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Q: Are there any specific ways I should be cleaning my kitchen cabinets?

A: Kitchen cabinets are located in one of the most dirt-prone areas of the home—the kitchen. Grease, food spills, and splattered food result from cooking. In addition, dirty or sticky hands from both children and adults can quickly dirty your cabinetry.

Cleaning Products Guideline

Regular cleaning can help reduce the build-up on cabinets and makes it easier to remove bigger spills or spots when they occur. The cleaning method you should use depends on the materials in your kitchen doors.

All-purpose cleaners can generally be used on cabinet surfaces. Read the label carefully before using any product on your cabinetry. Information is included for consumers regarding surfaces where a cleaner is safe and those it can damage. To be safe, always test the cleaner on an area that is hidden before using it on the entire cabinet. Rinse and dry to remove any residue.

What about Environmentally Friendly Solutions?

If you or a family member is sensitive to a specific chemical or you want to use more environmentally conscious cleaners as opposed to household chemicals in common cleaners, there are environmentally friendly alternatives right in your own kitchen. 

  • White vinegar or lemon juice can be mixed with water to clean grease from cabinets. 
  • Baking soda or club soda can be used to remove staining. 
  • In both cases, rinse with water and dry with a lint free cloth after cleaning.

A Note on Cleaning Wood Kitchen Cabinets

  • Spray cleaners that are made for wood furniture can be used on cabinets.
  • Check to be sure the product you purchase is safe for your finish.
  • Follow the directions carefully when using the cleaning product.
  • Don’t forget to test a spot before using the cleaner, even if the can states that it’s good for your finish. 
  • Some wood cleaners are flammable. This information will be included on the warning label. Be sure to keep them away from flame or other heat sources—burning candles, your meal in progress on the stove, etc. Pay special attention to this warning if you have a gas stove or other appliance with a pilot light. The last thing you want to have happen is a spark to be ignited, causing a fire in the kitchen. 
  • Keep in mind too that sometimes cleaning wood cabinets may dull the finish. If this happens, you can restore the shine with furniture polish. Furniture wax can also be used to improve your finish.

Cleaning Hardware on Kitchen Cabinets

The hardware on your cabinets can get the same grease and grime build-up that your cabinets get from foods. It’s generally recommended to clean your hardware before cleaning your cabinets.

The cleaner you should use for your hardware depends on the material, and cleaners and polishes are commercially available for every type of metal. The most important thing is to simply be sure that the cleaner you choose is suitable for your hardware. Using the wrong cleaner could damage the handles and cost you money in replacing them.   

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December 20, 2013

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