How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets Quickly and Easily



If you are wondering how and how often to clean kitchen cabinets, it actually depends on how much cooking you do and how many cooks use the kitchen. Kitchen cabinets and drawers have traditionally been used to store dry foods and various other kitchen essentials such as dishes, utensils, small appliances, and pots and pans. Cooks today also use kitchen cabinets to store cookbooks and alcoholic beverages, as well as snacks and cleaning supplies that should be kept out of reach of young hands.

Most kitchen cabinets are made from hardwood or economical materials such as plywood or chipboard. Either way, it’s important to clean your cabinets regularly to keep your kitchen fresh and hygienic. We review products to quickly clean your cabinets as part of your kitchen cleaning routine and advise you on how to avoid damaging interior wood and exterior finish. Prepare to roll up your sleeves! And once you’re done cleaning your cabinets, you might want to check out our guide to kitchen cabinet organization ideas, next.

How to clean kitchen cabinets – preparation

Throw away expired products and wipe down containers

Your kitchen will be crisp and bright after a thorough cleaning of the interior and exterior of your kitchen cabinets. Since you will be removing all items, including food, drinks, and cooking utensils, this is also a great time to throw away expired staples such as old cereal and consider replacing nearly empty items. . Also, spice containers and sauces can easily get sticky or dirty, as we tend to get into them in the middle of cooking. Wipe these items down with a rag and hot soapy water and allow them to dry while you continue to clean the cabinets.

Gather your cleaning products


(Image credit: Getty Images)

In your cleaning tool kit, you should have:

  • Old toothbrush-To tackle interior corners and curves and grooves in ornate or raised panel cabinet doors.
  • Hand vacuum cleaner—A great option for quickly removing food crumbs from upper cabinets and particles from lower cabinets.
  • Soft bristle brush—To clean lower cabinets and drawers that may contain dried foods, oil, dirt and spilled liquids.
  • Cleaning cloths—A soft sponge or a thick, soft cotton or microfiber cleaning cloth is best for cleaning wood cabinets.

Options for cleaning solutions:

  • Degreaser—a mixture of lukewarm water and baking soda or a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and lukewarm water.
  • Dishwashing liquid-a few drops of dish soap mixed with very hot water.
  • All Purpose Cleaner—which is soft, made for wood and has been field tested to ensure that it will not damage your wood finish.
  • Wood Oil and Soap Cleaners—like Murphy’s Oil Soap using 1/4 cup of soap per gallon of lukewarm water.

When it comes to store-bought products, always follow the manufacturer’s directions and do a spot test in a hidden location to observe how the cleaner reacts to your cabinets.

Wipe off with water first

To make the kitchen cabinet cleaning process more efficient, first grab a damp cloth and wipe up any crumbs or spilled liquids on the shelves before moving on to your cleaning supplies. Avoid using too much water, as this can damage the outer casing of your kitchen cabinets over time. Water can dull the finish, darken the wood and chip or separate the laminate panels. After wiping down your cabinets, be sure to wipe off any excess water.

How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets in Five Steps

  1. Start at the top interior shelves and work your way down using your favorite cleaning solution– interior shelves can hold a lot of crumbs and residue that a vacuum cleaner can remove before cleaning and wiping them down. Remember to spray and wipe down the edges and sides of your cabinets.
  2. After all interior shelves have been cleaned—You can degrease the exterior cabinet doors as needed and clean them as well.
  3. If you are using an aerosol cleaner—Always wipe down with clean water to remove cleaning product residue. When these products are left to dry on wood surfaces, they can dull the wood finish over time. Likewise, when cleaning your kitchen cabinets with soap and water, you should wipe down the soap-free surfaces with a warm, damp cloth to prevent fading.
  4. Allow all surfaces to dry completely– before replacing the contents of the cabinet so that it is organized and tidy.
  5. Finally, rub the knobs and handles– scrub the material with a toothbrush dipped in a 50/50 solution of vinegar and lukewarm water. If necessary, remove hardware from drawers and cabinets to soak and clean separately.

Use a degreaser if necessary

Start with a degreaser of your choice in any sticky or dirty cabinetry. Apply the degreaser with a regular cleaning cloth, then let the solution sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This leaves enough time to remove those thick, stubborn stains. It will also reduce the amount of elbow grease you will need to use afterwards.

After the degreaser has done its job, wipe with a clean, damp cloth, exerting light pressure to remove food, grease, and liquids. If necessary, use your bristle brush to remove grease from cabinet doors and use the toothbrush to get into interior corners. Thick fat build-up is best removed with a gentle scrub using a paste of baking soda and water and a soft bristle brush.

Continuous maintenance of cabinets

Perform a few routine maintenance tasks to keep your kitchen cabinets cleaner for longer. This includes:

  • Dust the cabinets twice a month with a soft cloth
  • Clean up spills as soon as they occur.
  • Cabinets near the hob or range hood should be degreased once a month.
  • Try to keep heat producing appliances like coffee makers and electric frying pans away from cabinets to prevent excess heat and humidity from damaging their surfaces.

If you’ve been inspired by cleaning, you might be interested in our guides on how to clean a refrigerator, how to clean a range, and how to clean your microwave.


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