What To Use When Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

The Correct Way To Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets


Chances are your Kitchen is central to your Home and Living Space!

The kitchen is used daily, by yourself and your family. If you have an open plan kitchen, dining, and living area, the kitchen is more likely to show footprints, finger, and handprints than any other area in your house!

Since the kitchen is central to your family living, wiping down your kitchen cabinets has most probably become a part of your daily cleaning routine! When you are finished cooking your meals it is second nature to put the dishes in the sink and to wipe down your kitchen countertops.

But, what about the kitchen cabinets?

Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets Is A Whole Different Ballgame!

Kitchen cabinets collect dust, dirt, oil splatters, and food splatters daily, possibly even every time you cook. Aside from becoming an eyesore and causing you to avert your eyes when you walk into your own kitchen, it can also become a health risk! Bacteria like salmonella just love dirty food bacteria in which to flourish and grow! Specifically on your kitchen cabinet handles and doorknobs. Everyday food grime or small particles of food get lodged in these obvious, but sometimes ignored places.

The Outside And The Inside Of The Kitchen Cabinet Matters!

Your food gets stored on the inside of your kitchen cabinets, where microparticles of food from unwiped bottles or canisters can lead to a build-up of unseen, yet present microbes of bacteria, fungi and mould!!

This Places You And Your Family’s Health At Risk!

In an ideal world, you should wipe down the exterior of your kitchen cabinets every week. Arguably, in a not-so-ideal world, this should be done at least every second week!

I know the mere idea of emptying out your entire kitchen makes you shudder and overwhelms you, but if you approach this mundane task one cabinet at a time, it will simply become part of your cleaning routine! 

Do It Like This!  You’ve cooked dinner and packed the plates in the dishwasher, now clean the area where those dishes would normally be stored. If you have most of your glasses from the cabinet in the dishwasher, this is an opportune time to take out the other glasses and clean that cabinet.

The Basics That Catch Your Eye!

Something that you will notice very quickly with kitchen cabinets is that they get greasy and full of grime on a weekly basis. When you cook, the vapour from the oil you use to fry some foods and especially if you are using a deep fryer to make French fries, the oil vapour sticks to your kitchen cabinets forming a greasy film that causes more dust and other dirt to get stuck onto the surface areas!  Even if you are simply steaming vegetables or making soup you will notice that over time a thin layer of sticky film is left on kitchen cabinets. This will most likely require a special degreasing kitchen cabinet cleaner to ensure the sticky oily coating is thoroughly removed!

Tips To Make Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets Easier!

  1. Clean one cabinet at a time

To make this task less daunting do one cabinet at a time and add it to your weekly cleaning routine. Look at cleaning 2 kitchen cabinets every week.

  • Use a cleaning product that degreases

It is important to find a cleaning product that is right for your kitchen cabinets, depending on whether they are laminate, wood, or steel, and most importantly have a smell that you love!

  • Use Microfibre Cloths

Microfibre cleaning cloths are ideal to wipe away the grease build-up. They differ vastly from paper towels or smooth surface cleaning cloths. They leave no residue behind and you can have one microfibre cloth to wipe away dirt and grease. Take another cloth soaked in warm water to do that final cleaning wipe!

  • What is the Golden Rule?

Clean top to bottom and left to right, that way your cleaning routine becomes second nature, and in no time you will be a professional at cleaning your kitchen cabinets!

  • The basic how to!

Decide where to start, open the cabinet doors and take out every item in the cabinet. I find it easy to put them in the sink while I am cleaning so that I can wipe the cabinet surface too!

Start cleaning the top cabinets, wipe down the front of the cabinet, paying attention to the frames.

Now, wipe down the lower cabinets. Avoid using dirty water or cloths, so, rinse and repeat regularly when using soapy water. The best part of using plain soap and water is that no residue is left behind, and you will soon get that fresh scent of a clean fresh smell wafting in the air!

Don’t forget! The cabinet kickboards!

  • Are you using a kitchen degreasing cleaner?

If you have decided to use a kitchen cleaning degreaser, first wipe the cabinets down with warm water and a microfibre cloth. Use a clean microfibre cloth and apply the cleaning product, working top to bottom, left to right. With clean microfibre cloth that you have wet in warm water, wipe off the cleaning product – top to bottom, left to right. Rinse and Repeat!

Different Cabinet Finishes Require Different Cleaning Products and Cleaning methods!

What to use on oil painted kitchen cabinets?

  • Kitchen cabinets that are painted with oil-based paint are much more durable than wooden kitchen cabinets. They can deal with a good hard scrubbing to get rid of the grease and grime.
  • You can use warm soapy water and a microfibre cloth, or any all-purpose cleaner as you won’t damage the surface of the cabinets.
  • To clean stubborn stains you can mix baking soda with warm water and scrub with a kitchen sponge with a scouring surface.
  • If your kitchen cabinets are painted with water-based paint take the necessary precautions in selecting a cleaner.
  • If you have decided to mix your own cleaner using baking soda and warm water, make sure the baking soda has dissolved before you wipe down the surface, otherwise, you might scratch the surface and leave unsightly marks!
  • The rule of thumb for these painted cabinets is rather to use soap and warm water with a microfibre cloth or a general all-purpose cleaner.
  • Clean gently so as not to scratch the surface of the cabinet door, sides, or surface!

Cleaning Laminated Kitchen Cabinets

  • Laminated kitchen cabinets are made from laminate and require attention to detail when cleaning.
  • The best recommendation for cleaning laminated kitchen cabinets is to make your own cleaning solution.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 3 liters of warm water. Make sure the baking soda dissolves in the warm water. Use a microfibre cloth to rub the mixture onto the cabinets, taking care not to scrub.
  • As you progress continuously rinse the cloth and ring it out to ensure no water is left on the cabinet doors as this may in some cases cause rust.
  • Laminate or particleboard is sensitive to excess water and can cause damage to your kitchen cabinets.

What to use When Cleaning Wooden Kitchen Cabinets!

  • The best way to take care of and clean wood cabinets is by purchasing an oil-soap wood cleaner. Alternatively, you can use everyday household items.
  • Baking Soda: The hardest stains can be removed using baking soda. Make a paste by mixing the baking soda with water and then wipe it clean with a wet cloth. Rinse and repeat!
  • Vinegar: Vinegar and warm water is a great cleaning agent; it degreases and removes all traces of sticky fingerprints on cabinet doors or sides. And you always have vinegar in the house, don’t you?
  • Household detergent: You can use any oil/grease-cutting dish or laundry detergent and water to clean wooden kitchen cabinets.
  • A general rule of thumb – mix two cups of warm water with every cup of detergent.
  • Take care not to over-wet the cabinets as it could ruin the wooden finish.
  • Once you have applied the cleaning solution, wipe it down with a warm damp microfibre cloth and then wipe it down with a separate dry cloth.

What type of Cleaner is best for Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets?

  • Stainless Steel is a metal alloy made from a combination of steel and chromium, these are veneers and are bonded to wood or fibreboard made of medium density.
  • Kitchen cabinets, cabinet doors, and cabinet drawers can be made with a stainless-steel veneer.
  • When cleaning stainless-steel kitchen cabinets or appliances always wipe in the same direction as the grain.
  • Stainless steel with a smooth finish shows watermarks and fingerprints more visibly and quicker than stainless-steel with a brushed finish.
  • A commercially available stainless-steel cleaning spray removes water stains, fingerprints, and any greasy film that has formed on the cabinet.
  • Stainless steel is a durable material but will show scratches quickly and can be dented.
  • Superficial scratches can be polished out with a special cleaner and microfibre cloth. It is important to remember when polishing your stainless-steel kitchen cabinets and appliances to work in the same direction as the grain.
  • Polishing against the grain will damage the mirror effect look that you so love!
  • Usually, dents are not repairable, and you will need to replace the entire cabinet door.

Cleaning your White Kitchen Cabinets

  • To determine how to clean your white cabinets literally depends on what has made them dirty.
  • If the cabinets above your stove plates look dirty, they probably are! Every time you cook and the oil splatters or the pot steams, the vapour produced adds to the film of grease and grime above the stove plates.
  • The film that is left as residue under the kitchen cabinet or on the cabinet doors or sides, attracts dirt and dust particles daily.
  • Giving you white kitchen cabinets that dull dusty look that you hate!
  • Always begin cleaning white cabinets with a mixture of soap and warm water.
  • Using a microfibre cloth soak it in the soapy water, drain any excess water and give the cabinets a good wipe, now rinse and repeat.
  • Remember trying to clean a white kitchen cabinet with a dirty kitchen cloth is going to get you nowhere!
  • The soap and water mixture cuts the grease and fatty oils that have caused a film to form on the cabinets and cleans it away from the surfaces.  
  • If required, you can use a sponge with a scouring surface to get a deeper clean on the cabinet surface.
  • Mix in a spray bottle equal parts of white vinegar with water. Use this on a daily basis to prevent any film build-up and to disinfect your kitchen cabinets.  
  • Spray the surface of the cabinets until they are damp and then wipe away the liquid with a soft cloth.
  • It may take numerous times, but vinegar is a powerful cleaning tool and can help strip layers of dirt and grime from your crisp clean white surfaces.

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinet Boxes and Doors

  • The best cleaning material for glass-front cabinets is a mixture of 1-part white vinegar to 1-part warm water.
  • Using a cloth, gently wipe in a clockwise circular motion to remove all fingerprints, food splatters, or water droplets.
  • Cleaning products that are specially made for cleaning glass must be used according to the label on the bottle.
  • Take care not to use abrasive cleaning materials, sponges, or cloths, these could scratch or dull the finish on your glass cabinet doors.
  • Different cabinets require different cleaning methods and materials but always be gentle in order not to dull or scratch the surfaces.
  • In your weekly kitchen cleaning routine wipe cabinet exteriors with a soft, damp cloth or a damp microfibre cloth.
  • Make a mixture of dishwashing liquid in a bucket with warm water and first clean weekly with this mixture before you move on to a degreaser as this product might be too harsh for the cleaning of your kitchen cabinets if they are cleaned on a weekly basis.
  • Only if you are faced with stubborn stains, wipe with an undiluted all-purpose cleaner.
  • As with any product that you use to clean any area in your house, carefully read the instructions on the label
  • And the Golden Rule is? Rinse and repeat. Always rinse cleaned surfaces thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth after washing. This removes any soapy or cleaner residue left behind and avoids that streaky look that may be left on your cabinet surfaces.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure!

The amount of cleaning and maintenance adds up to extra cleaning in your cleaning routine!

  • Take these easy steps around your kitchen to minimize your cleaning and maintenance tasks.
  • When it comes to your kitchen sink above your kitchen cabinets, make sure no water reaches any of the wood or laminate kitchen cabinets.
  • If your cabinets under the sink get wet frequently this will cause mould, which can have more serious and longer-lasting effects on your health than cleaning up!
  • When installing your stovetop be sure to install a powerful stovetop hood to extract smoke and grease particles from the kitchen before, they can reach the cabinets.
  • When you cook, cover pots or use a splatter screen.
  • Cleaning spills and splatters immediately with a soapy warm water mixture will prevent stains or a film of grease from forming on your kitchen cabinets.
  • Immediate cleaning will prevent staining of your kitchen cabinets, use the mixture of white vinegar with warm water to prevent stains effectively.

Effective Kitchen Cabinet Cleaners!

  1. Dishwashing Liquid and Water
  • Dishwashing Liquid that contains lemon to cut the oil and grease is the best and most effective method of cleaning your kitchen cabinets.
  • This is also widely considered as mild enough that it won’t ruin your wood cabinets or their finish.
  • Make a cleaning solution by mixing 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid with one litre of warm water.
  • Pour the cleaning solution into a spray bottle for daily use, or if you have decided to deep clean all cabinets in one go, mix a stronger solution of dishwashing liquid into a bucket with warm water.
  • Spray or wipe down the kitchen cabinets with the solution. Using a soft moist cloth remove visible splatters or grease stains.
  • To get rid of stubborn stains, simply apply more pressure to your cleaning.
  • While you are cleaning your cabinets you may as well clean oils stains from kitchen wall tiles and countertops with dish soap and water. Wipe dry with a paper towel or dry cloth!

2. Degrease Kitchen Cabinets with white Vinegar and Salt

White Vinegar is Still the Best!

  • Simply the best kitchen degreaser is to make a solution of white vinegar and water. Put the solution in a spray bottle for use daily.
  • Spray onto cabinet surfaces, doors and sides, allow to process for 10 minutes, and wipe off with a warm damp cloth.

After all that! As the person responsible for the health and safety of your family, you can rest assured – No nasty germs, bacteria, fungi or mould will dare to enter your kitchen!

Germs – Enter if you DARE! As for me, I’m going to put my feet up and have a well-deserved cup of coffee!!!

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