Laminate is not the most exciting of kitchen surfaces. It's not terribly durable, as it cracks, stains, and distintegrates over time. It doesn't stand up well to high heat, and you can easily leave scorch marks on laminate counters, burning away the top layer to reveal the wood below. (Laminate is just a very, very thin top layer glued onto cheap plywood or MDF.)
One nice thing about laminate, though, is that it is actually quite easy to clean! It usually doesn't stain very badly, and it can be cleaned with a whole range of products from simple soap and water to vinegar to bleach.
My own laminate countertops are pretty much the ugliest ones I've ever seen; they have a raised texture that is sort of like awful faux leather or old skin. I have no idea what the people who put this kitchen in were thinking. So I use a scrub brush to wash up after kneading dough or serious baking. It's the only way to get the texture really clean; otherwise dried flecks of dough will just linger, stubbornly. For lighter cleanup I just use very hot water, a sponge, and maybe a touch of dish soap.
What about you? How do you clean your laminate countertops?
(Image: Faith Durand)