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How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets

By on Apr 13, 2016
How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets

There are few areas of your home more exposed to dirt, grease and bacteria than your kitchen cabinets. Children closing and opening kitchen cabinets, grease from cooking or condensation from outside temperatures all affect your cabinets, requiring you to clean them on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

The best way to clean kitchen cabinets, or any cabinet for that matter, is good old fashion TLC. Oftentimes, warm water, a diluted all-purpose cleaner and tough scrubbing will do the trick. However, this process can drastically change based on your cabinet surface. Below, you will find the best ways to clean wood, painted and metal kitchen cabinets.


Kitchen Cabinets

How to Clean Wood Cabinets

The best way to clean wood cabinets is by purchasing an oil-soap wood cleaner. Many can be purchased relatively cheap from your local hardware store. On the other hand, you could clean your wooden cabinets using everyday materials you probably already own.

  • Detergent: Homeowners can use any oil/grease cutting dish or laundry detergent and water to clean their wood cabinets. As a general rule, you should mix two cups of water with every cup of detergent. Don’t overwet the cabinets as it could ruin the finish. After applying cleaning solution, clean it down with a damp cloth and then wipe down with a separate dry cloth.
  • Vinegar: If you don’t have liquid-based detergents, vinegar and water is a valuable substitution. Vinegar is good for removing sticky films most likely caused by dirty hands.
  • Baking Soda: The hardest stains should be confronted with baking soda. Create a paste by mixing with water and then wipe it clean with a wet cloth.

As with all our methods discussed, homeowners should test the chosen supplies on small areas that are not easily noticeable. Wait a few hours before tackling more visible cabinets to make sure you are not ruining the finish or color.

How to Clean Painted Cabinets

Oil-based painted cabinets, much more durable than wood, can always take a good scrubbing. You may use the same products discussed above or any all-purpose cleaner. Since you don’t have to worry about the finish, you should be able to scrub hard enough to remove the dirt or food-borne bacteria with all-purpose cleaners. Just like wooden cabinets, the best way to clean stubborn stains on painted kitchen cabinets is with baking soda and water.

If your cabinets used a water-based latex style of paint, use caution when scrubbing. Especially with baking soda, you may scratch the surface. Better to stick with warm water and a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. Remembe to rub the surface gently.

If you are thinking about repainting, be sure to see our DIY Tips for How to Paint Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets.

How to Clean Metal Cabinets

Metal cabinets are perhaps the easiest surface to clean. All the above tactics will work with metal, with the exception of baking soda. However, just like wood, be sure to not overwet. The prolonged dampness could lead to rust.


Kitchen cabinets are exposed to more dirt, bacteria and grease than any other area of your home. Frequent cleanings using the above tactics will not only save you a buck or two on cleaning services, but also ensure your family’s health throughout the year.

What tactic do you use to clean your kitchen cabinets? Let us know in the comments section below.

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