How-to: Clean Kitchen Cabinets
A kitchen is not just heavily used, it is heavily abused: there’s heat, there’s moisture and there’s grease. These things cause havoc on your kitchen cabinets. There are ways to clean kitchen cabinets, but every finish requires a little different TLC.
Wood & Finished Doors
When cleaning wood doors, clean with a damp cloth in the direction of the timber grain. After, dry with a clean cloth in the same direction.
For stubborn grease build-up, use vinegar and water to remove the sticky film on your cabinet exteriors. Vinegar and water is not only cheap, it’s also a natural cleaning solution. Start with ⅓ vinegar to ⅔ water. For more stubborn stains, use more vinegar.
For a commercially available cleaners, we recommend an emulsion-type cleaner (such as Murphy’s Oil Soap). These are free of wax and silicones. Using silicone polishes (such as Mr. Sheen) can damage your cabinet’s finish. Using wax polishes over time will result in a build-up of wax.
Keep in mind that if you do use an oil or wax on your cabinets, it may be difficult in the future to re-coat your cabinets because of the build-up on the surface of the wood. Murphy’s Oil Soap, although it has oil in it, does not leave oil on the finish of your cabinets, so it is safe to use if you plan on re-coating.
To preserve and protect your timber cabinets and prevent build-up, we highly recommend a product called Spray Glow. It will extend the life of your wood doors without causing build-up. It is not available commercially, so contact your cabinet maker or professional polisher.
Laminate or Vinyl Doors
When cleaning laminate or vinyl doors, wipe with a damp cloth. After, dry with a clean cloth.
If a damp cloth does not sufficiently clean an area, a nonabrasive, non-detergent household cleaner or soap and water is recommended. Remember to use a soft cloth when cleaning to avoid scratching the finish.
For heavily soiled doors, remove handles before cleaning as dirt tends to accumulate around these fixtures. You can even clean these by soaking them in a solution (¼ cup ammonia and 2 cups water) for about 30 minutes. After, scrub them with an old toothbrush or rag, then dry with a towel.
If you can’t remove the handles, scrub around these fixtures with an old toothbrush. Then, dry with a towel.
Do not use harsh household cleaners, especially those that are bleach based. These cleaners will deteriorate the finish on your cabinets. Avoid using harsh abrasives, such as metal pot scrubbers as these will damage your finish. Apply cleaning solutions to a cloth. Never directly apply them to the cabinet surface.
It’s important to clean spills immediately. No matter how your cabinets are finished, water will eventually penetrate the coating, if left for long enough.
Pay extra attention to areas close to water sources, such as the sink and dishwasher. These areas are prone to more spills and moisture damage.
Be aware of where you hang your wet dish towels. Avoid hanging them over cabinet doors. Over time, the moisture can cause damage.
Keep in mind– before you use any new cleaning method, it’s best to test an inconspicuous spot before using the method on all of your cabinets.
Be sure to read the back of any cleaner before using it. It’s also a good idea to contact your cabinet maker or professional polisher to see if they have suggestions for good products that won’t ruin your finish.
Cleaning kitchen cabinets can become increasingly difficult, if your finish is cracked or damaged. Moisture can get through your coating and cause water damage. If your finish is old or in disrepair, it’s best to get your cabinets recoated.
Vinyl Kitchen Cabinets: Peel Easier Than a Banana
Everyone wants a kitchen they can be proud of; one to show off to friends and family. But when your vinyl kitchen cabinets start to peel, what should you do?
You’ve probably already watched the youtube video on how to glue those edges of your vinyl cabinet doors back on. You might have even tried it. When vinyl starts to peel it’s the edges that typically go first. You can glue, sand, and re-glue, but let’s face it, you are fighting the inevitable—they’re going to peel. Like a beautiful rose, your vinyl cabinets weren’t built to last.
Vinyl typically starts to peel in 5-7 years, sometimes sooner if it’s exposed to heat or poorly manufactured. Don’t feel like a victim—they were built to peel. And peel they will, but you have options.
So what are your options?
If your cabinets are still covered under their warranty, give your cabinet maker a call to get them repaired. Even if your cabinet maker has gone out of business or sold the business, your cabinets were probably supplied by a third party door manufacturer. If you can find out who made the doors, you can approach them directly and see if they’ll honour their warranty.
If you’re able to get your cabinets repaired, the manufacturer/cabinet maker may only repair the one panel that is peeling. If one is already peeling, it’s just a matter of time before the rest do too. It’s time to start considering what to do when the warranty is void.
New Vinyl Cabinets
New vinyl cabinets are low-maintenance and easy to clean. They can be cut to almost any style and come in a range of colours. They can even be made to look like real painted timber cabinets. However, they will start to peel in 5-7 years, depending on use and quality. The colours for vinyl wrap doors change often, so unless you have basic white, it can be difficult to match the colour for a replacement door.
This option is ideal for those who are mindful to keep heat away from their cabinets (causes peeling) and those who like the look of painted timber but can’t afford it.
New Timber Cabinets
Brand new timber kitchen cabinets are gorgeous and will last as long as you take care of them. They will cost you the most upfront, but they will also last the longest. You can get new timber kitchens cabinets in a variety of timbers and finishes. If your home has a colonial or rustic look, timber may be the way to go. However, they are not a popular choice for the current real estate market and you may find that home buyers prefer more modern painted kitchen cabinets.
This option is ideal for those with a large budget and are not planning on selling their home in the near future.
New Melamine/Laminate Cabinets
Melamine and laminate kitchen cabinets come in a wide range of colours and textures. They are durable and easy to clean. They have a tough barrier against scratches, heat and moisture. They do tend to chip at the corners and along edges and damages are costly to repair. But like other cabinets with resin veneers, the quality depends largely on the manufacturer. On the downside, because of the way it is manufactured, melamine and laminate cabinets aren’t available in intricate designs. Flat panel is the only design available.
This option is ideal for those who like flat panel cabinets, want the option to paint their cabinets in the future, and are looking for more affordable new kitchen cabinets.
New Painted Cabinets
Two Pac paint is a fantastic option when done right. It does chip, but so does everything that gets bumped or hit. It would be impractical to have your cabinets painted Two Pac if you let your kids ride skateboards in the house and such. Repairs can be easily carried out by professionals. Two Pac is great in a range of finishes such as high gloss or matt.
You can get new cabinets cut and finished with Two Pac paint. This will be pricey and you’ll have cabinet makers constantly in and out of your home. On average, it will take weeks until your new kitchen cabinets are installed and ready to use.
This option is ideal for those who want a specific colour and finish, don’t use their kitchen cabinets often, are planning on completely renovating their kitchen, or need new cabinets because the existing are beyond repair (such as heavy mould).
Paint Existing Cabinets
What most cabinet makers probably won’t tell you, is that you can have the vinyl stripped from your current cabinet doors and the underlying MDF panels painted. You can also change the colour and appearance of your existing kitchen without having to buy new cabinets. These methods are easier and cheaper than ripping out all of your current cabinets and having them replaced. Your cabinet doors will be removed, painted and reattached. The whole process takes under two weeks.
This option is great for cabinets that are heavily used, kitchen renovations on budgets, households that care about environmental impact and waste, and those that don’t want the hassle of a kitchen that is “under construction”.
What’s right for you?
Everyone has different needs when it comes to cabinets–that’s why there are so many choices. Just because your neighbour has painted timber cabinets, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Assess your needs and go with the option that satisfies them.
And when choosing a cabinet maker or polisher, there are plenty of substandard manufacturers and services out there, so be weary. Don’t be afraid to ask your cabinet maker which manufacturer and polisher they use! They should be able to tell you. It’s best to go with a local supplier/company that has been around for a while. A warranty is only as good as the company that gives it.
Good luck deciding on your new kitchen!
Sprucing Up an Iron Chair
Click on the link below to watch a short clip of one of our specialists painting a wrought iron chair red. The chair was initially sandblasted, then coated 3 times with an exterior two pac polyurethane. The colour is Dulux Rushworth Gloss. This colour will add warmth and life to any garden or patio.