Endlessly beautiful and timeless, your wood cabinets might be your favorite part of your kitchen. Unfortunately, your cabinets take a lot of punishment, from splattered food and grease to dirty fingerprints. There is some controversy about how to clean wood cabinets.
Some have praised cleaning kitchen cabinets with mineral spirits as the best way to keep them clean, while others rightly point out this type of cleaning with harsh chemicals can strip the wood’s finish. Do you know the best way to clean your wood cabinets without damaging them?
At Red Rose Cabinetry, we take cabinet surface care very seriously because we want your space to look beautiful for years to come. Whether you just bought new kitchen cabinetry and want to keep it looking beautiful or you’ve had your cabinets for years and want to give them a thorough cleaning, here are some dos and don’ts to clean your wood cabinetry and get great results safely.
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID WHEN CLEANING MY WOOD CABINETS?
Wood cabinet makers use special varnish finishes that protect the underlying wood from damage. It’s essential to avoid doing anything that can strip the varnish from the cabinets or damage the wood underneath. So, before we get into proper cleaning methods, here are some things you should avoid at all costs when it comes to cleaning your wood cabinets.
DON’T GET YOUR CABINETRY TOO WET
Water is one of the worst enemies of wood cabinetry and the leading source of damage to cabinets caused by homeowners, especially around the sink. Be sure splashes are wiped up with a dry cloth immediately and never let water pool or drip on cabinet drawers. Also, be careful when you mop your floor. Don’t splash water on lower cabinets or allow water to settle on the kick plates.
DON’T USE COARSE OR ABRASIVE CLOTHS OR PADS
It’s tempting to pick up an abrasive sponge or cloth to remove a sticky spot on your cabinets. However, abrasive materials or pads can dull or damage the finish of your cabinets or leave permanent scratches.
DON’T USE SOAP PADS, SCOURING PADS, AND BRUSHES
Soap pads, scouring pads, steel wool, and brushes are great for pots and pans but don’t let temptation urge you to use them on your wood cabinets. All these items are abrasive and can scratch your cabinetry. Soap and scouring pads may also contain chemicals that will damage the stain or finish of your cabinetry.
DON’T USE AMMONIA OR PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN AMMONIA (LIKE GLASS CLEANER)
While ammonia is excellent for removing grease, it’s too harsh to use on your wood cabinetry and can damage the finish. You should also avoid spraying your cabinets with glass cleaner because glass cleaner also contains ammonia. If you need to clean glass cabinet doors, make sure you shield the wood part of the door from any overspray, or spray your cloth directly and then clean the glass.
DON’T USE STRONG SOLVENT CLEANERS, MINERAL SPIRITS, PAINT THINNER, OR OTHER HARSH CLEANING CHEMICALS
Avoid cleaning kitchen cabinets with mineral spirits, strong solvent cleaners, paint thinner, and other harsh chemicals because they can damage the varnish that protects the underlying wood of your cabinets.
DON’T USE DUST SPRAYS INTENDED FOR FURNITURE ON YOUR WOOD CABINETRY
While products like Endust or wood polishes or sprays may make your wood furniture shine, don’t use these products on your cabinetry. They may contain chemicals that could damage your cabinetry, and they often leave a sticky residue that attracts dust and dirt that can give your cabinets a dull appearance.
REGULAR CLEANING: HOW TO CLEAN WOOD CABINETS WITHOUT DAMAGING THEM?
The best way to keep your beautiful wood cabinets from Red Rose Cabinetry looking great is to keep dust, dirt, grease, and fingerprints from building up over time.
WIPE UP SPILLS OR SPLASHES IMMEDIATELY
Use a damp, soft cloth to wipe up spills, splashes, or spatter right when it happens.
DUST YOUR CABINETRY REGULARLY
Dust your cabinetry with a soft duster or soft cloth. Keeping your cabinetry free of dust will prevent scratches and keep your cabinetry looking bright and new.
WIPE DOWN YOUR CABINETRY
Wipe down your cabinet doors and drawer fronts at least once a week to prevent buildup. You won’t need soap or special cleaners if you handle this job regularly. Plain water and a soft microfiber cloth will do the job perfectly. Simply wipe down your cabinet doors and drawer fronts using a damp – but not wet – soft cloth.
Immediately after, wipe your cabinetry dry with another clean, soft cloth. Never use hot water to clean your cabinetry; lukewarm or warm water will be just fine!
HOW DO I DEEP CLEAN MY CABINETS?
If dirt, grime, or grease builds up on your cabinetry over some time, you can use diluted soapy water or a mild, all-purpose cleaner without ammonia to clean your wood cabinetry. Oil soap cleaners, or a cleaning solution specially formulated for wood components, are also safe to use.
Make sure you dilute any cleaners in water and avoid spraying the cleaner directly on the wood. Be sure not to get the cabinetry too wet and never use hot water. Wipe down the cabinets with a soft, dry cloth to complete the job.
Safely cleaning your wood cabinets shouldn’t be confusing or complicated. Avoid cleaning kitchen cabinets with mineral spirits and other harsh chemicals and abrasive tools, and use a damp cloth and plain water for most cleaning jobs. Sticking to the basics and regularly cleaning your cabinets will ensure your cabinetry stays beautiful for years to come.