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How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Craig Byrne

Let’s face it. When your kitchen cabinets are dirty, people notice. No doubt you mop your kitchen floor and countertops on a regular basis, but your cabinets may not get the same treatment. However, all day long they collect dust, cooking residue, dirt and grease. In time, you will notice these unwanted stains stick to the surface of your cabinets, and they can be extremely difficult to remove. If you ignore your cabinets in your daily cleaning routine, this sticky residue will become nearly glued to the surface of them, making it nearly impossible to clean them.

Besides being ugly, unclean cabinets can be a real health problem. Bacteria can stick to the surface of your handles and knobs. So, if you’re not careful, you could contract salmonella. Not to mention the sheer fact that you certainly don’t want contaminates near any of the food you’re keeping in your cabinets.

How Often Should I Clean My Kitchen Cabinets?

Health experts say you should clean your cabinets exterior once a week to once every two weeks. Additionally, you should wipe down the interior of your cabinetry, giving them a deep clean every few months. This may seem like a daunting task, but if you tackle the project one cabinet at a time, it will be easier. For example, if your cups and glasses are in the dishwasher, simply take the opportunity to clean the empty cabinet where they are stored.


1. Prepare A Cleaning Solution

You can use a liquid dish soap like Dawn and warm water to clean almost all cabinet types, including laminate, wood, and vinyl. This is a mild, simple solution that can remove dust and dirt. Also, this mixture works as a degreaser that can get rid of that residue you can see on the exterior.

All-purpose cleaners like 409 can also be used to clean some cabinetry, but it’s best to test them in a spot no one can see to be certain they don’t ruin your finish. For this reason, we recommend going with the dish soap method.

2. Start At The Top

When cleaning, start at the top of the cabinet and work your way down. If you have an empty cabinets that have stains, you can spray the solution directly on the surface. If not, simply spray your solution on a cloth and wipe.

3. Use A Cloth To Wipe Surface

Before you dry the surface with a cloth, rinse the cabinets with a clean cloth. If you leave water on your cabinets, they can become discolored and ruined. So, remember to wipe off the cleaner thoroughly!

4. How To Clean Glass

If you have mirror or glass insets, you can spray glass cleaner onto a cloth or paper towel before wiping them down. Be sure not to spray the glass cleaner onto the surface directly. If you do, the solution can leak onto the wood and cause discoloration.

5. How To Clean Hardware and Trim

If you’d like to clean the hardware, the wood, and ornate trim, you can use a solution of 50 percent warm water and 50 percent vinegar. This does a nice job of getting difficult smudges and grease off.

6. Tackle Grease

If you let your cabinetry go too long without properly cleaning them, you may notice an orange sticky residue on their surface. This substance is grease, and very often it gets so thick it becomes nearly impossible to remove. For this tricky situation, try an orange oil cleaner that can penetrate the residue for two to four minutes. Simply repeat if you can still see the grease.

Another way to clean this grease is by using a baking soda and water paste. You then can use a soft bristled brush to scrub the area. Some people prefer to use a magic eraser. This can be done, but it’s best to try it on a portion of the cabinet you can’t see, as sometimes it can affect the finish.

7. Empty Cabinets From Highest To Lowest

Empty all the cabinets from the highest cabinet to the lowest. Take out all the contents and remove any discolored lining you may have. You can use a vacuum to suck up any crumbs you have inside before you start wiping them down.

8. Washing Interiors

Clean the interior of your cabinets with warm water and a mild cleaning solution.

9. Rinse Using Damp Cloth

Use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the surfaces being sure not to leave damaging water behind.

Look at the products you have taken out of your cabinets. Toss any expired food. Wipe down dusty cans and containers with warm water and dish soap on a dampened cloth. Before placing the items back in your cabinets, be sure they are dry. If the cabinets are sticky after you clean them, this is a sign you didn’t rinse them thoroughly, so be sure to do so until the soap and water are picked up.

We hope this helps you to care for your kitchen’s biggest showpiece, the cabinets. If you are in Upstate South Carolina, be sure to give Greenville Refinishing a call if your cabinets are beyond cleaning. We have the refinishing solution for you to bring life back to your cabinetry.


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