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 you clean kitchen cabinets made out of wood, 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 you clean kitchen cabinets made out of laminate or vinyl , 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.