Kitchen and Bathroom Design | Hillside Kitchens
How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets?
Reyyan Jazzar
Interior Home & Kitchen Designer
16 January 2022

You probably wipe down your kitchen counters and mop your kitchen floor every day, or at least regularly. Your kitchen cabinets, on the other hand, may not get the same attention—but they should. All-day they collect dirt, dust, splatters, grease, and other cooking residues; over time this mixture sticks to cabinet surfaces like a tacky glue that can be difficult to remove. Besides becoming an eyesore, unclean kitchen cabinets could pose a health risk. Bacteria like Salmonella can easily contaminate cabinet handles and knobs. Grime and old food particles have no business building up inside the place where we store the items, we put our food on. Your kitchen cabinets need simple, regular maintenance. If you enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, the spills, splatters, and grease will eventually accumulate, and a good cleaning session will be necessary – one that’s a bit more thorough than the usual quick daily wipe-down of the stove, counters, and tabletops.

Are your cabinets grimy, sticky, and greasy? How about the drawers? Must be time for a deep clean! We're sharing all of the tips and tricks you'll need to make those cabinets and cupboards shine and sparkle again:

There’s no doubt that scrubbing the kitchen cupboards and cabinets can be a big task. So, we’ve compiled the top tips for tackling this chore for the best possible results – in as little time and with as little effort as possible!

In this post, we’ll cover how to clean some of the most common materials, like natural and painted wood, laminate, metal, and glass. We’ve also got the best cleaning method for tackling the worst in terms of accumulated kitchen grunge – the hidden tops of cupboards. And we’ll also share also a couple of foolproof methods to disinfect cupboard and drawer interiors, to keep your kitchen safe and sanitary.

How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

How Often to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Ideally, you should wipe down the exterior of your cabinets every week, or at least every other week. But every few months, the interior of your cabinets needs a deep clean. The idea of emptying out your entire kitchen may sound overwhelming, but if you approach the task one cabinet at a time it'll be easier. For example, if all your plates are in the dishwasher at a given moment, you can use that opportunity to clean the spot they usually sit in. Keep a list of what you’ve cleaned as you go, and make sure you cover the spots where your plates, bowls, and drinking glasses are set.

  • Find an appropriate cleaner.

    There are many cleaners to choose from so it’s important to know your options. Everyday household items such as dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar can be used to create a natural cleaner that won’t be as harsh on your kitchen cabinets. If you have a sticky cleanup or a special type of wood, there are a multitude of commercial cleaners at your local convenience store that will be more beneficial. We used basic household ingredients to create our cleaners, but choosing a product is dependent on your cabinetry.

Tip: Make sure you spot test whatever product you decide on in a hidden place, in case there’s a negative reaction.

  • Use the correct supplies.

    There are many cleaning supplies available to you, but sometimes the basics work best. All you need is your cleaner of choice, a sponge, an old toothbrush, and some cleaning cloths or rags. You are welcome to use your favorite scrubber as well, but be cognizant of the bristle strength so it doesn’t scratch the cabinet surface.

Tip: If you have sensitive hands, try investing in a pair of reusable cleaning gloves to avoid dryness or rashes.

  • Clean out the kitchen cabinets.

    Begin with a clean slate. Remove all the items from your cabinets and place them on a counter or table nearby. Toss anything that is expired or nearly empty. If any bags or boxes are worn and have holes, pour the contents into jars and label them. This will prevent any further mess.

Tip: Keep a list of the items you throw away, so next time you’re at the grocery store you remember what to replace.

  • Wipe the interior.

    Fill a spray bottle with oil-cutting laundry detergent or dish soap and water. Make the consistency of the mixture one part detergent and two parts water for the best results. Spray down the inside of the cabinet and wipe with a cloth or sponge.

Tip: Don’t spray too much cleaner on the surface or interior of your cabinets. You want to avoid letting your cabinets get too damp, so remember that a little goes a long way.

  • Get the tricky spots.

    When it comes to the kitchen, sticky situations are inevitable. Any residue that is still left over after the primary cleaning can be attacked with a stronger cleaner. For natural wood cabinets, try creating a mixture of baking soda and vegetable or coconut oil (1 part oil, 2 parts baking soda). This will remove grease and lift the dirt, leaving the cabinet good as new. If you have painted wood cabinets, a blend of white vinegar and water (1 part vinegar, 1 part water) will remove the grime without damaging the paint.

Tip: Be gentle when scrubbing the difficult spots. You don’t want to leave any scratches.

  • Wipe down the exterior.

    Using the basic cleaning solution, spray the exterior of the cabinets. Wipe them down with a cloth or sponge. Use more pressure on the dirtier spots.

Tip: Don’t forget to wash the sides of the cabinets, even in tough spots such as next to the refrigerator or wall. The edges can accumulate a good number of debris and are often forgotten.

  • Clean around the hardware.

    Your cabinets get opened and closed many times throughout the day. The area around the handles can easily be the dirtiest. Reach this difficult spot by using a stronger cleaner and a toothbrush

Tip: If you are using a store-bought cleaner, check the label to make sure it will not stain the hardware.

  • Final wipe down.

    When you are done and the cabinet is looking spotless, give the interior and exterior one last time over with a damp cloth. The cloth will pick up any leftover cleaner and any last specks of dirt or dust.

Tip: Make sure the cloth is clean. Check the part that’s in contact with the shelves after a few wipes. If it’s dirty, you could end up just moving the dirt around or scratching the wood.

  • Allow for dry time.

    It’s important to wait the extra 10-20 minutes and let your cabinets dry to prevent any mold or rust from growing in damp spots. If you are able to remove the shelves, place them in the sunshine for a quicker dry.

Tip: Leave the doors open so the interior of the cabinets gets good airflow and can dry faster.

  • Organize your cabinets.

    Since all of your kitchen supplies are on your countertops, this is the perfect time to organize your kitchen cabinets before returning the items to their proper place. As you do this, wipe off any jars or dishes with a damp cloth. This is to ensure that they don’t have any residue that will dirty your cabinets.

Tip: If you were unhappy with the way, you had organized your cabinets previously, this is your time to make a change.

Tips for Keeping Kitchen Cabinets Clean Longer

  • Dust your cabinets at least once every two weeks with a soft cloth, rag, or standard duster. This should cut down on the need for deeper cleaning.
  • Clean up spills as soon as they happen with a damp cloth or sponge. The longer a substance hangs around on your cabinets, the greater the likelihood it will cause stains that are difficult to remove or other damage.
  • Cabinets installed near a self-cleaning oven are prone to damage from the intense heat that can escape from a faulty head gasket seal. To avoid this, remove the doors (if possible) and drawers from all cabinets above or adjacent to the oven during a cleaning cycle.
  • Keep heat-producing appliances—such as coffee makers and toasters—away from cabinets; excess heat and moisture can damage cabinet surfaces.

Planning how to clean your kitchen cabinets can be a process, but once you have a game plan and time set aside, it will be well worth it. By simply following these steps, you’ll have a more orderly kitchen. For a pristine cooking space, try cleaning your kitchen cabinets at least twice a year.

Reyyan Jazzar
Reyyan Jazzar
Interior Home & Kitchen Designer
Make Your Kitchen More Energy-efficient: Tips for Envoirement Lover Homeowners
Make Your Kitchen More Energy-efficient: Tips for Envoirement Lover Homeowners
There are several ways to make your house more energy-efficient. If you don't have access to the ele...
Read More
8 Blue Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
8 Blue Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
Does it make you feel excited to bring colors to your kitchen design? We believe everybody does. Tho...
Read More
Designing Kitchens with Modern Shaker Cabinets
Designing Kitchens with Modern Shaker Cabinets
Cabinetry is one of the essential elements that define the functionality and style of a kitchen. You...
Read More
4 Different Types of Trending Kitchen Countertops
4 Different Types of Trending Kitchen Countertops
There are many different kitchen countertop options to choose from. That is why it is always a good...
Read More