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How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets: Tested and Recommended Products

Cleaning and caring for your kitchen cabinets regularly is the number one way to keep them looking fresh and new. It will also help your kitchen remain hygienic as well as increase the long-lasting durability of your cabinets. There are several ways to clean your cabinets, depending on the type of mess. Whatever type of mess you’re cleaning, never use overly harsh chemicals, cleaners, or sponges, as this can damage your cabinets.

We tested numerous cleaning methods and compiled a list of tried-and-true cleaning methods for every type of mess.

Best Cleaning method for Grease and Grime

cleaning products

Grease and grime are some of the most difficult messes to clean. Grease can be quite stubborn, even with vigorous washing. We recommend either Murphy oil soap cleaner or Orange Cleaner as the best degreasers. You'll need some cotton cloths, non-scratch sponges, and deep-cleaning brushes. Once you have your equipment, you're ready to tackle the grease.

Murphy soap is great at restoring and conditioning wood cabinets. Before using, you need to dilute it- 1 part soap to 5 parts water. Apply the solution to the cabinets using a sponge or cloth, and scrub in circular motions. For a more thorough cleaning, use the scrub brush. Once cabinets are dry, buff them with a soft, clean cloth to reveal the bright finish.

If you'd like to use Orange Cleaner instead, you'll need a soft sponge or brush as well as a clean, dry cloth. You can apply the cleaner directly to the cabinet surface. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so it can break down the tough grease, and then scrub to remove it. Once dry, buff the cabinets with a dry cloth to make them shine.

Tip: for really stuck-on grease, try scrubbing in the cleaners with a drill bit brush on a power drill.

Best Cleaning Method for Scuff Marks

Mr. Clean magic eraser

We've never been more impressed than with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. With an undeniable reputation for being able to get out nearly every scuff and scrape, all you need to do is wet it and go. Scrub the marks as long as needed until you see them disappear.

For deeper nicks and scrapes, you'll need a touch-up kit for your cabinets. Each of our Touch-Up Kits includes a scraper, custom finish marker, and fill sticks for damaged edges and nicks. Using color-match technology, the specialized equipment offers a professional quality finish.

Tip: dab a bit of olive oil onto a soft cloth and buff the scuff mark. The oil will help dissolve the stain and restore the wood’s shine.

Best Cleaning Method for Sticky Messes

water with soap

For anyone with kids, this one comes in handy. To remove those sticky fingerprints and spills, you need some warm water, dish soap like Dawn Power Wash, and a clean cloth. We love the wash's foaming spray that easily removes sticky messes from jam, peanut butter, and cooking residue.

Spray the wash directly on the cabinet, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Tip: For a particularly stubborn spot, ice it with an ice cube held against it for 2 minutes. This hardens the mess so you can chip away at it more easily.

Best Way to Dust Your Kitchen Cabinets

wiping a kitchen cabinet

Spills and grease are not the only offenders in the kitchen! Dust can easily build up in the crevices of your cabinets. With a duster or cloth, and either diluted dish soap or Kitchen Cabinet and Furniture Cleaner, dusty cabinets will be a thing of the past.

If you are using the dish soap solution, dip the cloth in the solution and gently wipe the cabinet in the direction of the wood grain. We recommend using cotton swabs to get into the crevices.

If you want to use the more powerful Kitchen Cabinet and Furniture Cleaner, spray it directly on the cabinet and wipe it with a dry cloth. You can use cotton swabs soaked in the cleaner to get to the hard-to-reach areas.

Tip: For the tops of kitchen cabinets, try an extender duster. Simply spray the solution directly on the duster first.

Best Way to Clean Glass Cabinet Doors

cleaning glass

Streak-filled glass doors are never a good thing when trying to keep your kitchen looking its best. We love Zep Streak Free Glass Cleaner for a streak-free cleaner that picks up dust particles very well. Spray the cleaner directly on the cabinet door and wipe with a newspaper or coffee filter to further avoid any streaks.

Best Way to Shine Kitchen Cabinets

oil soap

Once your cabinets are clean from any residue and messes, it's a good idea to shine them to further enhance their natural charm. We recommend Murphy Oil Soap. The two-in-one solution is not only used for cleaning but giving your cabinets a beautiful sheen.

After the cabinets are grease and dust-free, apply Murphy's to a sponge or cloth and then gently wipe the cabinet surface in circular motions. You should shine your cabinets as often as you clean them.

Another great way to shine cabinets is with olive oil. Lightly rub a cloth dipped in the oil over the cabinet, one small area at a time.

Tip: For high gloss cabinets, simply dust them weekly to keep them shiny.

Best Way to Clean the Inside of Cabinets

vinegar and water solution

While you’re spending time cleaning and dusting the outside of your cabinets, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the inside too. For large pieces of dust or crumbs, prepare your vacuum cleaner and hose attachment. Once everything is cleared out of the cabinets, vacuum large particles, and spray with a soap and water solution to clean up any spills. For stuck on grime, use a vinegar and water solution, and allow to sit for a minute before scrubbing.

After the cabinet is completely dry, organize the contents. Consider shelf liners for easy upkeep and organizers to keep contents neat.

Tip: place a few dryer sheets on the shelves for a fresh scent every time you open your cabinets.

The Best Way to Clean Cabinet Hardware

kitchen cabinet hardware

Cleaning cabinet hardware is a must! They can easily attract fingerprints, dust, and cooking residue. Unscrew your knobs and pulls and place them in a bowl of mild dish soap mixed with water. After allowing them to soak for a while, scrub vigorously with a non-abrasive sponge to remove any gunk. Allow the knobs or pulls to air dry before screwing them back onto the cabinets.

Common Kitchen Cabinet Cleaning FAQs

  1. How can I protect my cabinets from grimy buildup?
    Clean regularly. Make a habit of wiping cabinet exteriors and interiors with a mild soap and water solution. Clean spills as soon as possible.
  2. What can damage kitchen cabinets?
    Heat producing appliances underneath cabinets, like toaster and toaster ovens, direct sunlight, and high temperatures can damage kitchen cabinets.
  3. Is there anything not to do when cleaning cabinets?
    Never use anything abrasive, including cleaners and sponges. This will strip the finish from the cabinets and even scratch the surfaces. Always think of mild solutions, soaps, and sponges.
  4. How often should I clean my kitchen cabinets?
    You should clean up spills as soon as they happen, wipe down your cabinets weekly, and do a deep-clean monthly.
  5. What are some eco-friendly cleaning products?
    The tried-and-true vinegar and water solution always works, as well as a mix of coconut oil and baking soda for both a great clean and shine.

There are numerous ways to clean your kitchen cabinets and keep them looking fresh and new. The key is to remember to clean them regularly and wipe up spills right away to avoid stains.

We highly recommend Murphy Oil Soap, Orange Cleaner, Dawn Power Wash, Zep Streak Free Glass Cleaner, Kitchen Cabinet and Furniture Cleaner, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

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