Whether you have custom painted cabinets in a designer color or they're beautifully stained, they'll go through years of abuse from grease, sticky substances, moisture, and other kitchen hazards. Taking good care of your kitchen cabinets preserves their beauty and ensures they last for as long as possible.
How to Clean and Remove Grease From Cabinets
One of the most common reasons you'll be cleaning your kitchen cabinets is to remove the grease. As you well know, grease isn't easy to remove without using some type of soap. What's most important to remember is how important it is to rinse the soap off thoroughly after you clean the grease off your cabinets. Soap residue is very drying to wood.
Clean your cabinets about once a week on the outside and about once a month on the inside. To clean them, just mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap and use a sponge or soft cloth. Or, you can purchase an organic liquid soap like Castile soap. It's easiest to apply the cleaning mixture with a spray bottle. Be sure to rinse the cabinets thoroughly.
Once the grease is removed from your cabinets, there will probably be a few sticky spots that need a more aggressive solution. Whether they are painted or stained, you don't want to use harsh cleaning products or it will damage the paint or clear finish coat.
How to Clean Sticky Cabinets
Dust will eventually get embedded into the grease on your cabinets along with other sticky cooking substances. This makes them harder to clean. If yours are sticky, you'll need to get a little more aggressive with the cleaning. Again, don't use harsh cleaning chemicals on your painted or stained cabinets.
Instead, add some distilled white vinegar to the soap and warm water mixture to remove the sticky grease. For stubborn spots, you can use a little rubbing alcohol or vodka but again make sure you thoroughly rinse them down afterward.
How to Shine and Polish Cabinets
After you've cleaned them, putting the shine back on your cabinets is easy. Just a paste wax or wood polish to restore the shine. Eventually, you'll probably need to use a commercial wax remover and then reapply the wax with a soft cloth. Just move along the grain of the wood and then buff it with a clean, dry cloth. If you polish your cabinets and the shine only lasts a few weeks, it's time to refinish them.
How to Tell When Your Stained Cabinets Need Resealing or Refinishing
When your wooden kitchen cabinets were originally stained, a sealant was applied over the stain to protect the finish. The sealant on stained cabinets eventually wears off. Once it does, your wooden cabinets will look dull and the wood will be exposed to the moisture and grease from cooking in the kitchen.
If you apply new clear sealer as needed over the years when they start to look dull or dingy, you may never have to sand them down to bare wood and restain them unless you just want a different look. If the wood is dry and you're ready for a beautiful new stain color, then get your cabinets completely refinished.