Cleaning your cabinets is a very simple process, and certainly not something to be avoided.
By cleaning your cabinets, you will get the best value out of your kitchen. If maintained properly, cabinets can last for many years, even longer than many appliances, countertops, and kitchen tools.
Along with daily living, and as we cook and prepare meals, oils, grease, grime, smudges, splatters, bits of food, dirt, and dust, can all build up on our cabinets and create streaks and stains. Greasy fingerprints and smears of food, along with the unwanted bacteria that come with them, are reason enough to grab some supplies and start cleaning!
In a perfect world, you would give your cabinets a quick wipe once every few weeks. The longer cooking residues stay on cabinet surfaces, the more difficult it will be to remove them.
However, because life gets busy, it might make more sense to wipe down your cabinets as you see fit. When you start to notice more and more dirty spots, it’s probably a good time to get cleaning.
Ideally, you should give your cabinets a deep clean, inside and out, at least once a year.
In general, the following are the best rules of thumb for any type of cabinet cleaning:
The following steps outline an easy way to clean your cabinets:
If your doors have glass, use a glass cleaner, such as Windex, as directed. Make sure to stop the cleaner from dripping into the cracks of the cabinets and causing discoloration. After wiping the glass panels with the cleaner, dry them with a microfiber towel to remove smudges.
Cleaning the interior of your cabinets involves the same basic steps, as the directions for cleaning the exterior, along with a few additional ones:
When you find areas that have thick grease buildup or hardened food spills that are difficult to remove, you may need something a bit stronger than the mild soap and water mixture.
In these cases, you have several options. You may apply a paste of baking soda and water. This will help to break apart the dried food or grease. If necessary, you can also leave the mixture on the problem area for 10-15 minutes for a stronger treatment. Afterwards, wipe the paste away with a clean, damp towel.
Another more expensive option is to use a commercial cleaning product, such as an all-purpose orange oil cleaner or Simple Green. These solutions can help to break down the grease and grime, and may even leave your kitchen with a pleasant smell. However, you should always read labels carefully and spot test to make sure any product is safe to use.
If you find that your hinges and drawer slides are battling a build up of grime, feel free to use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the metal pieces. If some areas of grease and grime are particularly difficult to clean, use a small amount of the soap and water cleaning solution, and make sure to wipe the metal dry afterwards. Avoid using too much water to prevent rusting.
Special tips and tricks for cabinet cleaning:
What about vinegar and olive oil? Many sources recommend using homemade cleaning solutions with vinegar and / or olive oil. Note, however, that there are mixed opinions on the use of them for cleaning cabinets.
On the one hand, both ingredients are natural, affordable, environmentally friendly, household staples. On the other hand, vinegar may strip away a paint and varnish coating. It may wear away at the surface, and damage smooth stains or painted finishes. It may also leave a lingering smell. Furthermore, olive oil may remain on the surface of the cabinets, create a distinctive odor, and attract bacteria.
If you do want to try using vinegar or olive oil, make sure to do your research, and spot test on smaller areas before testing them on large, visible locations.
My best advice is to stick to the simple mild soap and warm water mixture. It is quick, easy, inexpensive, and does an incredible job. It will save you money and promote happy, healthy cabinets!