How to Clean Wooden Kitchen Cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets can be a charming focal point of a kitchen and also one of the most useful pieces of furniture in your home. Custom kitchen cabinets can be built to last a lifetime, but even the best kitchen cabinets are not immune to getting dirty over the decades.

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It seems kitchen cabinets are constantly being touched by dirty hands, sprayed with hot grease or being splattered with tomato sauce. Kitchen cabinets definitely need a good cleaning from time to time, so we have made this article with everything you need to know to clean wooden kitchen cabinets.

Wood kitchen cabinets have such a beautiful, natural look and feeling, and you want to treat them the right way so that they keep looking awesome. With our tips and techniques for cleaning wooden cabinets you are sure to keep them looking good for a lifetime. 

What Makes Wooden Kitchen Cabinets Different to Clean?

Modern kitchen cabinets can be made from many materials, but a classic choice is to make them from all natural and potentially sustainably harvested wood. Whether finished with a clear varnish to show off the unpredictable and magical lines of the wood grain or painted with an elegant color to match the rest of the kitchen, wooden cabinets are a piece of your home to be proud of and should be taken care of properly.

Wood being a natural product, you want to be careful about using too harsh of a cleaner on it. Try to find cleaning products that are made for wood or that you know are safe for the wood. You also want to check that the finish on the wood will not be damaged by the cleaning product. A finish like paint or varnish will protect the pores of the wood from being infiltrated by moisture, which would eventually lead to the wood being attacked by insects and rotting away.

Moisture is the true enemy of wood, as it will eventually lead to the wood taking its natural course which is to break down and make nutrients for other plants in the forest. You want to use as little moisture as possible when cleaning wooden cabinets and make sure they are able to dry quickly. The finish on the wood will protect it for a time, but if water can sit on the finish it could start to penetrate and damage the wood.

Another thing about moisture and wood is that wood can absorb moisture and swell up. If your kitchen cabinets start to be exposed to too much water, they could swell, which can make drawers not close right, could break hardware and could even cause the joints in the wood to break, which would mean that you would need new cabinets.

Spot Cleaning Cabinets

Whenever you see a spill happen on your cabinets you should try to clean it right away before it can get stuck on. Try first just using a soft, dry cloth to wipe away anything that has spilled, always try a no moisture cleaning first. 

Kitchen cabinets are pretty durable so they can take a lot of abuse, but you still want to clean any spill that you see happen. If wood is kept dry, it will last for hundreds of years with no problem.

Kitchen Cabinet Maintenance Cleaning 

To help your cabinets last as long as they can while looking as good as possible we recommend at least bi- weekly maintenance cleaning of the cabinets. It is a fairly simple procedure, just choose a wood safe cleaning product or make a cleaning solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. You can mix your cleaning solution in a spray bottle to have on hand at all times.

Gently mist all the surfaces of the cabinets with the cleaning solution, being careful not to let the kitchen cabinets get too wet. Wait a few minutes for the acid in the vinegar to break down any dirt or grease, this will take less than five minutes, then wipe the cabinets with a dry, soft cloth. 

To clean the hardware, you can use a damp rag or disinfecting wipe on them. Just rub them thoroughly and they should get nice and clean. 

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinet suppliers and suggest that at least twice a year you should be doing a thorough deep cleaning of your cabinets. This means emptying everything from the cabinets and cleaning them inside and out. If you have paid all the money for custom cabinets, you definitely want to protect your investment by giving them regular deep cleanings.

You can use your preferred wood cleaner to clean all parts of the cabinets inside and out. First you want to dust all over the cabinets. Especially the tops of the doors and other flat surfaces will attract dust. Then you can spray the cleaning solution all over, letting it sit a few minutes and then wiping it all down with a dry, soft cloth.

You can use a toothbrush to scrub all around the hardware, in corners and in the little crevices of the wood details. Scrubbing the hinges can get rid of any dust and grime, which overtime could lead to the hinges malfunctioning. 

For really stuck on grease or food, you can make a paste of water and baking soda and rub it over the stuck on food, let it sit for a few minutes and then rub the paste and the grime off with a soft, damp cloth, then dry it with a dry cloth. 

Damaged Kitchen Cabinets?

If your kitchen cabinets get damaged cosmetically like chipped paint or peeling varnish, you want to fix it as soon as possible so that the bare wood is not exposed to too much moisture. Hopefully you have saved some of the paint from the cabinets for touch- ups.

You can start by sanding around the damage, start with a larger sandpaper like 120 grit, then move to lower grits and finish with at least 220 grit. Try to get the edges to be flat so that you will not be able to notice the differences in paint. Then clean any dust away and paint over the spot. If the touch up looks too noticeable, you may need to sand it again and paint it again. 

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