Your Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in a house. Here, we wash the dishes and cook our daily meals. We even use it to store utensils and food.  With everything that is going on in here, it is just important to get it cleaned regularly.

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But no matter how often we use our kitchens, there is one component here that is often disregarded. Even though we use it on a daily basis, we don’t usually pay attention to it. We’re talking about our kitchen cabinets.

For that reason, we decided to put up this handy guide. Read on to know the proper methods and techniques to clean kitchen cabinets:

Regular Dusting Before Anything Else

Did you know that there is one easy way to reduce the need for intensive kitchen cabinet cleaning? Regular dusting.

Although regular dusting seems unnecessary for vertical surfaces, know that dust will still accumulate in these areas. This is especially true for kitchen cabinets positioned in an area where a lot of frying is done. Oil particles will stick to the surfaces, vertical or horizontal. Eventually, the oil will act like a magnet, attracting dust particles.

By regularly dusting kitchen cabinets with a lint-free cloth or an actual duster, you can make a difference and prevent dust particles from building up into the surface.

The Basics of Kitchen Cabinet Cleaning

While the tiny smears and spots on the exterior of your kitchen cabinets can be removed with warm, soapy water and a piece of soft cloth, tough stains and grease requires more effort for them to be washed off.

Here’s a more detailed guide on what you should do:

For Small Spots and Smears

If you are washing the kitchen cabinet exterior with soap and water, be sure you use a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Soak the cloth in a water and soap solution and wring it out. Start wiping down the surface. Pay close attention to the hinges, handles, and other surface ridges because oil quickly accumulates in such areas. To rinse, use a soft cloth and clean, warm water. And then, grab another dry, soft cloth to wipe up and dry them.

For Tough Stains

To get rid of tough stains that have built up on your kitchen cabinet exteriors, a solution of hot water and white vinegar will be needed. Though it’s a cheap and natural solution, it still yields great results. The first thing you need to do is to prepare your cleaning solution. The ideal ratio is one cup of white vinegar for every 2 cups of hot water. Once you have the solution already, soak a clean cloth in it. Wring out the excess water and begin wiping down those greasy cabinets. Dry them with a soft cloth. If the sticky spots are not removed, dampen the wet cloth with pure white vinegar. Try wiping down the surface again and apply pressure if required. Rinse with clean water and dry with another soft cloth.

Regardless if it’s a simple stain or not, make sure you don’t use anything that will damage the surface of the cabinet. Avoid using scouring pads, abrasive cleaners, and strong detergents, if possible.

Natural Wood Cabinets: How to Clean Them

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Are your kitchen cabinets made of natural wood? If yes, then here’s great news. Natural wood kitchen cabinets are generally not difficult to clean. They don’t even require the use of pricey specialty products. Then again, there are times when cleaning them becomes a challenge, especially when the finish has already been damaged or cracked.

Regardless of the case, most kitchen cabinets made of wood can be maintained in good shape and cleaned in the same manner. Here’s how:

  1. Do not put any steam-producing appliance under the cabinets. Over time, they will only affect the wood’s finish.
  2. If moisture starts to accumulate on any wood surface, wipe it down with a dry, clean cloth.
  3. Make it a habit to dust once or twice a week to reduce the need for extensive scrubbing.
  4. For regular cleaning, use a soft cloth and soak it in a warm, soapy solution. Wipe the surface of the cabinet and rinse it promptly with clean water. Dry with a new soft cloth.
  5. If tough and sticky grease has built-up on the surface, prepare a cleaning solution with 1-part white vinegar and 2-parts hot water. Soak a sponge on it and start rubbing off the grease. Dry the surface with a soft, clean cloth.
  6. If layers of grime and grease have already accumulated, you might need to use a natural citrus cleaner made of orange or lemon oil. Follow the directions indicated by the manufacturer and be sure you rinse it carefully afterwards.
  7. Avoid using strong detergents and cleaners on wood finishes. They tend to leave scratches or dull the surface.
  8. Apply a good quality of paste wax occasionally to help retain the finish of the cabinet. Be sure you only apply a thin coat, so the surface will dry evenly.

Painted Cabinet Surfaces: How to Clean Them

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Depending on the type of paint used on the surface of the cabinet, the cleaning method differs. While oil-painted surfaces require the use of a soft, nylon brush to loosen up tough dirt, latex-painted surfaces do not need it because it will only cause the paint to peel.

Below are some handy tips on how to clean painted cabinet surfaces:

  • To clean painted cupboards and surfaces, begin by preparing a solution of one gallon of warm water and a tablespoon of mild liquid dish detergent. Soak a soft sponge in it and squeeze out the excess water. Start scrubbing the dirty areas first and wipe the remaining surfaces.
  • For hard to reach spots and hinges, use a soft toothbrush to clean them.
  • Do not let painted cabinet surfaces to air dry because it will only create water spots. Rather, wipe them down with a soft, dry cloth.
  • After washing, apply a thin layer of clear paste wax to protect the surface from dust and scratches.
  • Avoid using cleaning products with citrus oils. They may react adversely with the paint.
  • As with any cabinets, do not use harsh cleaners or metal scouring pads. They will only scratch the surface.

Pretty Laminate Surfaces: How to Clean Them

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Laminate surfaces are quite durable and tough. Plus, they’re easy to clean. No wonder why many households opt to use them in kitchen cabinets.

If ever your kitchen cabinets have laminate surfaces, be sure you don’t disregard the cleaning tips listed below:

  1. Dust the surface regularly to keep it looking good and reduce the need for frequent washing.
  2. Use a mild solution of warm water and mild dish soap to clean the surface. Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean, soft cloth.
  3. Get rid of tough stains and grease using pure white vinegar. Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray on the surface. Leave it there for at least 5 minutes. Wipe off the solution with a soft clean cloth. Rinse the cloth in warm, clear water if needed.
  4. Citrus-based cleaners can be used to remove tough stains, too!
  5. To reach the toughest corners of the cabinets, use a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Metal Kitchen Cabinets: How to Clean Them

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In general, metal kitchen cabinets have painted enamel finish. So, to clean them, you just have to do the same as with other types of painted kitchen cabinets. Better yet, follow our tips and suggestions below:

  • Mix one-part of a gentle liquid dish washing soap with one-part warm water. Soak a soft sponge and wring it. Start wiping the surfaces of the metal kitchen cabinet.
  • If the spots and grease on the cabinets are not removed, try using running alcohol to wipe the grease away. Use only a small amount of alcohol and rub it into the area in circular motions until the grease is lifted.
  • For rusty spots, use an extra-fine steel wool. Practice caution when using it. Exerting too much force may result in scratching the metal finish.
  • Use clean water to rinse the rubbing alcohol and the soap solution. Dry the surface right away with a soft cloth to keep it from rusting.
  • If you want to give your metal kitchen cabinet a lustrous glow, apply a thin layer of car wax.
  • For areas that require touching up, you may check the nearest auto body shop for a wide selection of touch-up hues in small sizes.

Glass Doors: How to Clean Them

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The glass doors of your kitchen cabinet can be cleaned the same way as other glass surfaces in the household. While simple dusting and wiping the surface will suffice in most cases, there are times when you need to do more than that.

See our tips below to know what we are talking about:

  • Cleaning glass doors with food spills and grime is easy. Wipe them with a sponge soaked in warm, soapy water. And then, rinse with clean water.
  • If you want to achieve a clear finish, you can use a solution with equal parts of white vinegar and water. Simply wipe it on the surface.
  • For glass doors with decorative elements, take note that spraying directly onto them may result in seepage into the areas behind the mullions. You don’t want that to happen because it can cause wood discoloration in the long run. To clean these doors, simply spray your cleaner directly onto a soft cloth and start wiping the glass surface. Dry with a paper towel or a soft, clean cloth.

How to Clean the Drawers

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Like the surface of kitchen cabinets, drawers must be disinfected and cleaned regularly. To do it, remove the drawers from the runners, remove all the things on them, and wipe with a sponge or soft cloth, soaked in warm, soapy water. Wipe them again with a soft cloth soaked in warm water. Put them upside down to dry.

Once the drawers have been washed, keep them clean and fresh by lining them with shelf paper. Be sure to put the shelf paper in place before returning the cutlery, plates, and other food stuff. Take note that you also need to replace the paper regularly.

Taking Care and Cleaning the Horizontal Cupboard Tops

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The out-of-sight spots are often where the really thick grease lives. But that should not be an issue. The horizontal cupboard tops often do not have finishes, so you need not worry about damaging anything.

To take care and clean these areas, follow these steps:

  1. The simplest way to get rid of the mess in horizontal cupboard tops is to use powdered dishwashing detergent. For this task, you may want to wear rubber gloves for added protection.
  2. Soak a soft cloth in warm water. At the same time, damp the cabinet top.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of powdered detergent.
  4. Add a bit of water to activate the detergent. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  5. If there is a very thick layer of grease, you may use a wide metal putty knife to loosen the grease. And then, wipe it up with the cloth.
  6. Once the grease is removed, sprinkle detergent directly onto the rub and scrub the other corners. Add more detergent if needed. Repeat until the cabinet tops are clean.
  7. Rinse with clean water and dry with paper towels.

On a Final Note

Don’t worry if it is your first time to clean your kitchen cabinets. Everyone’s been through that before, too! Hopefully, with this guide that we have diligently put up and compiled, you should be able to get through this challenging task. True, the work may seem tough, but at the end of the day, your kitchen will thank you for your effort.

So, start gathering all the cleaning materials you can find and pull up your sleeves. While kitchen cabinet cleaning might not be your favorite task, seeing the clean and germ-free surfaces will provide you a great feeling of happiness and satisfaction.

About the author:

Nadine is a wandering writer and blogger. She loves travelling and exploring new places, and finding hole-in-the-wall dining places. As a wannabe cook, she loves discovering new recipes and ingredients, like the versatile coconut oil (and yes, she uses it on just about anything and everything). On lazy days, Nadine is spending time at the beach with her fur-babies, Pepe and Pido.

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