth or with a clean one. While the wax forms a hard finish, it isn't as hard as laminate repair paste, and the wax will wear off over time. Plan on reapplying it every few months or so, depending on how much you use the counter.
Baking Soda on Shallow Scratches
Sometimes a knife will slip and make a shallow cut in the laminate surface that doesn't penetrate through the finish to the pattern layer. You can often remove these shallow scratches by buffing them out with a mild abrasive, such as baking soda or white toothpaste.
Sprinkle baking soda or spread toothpaste on the scratch, dampen a soft cloth under the faucet, wring it out well and start rubbing. It's best to turn on a bright light so you can monitor your progress. When you think you've buffed out the scratch, rinse the area with water and double check. If the scratch is still visible, add more baking soda or toothpaste and keep rubbing until it's gone.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.