How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets
When cleaning kitchen cabinets, be sure not to use harsh chemicals, oil soaps, furniture polish, cleaning sprays, or abrasive scrubbers.
Kitchen cabinets enjoy a huge amount of space in one of the most used, and dirtiest, rooms in our homes. Since they aren’t part of regular cleanup, the cabinets harbor dust, grease, fingerprints, spills, drips, and splatters.
1. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Dish Soap
The perfect choice for sticky grease and grime, dish soap breaks down grease on finished cabinets just like it does for your dirty dishes.
Use a clear mild dish soap and three microfiber cloths. Avoid soap products with colored dyes to prevent staining.
To clean kitchen cabinets, mix one-part clear dish soap with two-parts hot water in a bucket or other container.
- Dip a microfiber cloth into the mixture. Wring it out so it’s moistened, but not soaking wet. Rub down cabinet surfaces to loosen dirt and gunk.
- Dampen a second microfiber cloth with plain water to wipe away residue.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff cabinet surfaces and remove remaining moisture. Be sure to dry areas where water collects along ledges and grooves to protect your painted cabinets from water damage.
2. How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets with Vinegar
Are the cabinets especially greasy or dirty? Vinegar is your secret weapon. Just be sure to test a small, out-of-the-way area before applying it to all of your cabinet surfaces.
Mix one-part distilled white vinegar, one-part dish soap, and two-parts hot water. Then follow the instructions above.
TIP: A soft toothbrush can get into hard-to-reach areas.
Don’t Use Abrasive Products for Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets
The protective finish on your cabinets is like the skin on your body. If you scrub too hard or use harsh cleaners, you’ll damage it.
Be aware of many consumer marketing campaigns that claim their cleaning products are safe for your wood cabinets… when they aren’t actually safe for the finish, whether paint, stain, or laminate.
Do not clean kitchen cabinets with:
- Abrasive products or tools.
- Oil soaps (such as Murphy® Oil Soap). The oil leaves a residue that paint or stain finish cannot adhere to; therefore requiring a full sand and buff before you can repaint.
- Products like Magic Erasers. They work like very fine sandpaper and will damage the finish.
3. Disinfectants Harm Cabinets
These days, many of us take extra precautions by disinfecting surfaces in our homes. However, the chemicals in disinfectant products can destroy the finish on your wood.
This includes cleaners like Lysol® disinfecting wipes meant only for hard, non-porous surfaces.
In addition, be careful not to get disinfectant sprays, stovetop cleaners, or stainless-steel cleaners on your kitchen cabinets when applying these products to nearby surfaces. Instead of spraying an appliance or countertop directly, spray the cleaning cloth.
Mistakes happen, so if you get these products on the cabinets, clean the disinfectant off immediately with clear, mild dish soap, water, and a soft microfiber cloth as detailed above. Otherwise, the chemicals eat away at the finish.
Are Your Kitchen Cabinets Damaged?
Now you know how to clean kitchen cabinets without damaging them, so make it part of your household maintenance routine. We recommend cleaning kitchen cabinets every three to six months to extend their life and preserve their appearance.
Browse our Kitchen Remodel Makeover Gallery.
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