A gloved hand cleans wooden cabinets with a microfiber cloth

Have Custom Cabinets? Here’s How to Keep Them Clean

Your cabinets are one of the essential parts of your kitchen. They are storage solutions that add beauty to the room, which is why they are such a big part of a kitchen remodel! At Red Rose Cabinetry, we know how important it is to keep your custom cabinets clean so they can last throughout the life of your home.

The first step in cleaning any cabinet is wiping it down with a microfiber cloth to remove dust or food particles. You may have the urge to use a sponge or dishcloth, as they are handy and likely right there in the kitchen. However, this method is a bad idea because food particles or grease contaminate sponges or cloths and may harm the cabinets. What steps you take next depends on the type of cabinet you have.


You can clean any type of wood mostly the same way. Just wiping down your cabinets with warm water and then drying them with a dry, lint-free cloth is usually enough to keep them clean if you are regularly cleaning. Be sure to clean with the grain of the wood on your custom cabinets, not against it.

When the cabinets need a deep clean, mixing warm water with a gentle cleanser is an excellent washing solution. Dish soap is a great cleanser to use—as long as it isn’t abrasive—because it is a degreaser. Vinegar and warm water are also okay to use, but make sure you test your cleaning solution on a small, hidden patch of your cabinet beforehand so you can see if there is any damage to the finish or wood.

After you’ve cleaned the wood with a solution, wipe them down again with a damp cloth to rinse away all the soap. Do not use an all-purpose cleaner on custom cabinetry, as it will strip away many finishes and directly damage the wood.

Spills, splashes, or any other accidents that involve liquids should be cleaned up from your cabinets immediately, so the liquid doesn’t have time to settle into the wood. Blot at the spill; try not to wipe at it, so it’s less likely to damage the color and finish.

Wipe away excess moisture as soon as possible because water can warp or damage the wood. If you are using water to clean inside your cabinets, leave the doors open and let them air out until they are completely dry before you put anything away.

Painted Cabinets

Cream-colored painted cabinets in a traditional kitchenPainted cabinets are easy to clean because they have coats of paint, which acts as a barrier between the wood and the cleaning solution. This protection does not mean you can use abrasives—as you may scratch the paint—but you can clean them with an all-purpose cleaner and warm water without damaging them if you’re in a pinch.

We recommend cleaning your painted cabinets in the same manner as wooden cabinets. As we suggested before, you should do a small patch test first to see how your cleaner will interact with the paint before you start deep cleaning.

Make sure your painted cabinets are fully dry before you put anything away.

Laminate or Metal Cabinets

Like with wooden cabinets, use a cleanser and warm water solution to clean laminate and metal surfaces. You will want to dry them off as much as possible but leaving behind a little water is a lot less detrimental to laminate. Metal cabinetry may rust over time with exposure to water.

Overall, however, these cabinet types are much less aesthetically pleasing than quality custom wood cabinetry because cleaning them can leave behind a streaky finish or a film. Replace laminate and metal throughout the household with wooden cabinetry for an instant upgrade in your home’s visual appeal.

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Glass Surfaces

If your cabinets have glass panels, clean the panels with glass cleaner on a soft cloth. Don’t spray the cleaner directly on the glass because it can seep into the wood and damage it where it meets the glass.

What Products Should I Avoid When Cleaning My Cabinets?

As stated previously in this post, some cleaners can have adverse effects on your wood. Do not use these harsh cleaners when you are cleaning your custom cabinets:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Cleaners with abrasive additives
  • Powdered cleaners
  • Mineral oil
  • Citrus products
  • Steel wool

Take care to wipe down your cabinets after you’ve cleaned them, so no film gets left behind. Dry them carefully and make sure you’ve gotten all the water out around any handles or knobs.

How Often Should I Be Cleaning My Cabinets?

Your cabinet cleaning schedule is dependent on their location. If you have custom cabinets in your kitchen, they will need more cleaning than those in the living room, for example. With those custom cabinets in the living room, a good dusting is probably enough every month, if there are no spills on the cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinets

Custom kitchen cabinets are susceptible to grime and grease buildup. The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home because it’s where people gather to talk, grab afternoon snacks, get a drink, or make dinner. This room has a lot of foot traffic and food mishaps, so you should aim to clean your cabinets, or at least wipe them down, once every two weeks to prevent too much buildup.

Over time, built-up grease can create a sticky film across the surfaces in your kitchen. If you wait until this film forms, you may have a more difficult scrubbing situation on your hands. Scrubbing can ruin the finish on your cabinets or make scratches in the wood. Wipe them down regularly to prevent this from happening.

Bathroom Cabinets

Cabinets in the bathroom have exposure to water more frequently, so they need more attention. Be sure to dry them off if there is any condensation, so they don’t warp. Wipe them off daily or every other day, depending on bathroom ventilation and how much condensation collects on the cabinets.

Looking for New Cabinets to Clean?

Professional installation of brand-new custom cabinets is one of the highlights of a kitchen remodel. Add that to new countertops and new appliances, and you can get your heart pounding with excitement. We all get a little lost in thought, but if you are so enamored with the idea of having new cabinets that you’re fantasizing about cleaning them, maybe you should schedule a free design session with us! Red Rose Cabinetry wants to hear all about your custom cabinet dreams.