How to Clean Hardwood Kitchen Cabinets

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-08-17 13:42:33

Cabinets are the backbone of any kitchen, and as far as cabinets go, there’s nothing more stunning than hardwood, whether stained or painted, brand new or lived-in. While hardwood cabinets are relatively low maintenance compared to other kitchen fixtures and appliances, they still require some care to prevent them from becoming dull and grimy over time. With these tips, you should be able to keep your hardwood cabinets looking beautiful for years to come.

Regular cleaning saves time and hassle in the long run

As with most types of cleaning, if you schedule just a few minutes of preventative upkeep into your routine, you’ll save yourself from having to do the time consuming, heavy duty cleaning down the road.

How to regularly clean outer cabinet surfaces

Make it a habit to routinely wipe the front of your cabinet doors and drawers with a soft cloth dampened with warm water, focusing on the surfaces around the handles, knobs, and pulls since those areas tend to get the most traffic. Then dry the cabinets with a soft, dry cloth to prevent streaks and to keep the wood from absorbing any moisture. Microfiber cloths work very well for this, since they collect dust particles and food debris along the way.

How often should you clean outer cabinet surfaces?

Spending just minutes lightly cleaning the front of your cabinet doors and drawers should help prevent grimy buildup from occurring—the kind that causes you to give up a perfectly good Saturday or Sunday afternoon scrubbing. How often you should do it depends on various factors, such as household size, whether you have kids, and how heavily you use your kitchen for cooking. If you have a bustling household and you use your kitchen daily to cook meals, it’s probably not a bad idea to do this kind of preventative cleaning on a weekly basis. A convenient way to do it is to add it before or after a regular meal cleanup each week.

Cleaning the inside of cabinets and drawers

It’s unbelievable how quickly the inside of cabinets and drawers can start to collect dust and food particles, even when all the dishes going into them are clean! Though you won’t need to clean the inside of cabinets and drawers as often as the outside, it’s still important to clean them every few months (once a quarter is a good goal), especially in heavily used areas such as the silverware or utensil drawer. Regular cleaning can keep pests from discovering small crumbs and food particles—even ones you can’t easily see. Plus, it keeps the area where you store your dishes free of dust and grime.

The inside of drawers and cabinets can be cleaned the same way as the front surfaces—with a soft cloth dampened with warm water, followed by a soft, dry cloth to eliminate any moisture. Even after drying the cabinets or drawers, it’s a good idea to wait several minutes before moving your dishes, small appliances, or utensils back into the area you cleaned. This allows more time for the wood to dry so you don’t inadvertently trap moisture between the wood and your items.

Focus on one drawer or cabinet a week

Having to even lightly clean the inside of your cabinets or drawers can be time consuming if all done at once, since it requires removing the items inside and moving them back once cleaning is done. To prevent this from becoming an hours-long project, choose one cabinet or drawer to clean each week. Depending on how many cabinets and drawers you have, cleaning one a week will roughly be equivalent to cleaning all your cabinets and drawers quarterly, but it will feel a lot less overwhelming!

How to remove tough grime and buildup

While regular cleaning can help avoid most tough buildup from accumulating, we’re all busy, and sometimes those tough messes just happen. When they do, the best way to gently remove buildup or dried-on food from your cabinets without damaging the finish is to use warm water mixed with a few drops of mild dish soap or use a mild cleaner formulated especially for wood surfaces. Using tight circular motions with the cloth, apply enough pressure to remove the buildup or food without scraping or scratching at the cabinet’s surface. For stubborn stuck-on food, you may need to repeat the process several times.

What NOT to use when cleaning your cabinets

Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, wax, silicones, or abrasives. Although some recommend using a mixture of water and vinegar, the acid in vinegar could potentially damage the finish on hardwood cabinets over time, so it’s best to avoid using vinegar or other acidic cleaners. To prevent scratches in the finish or on the wood itself, avoid using scratch pads or cleaning brushes.

Cleaning the sides and tops of your cabinets

The sides and tops of your cabinets won’t likely get as dirty as the rest of your drawers and cabinets, but you’ll still need to keep them dusted regularly using a soft, dry cloth. If buildup does occur in these areas, they can be cleaned with a damp cloth just like the rest of the cabinets.

Are you considering new kitchen cabinets altogether? Handcrafted hardwood custom cabinets from Lutes will add beauty, functionality, and value to your kitchen for years to come…give us a call to get started!

how to clean hardwood kitchen cabinets


Past Articles

Custom kitchen islands offer a practical alternative to a kitchen remodel
2018-09-14 16:34:39 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

How to Clean Hardwood Kitchen Cabinets
2018-08-17 13:42:33 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Keep your kitchen cool during the hottest days of summer
2018-06-28 16:57:28 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Time for a Kitchen Remodel? Choose Easy-to-Clean Materials.
2018-06-01 14:40:16 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

7 Ideas for Maximizing Space in a Small Bathroom
2018-04-30 11:21:29 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

April Showers Bring Opportunities to Declutter your Closet
2018-04-06 15:52:58 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

The kid-friendly, pet-friendly kitchen remodel
2018-03-07 10:24:34 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Choosing hardware for your cabinets
2018-02-05 11:06:32 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Choosing a wood species option for your cabinets
2018-01-22 20:36:53 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

7 kitchen organization tools worth putting on your Christmas list
2017-12-28 20:36:39 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Get your home organized before the Holidays
2017-11-30 20:36:04 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Choosing timeless renovations
2017-10-30 20:35:47 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Preserving your Kitchen During Canning Season
2017-09-26 20:35:31 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Stay Organized Throughout the School Year by Creating Zones in your Home
2017-08-30 20:35:16 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Why choose custom cabinets over manufactured (box) cabinets
2017-07-31 20:34:12 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Protect your Cabinets from Summer Humidity
2017-06-28 20:33:35 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Choosing a Countertop for You and Your Kitchen Part II
2017-03-30 20:33:13 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry

Choosing a Countertop for You and Your Kitchen Part I
2017-01-30 20:32:56 by Lutes Custom Cabinetry