Wooden kitchen cabinets are beautiful, and they give a certain homey vibe to any home, but they can be a pain to clean if you don’t know where to start. Your general knowledge of how to clean cabinets may not apply because wood can react badly to some chemicals found in cleaning products, hence the need for a proper approach.
Before you start
Regardless of how appealing a solution to clean your kitchen cabinets may sound when you read it, it would be best if you didn’t rush into applying it right away. Not all the wooden cabinets are the same, as craftsmanship, finish, and wood used can differ tremendously, and that means that they might not react the same way to the various methods of cleaning that will be explained in this article.
Choose an area that’s not visible to anyone who walks into your kitchen, and test the solution on a small patch. Allow a few hours to see the results. If the finish appears to have suffered no damage, and your furniture looks as good as new, you’re free to proceed to the cleaning of all the cabinets.
Vinegar as the most common go-to solution
You might have used vinegar as a handy cleaning solution, but you aren’t so sure that you could use it on wooden cabinets where the acidic liquid could leave unsightly streaks. The good news is that you can still use vinegar to clean your wood cabinets, but only if you follow the next instructions to the letter.
If you aim for general cleaning, the kind you apply regularly, and not when dealing with thick grime and grease stains, here is what you must do. Mix vinegar with warm water in equal amounts and pour the blend into a spray bottle. Apply on the entire surface – after you test it on a small patch as explained a little earlier – and allow it a couple of minutes to act. Use a soft cloth to wipe the cabinets and dry them thoroughly.
Dealing with greasy spots like a pro
In case you want something a little more effective, use a bit of dishwashing detergent by adding it to the mix. It should work like a charm for cabinets with plenty of greasy spots on them. Of course, if you have to deal with stubborn grime, you will need to invest a bit more time and effort into the cleaning process.
Again, vinegar is your reliable companion. This time, combine vinegar with salt to obtain a thick paste. With a toothbrush, take some of the paste and use it on the grimy spots. It is essential that you don’t scrub vigorously. Under no circumstances should you use steel wool to get the stains out, as that will surely ruin the finish.
Use clean water to get rid of the paste once it did its job, and dry the surface with an absorbent towel. Another verified method relies on baking soda. With a wet sponge, spread some baking soda on a stain and then scrub gently with a toothbrush, like before.
Add just a bit of shine for a brand-new effect
If you want to leave your cabinets looking not only clean but shiny, too, here is another excellent idea. Blend vinegar and vegetable oil in equal amounts and use the mix on the wooden cabinets. With a soft cloth, rub the solution in until the surfaces shine like your furniture is new.
Can you use polish to get rid of grease and grimy spots?
If you aren’t necessarily interested in a homemade solution, here is something you will find useful. Wood polish based on orange oil appears to have a fantastic effect on greasy, grimy areas that appear on your kitchen cabinets. Make sure that you invest in a good quality product to avoid chemicals that might ruin the finish.
What’s also awesome about this solution is that it will leave your kitchen smelling pleasant, fresh, and welcoming. Of course, this method requires you to spend a bit of money, but seeing the effects obtained, it is worth every penny.
Adding vegetable oil from the start works, too
For general cleaning, you can also use the following solution. In a 16-ounce spray bottle pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (use olive oil for a particularly beautiful shine), 4 tablespoons of vinegar (white, preferably, to avoid stains, especially on light-colored furniture), and 2 cups of warm water.
Shake before use and then apply on a surface, such as a door. Use a soft cloth to remove any grease and stains and scrub gently until the wood shines. Don’t forget to shake the bottle before applying the mix to another surface, as the oil will tend to rest on the bottom otherwise.
Mixing baking soda and vegetable oil for deep cleaning
After vinegar, baking soda is the most commonly used homemade ingredient for cleaning, so it is present in many of the tips included here. Combine one part vegetable oil with 2 parts baking soda, for an ideal proportion. Depending on how large a surface you need to clean, you can increase the overall amount of the final solution.
Make sure the blend resembles a thick paste; it is preferable to use your fingers, not a metal or a plastic spoon for this stage. Apply the paste on the stubborn spots and then use a soft cloth to scrub the area. If you need to reach difficult areas, use a toothbrush dipped in the paste. As you continue your work, the paste will solidify and fall on its own without having you do anything else.
For a final touch, buff the entire area with a soft cloth until you obtain a beautiful shine. This is how you clean your wooden cabinets to perfection.
A simple and effective solution
The ingredients mentioned throughout the article will be used in many of the recipes presented here, but what matters are the proportions and combinations used. Here is a solution for general cleaning that acts fast and won’t hurt the finish, either.
Using a cup of water, one teaspoon of toothpaste, and 2 teaspoons of baking soda, make a blend that you can apply for general cleaning. As you can see, this recipe doesn’t use vinegar, which some people might not like because of the strong smell. Just use this solution to clean your cabinets, making sure to clean all the surfaces with a clean cloth.
Dish soap works on stubborn grease like a charm
If you are interested in getting rid of greasy stains that appear challenging to clean through other methods, here is what you should do. Pour one half teaspoon of dish wash on a sponge. Take the sponge through the water quickly to wet it a bit and then scrub the problematic areas. Scrub until lather appears, but not too hard. Wipe with clean water and a cloth, and then use a microfiber cloth to remove moisture.
Just baking soda, please
Vinegar and baking soda are two important enemies of grime and grease, and you can use them in different ways to make sure that your wooden kitchen cabinets are as clean as possible. Just using baking soda and clean water, make a mix you can use on extremely greasy areas. Using circular motions, try to press as much of the baking soda as possible into the grease.
Allow it to act on the grease for about 10 minutes. Baking soda is pretty abrasive, and that helps to detach the grease from the surface. When you must wipe the baking soda, use first a damp cloth and then a dry one, to ensure that there’s no moisture left.
You may go for exotic ingredients, like Brazilian carnauba wax
A bit earlier, you learned about orange oil polish, which is recommended for your wooden kitchen cabinets. Another line of wood polish products that works for this purpose is based on Brazilian carnauba wax. It is considered excellent for bringing out the beautiful wood color; it is an ingredient that is often included in the formulas used by high-quality polishes. If you can afford such a product, go for it, as it will clean your furniture and make it look as good as new.
Don’t wax your kitchen cabinets
While you can use polish to clean your wooden cabinets, you shouldn’t do that too often if you can use other methods. Polish can build up in time, and then removing it can prove a pain. However, polish is not as bad as wax. The latter can create real problems, even when used sparingly. Unlike polish that creates a very thin film to protect the wood and wears off relatively easily, wax has properties that make it difficult to remove.
So, if you are also interested in what doesn’t work for your wooden kitchen cabinets, just know that wax is never a good idea. Stick to the tried and tested, and if you find a new method you want to try, don’t forget to check it on a small patch to see if it doesn’t hurt the finish.