While it’s not usually at the forefront of most homeowners’ minds, wood kitchen cabinets get dirty, fast. It’s true: few areas of your home are exposed to more yuckiness than your cabinets. From grease splatters during cooking, to errant blobs of batter during cooking, your cabinets are virtual magnets for gunk. And your kids… well, do we really need to go into detail here? The point is, they need to be cleaned. Read on to find out how to fight the grime, grease and grunge and keep your wood cabinets in tip-top shape.
What to use
When searching for any type of cleaner, most people are searching for something that meets three criteria: eco-friendliness, effectiveness, and affordability. There are a slew of options for what type of cleaner to use. You can go the commercial cleaner route and purchase Murphy’s Oil Soap (or one of the numerous other products on the market). You may choose to make your own cleaner. Vinegar is the go-to natural to combat greasy cabinets. Mix a solution of half vinegar, half warm water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray a light mist on cabinets. Wait a couple of minutes, then wipe with a soft cloth. Need some extra “oomph”? Add a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to the solution for more cleaning power.
Most wood cabinets are constructed with a layer of varnish have or other protective coating. Most gentle cleaning solutions are fine to apply to wood cabinets. However, steer clear of cleaners that contain acids or powdered cleansers, as they can damage wood.
How to clean
Regardless of the cleaner, the process of cleaning wood kitchen cabinets is as follows:
- Using a soft cloth or sponge, apply the cleaner to the surfaces of the cabinet doors and drawers. If the level of buildup is extensive, you may need to apply a few times.
- Be sure to wipe the cleaner on drawer and door handles (they can collect natural oils from your fingers when you touch them).
- Dip a toothbrush in the cleaning solution. Then, gently scrub the hardware, the surrounding wood and any crevices.
- Wipe door and drawer interiors using the cleaner.
- Dip a second cloth or sponge in clean water to remove the cleaner from each surface.
- Dry with a clean towel.
Make things easier on yourself by beginning with the top cabinets. If you don’t, the very stuff you’re trying to remove may fall and cover the bottom row. Save yourself some scrubbing!
Sometimes cabinets accrue stubborn stains – substances like syrup and chocolate are common offenders. Mix up a paste of salt and vinegar. Dip a toothbrush into the paste and brush the affected area lightly. Don’t scrub too hard, and just say no to steel wool – it could damage the surface. Rinse with clean water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Alternatively, you can use baking soda on a wet sponge, a toothbrush or nylon-bristle scrub to remove tough stains.
Congratulations, you now know how to clean wood cabinets. If you enjoy this activity and look forward to doing it again in the near future, you’re all done! But if you’d like to protect them from future stains, try this: mix vegetable oil and vinegar in equal portions. Using a clean, soft cloth or sponge, apply lightly to the cabinet surfaces. Buff until a shine forms.
You can also avoid a major cleaning project through weekly maintenance. Spray multi-purpose cleaner on a clean cloth, and wipe away fingerprints, cooking splatters and scuff marks. Consider disinfecting the hardware, as well. For the very ambitious, you can perform the daily clean-up: just dip a clean cloth in hot water and spot clean any areas where daily life has left its mark.
Let’s not forget the interiors! Start by emptying each cabinet, top to bottom. Remove torn or discolored shelf lining. If the interior cabinets haven’t been cleaned in forever, there’s likely a lot of crumbs and dust. Simply vacuum the cabinets after they’ve been emptied. Wash the interiors of the cabinets with a mixture of warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth. If excess water remains, wipe dry with an additional cloth (standing water can damage the surfaces). Repeat this process for all cabinets.
Love your cabinets, and they’ll love you back… well, as much as inanimate objects can.
Cedar Hills has an endless array of quality cabinetry to bring your kitchen to life. Contact us today to find out what we have to offer. Warning: prepare to be dazzled.