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For what you will spend in time and effort on this type of repair, I would suggest you look at granite as an option. Many local fabricators are offering specials on material that (depending on your sq. feet) could be very close to what you spend on recovering in formica.
Using warm soapy water is the best for daily cleaning. There are many granite cleaners on the market that will help you if you really want to scrub and bring back that original shine. Laticrete (formerly DuPont) stone care products are great. They make a revitilizer spray that is excellent for weekly cleaning. It has a bit of sealer in it as well, so it will help keep those tops shiny.
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