Thanks to its position as a hub in most homes, kitchens are hard to keep clean. But the kitchen cabinets – those that get fingered with greasy, dirty and food-covered hands – are an even bigger challenge. Learning how to clean them is essential to keeping your kitchen in spiffy shape.
Cleaning natural finished wood is a tricky project if not done right. If the kitchen cabinets are only marginally dirty, you might be able to use a commercial wood cleaner designed for wood cabinets. However, if the grime is set in or the kitchen cabinets need a little something more, you’ll have to use a stronger cleaner.
Using Spray Cleaners
There are spray products made for the purpose of cleaning kitchen cabinets, and they might work fine, however there are several things to keep in mind. Most have a solvent base, so read all directions and follow them to the letter. Read carefully the warnings about ventilation and make sure there is no pilot light or flame burning that might cause a fire.
Before using a spray product to clean a kitchen cabinet, test the inside of a door to make sure the cleaner can be used on your type of wood. If there’s no harm to the finish, you can use the spray on the whole of the cabinets. The overspray can make a floor slippery, so be careful when spraying on the cleanser.
Some experts suggest using a straight solvent like paint thinner to clean wood kitchen cabinets but this takes careful oversight. Use the same precautions as noted above for the cleaner spray, but also make sure to ventilate the kitchen well by opening windows or turning on fans. If possible, remove doors and drawers and clean them outside.
Some cleaners made for wood kitchen cabinets contain waxes that can leave a shine or luster on the wood. This also protects the wood. If the cabinet seems dull after you complete the cleaning, apply a solvent-based wood wax, which you might want to buff to create a luster. If the cabinets still look dull, you might need to refinish them.
If your kitchen cabinets are metal, laminated plastic, wood-grain vinyl or painted wood, they can be cleaned with a detergent and warm water solution. Rinse with a sponge or cloth dipped in clean water then wipe with a dry cloth or paper towel.