How to Care for and Clean Your Cabinets

We all spend a lot of time in our kitchens and it’s important to keep them clean. While the dishes, floors, and stovetops probably get daily attention, it’s easy to overlook the cabinets. However, they are exposed to dust, dirt, and grease constantly, and over time stubborn buildup can accumulate. Nelson’s Shaker cabinets are made of high-quality wood and plywood, meaning they are more robust than cabinets that include particle board or MDF (medium density fiberboard), but they still require regular upkeep. Just follow these tips to ensure that they are always looking their best.

Routine Maintenance

About twice a month, wipe down the cabinets with a soft cloth and the cleaner of your choice. This is to prevent the accumulation of grime, which can dull the luster of the wood. For lighter jobs, warm water will likely do the trick; for more thorough cleaning, you may choose a commercial wood cleaner like Murphy’s Oil Soap or make your own. For a simple homemade cleaner, just add a little dish soap, which is a great degreaser. For more heavy-duty jobs, mix together equal parts vinegar and water and distribute with a spray bottle on especially stubborn spots. Whichever cleaner you choose, be sure to wipe in the direction of the grain and work from the highest part of the cabinet to the lowest. After you’re finished with the first step, take a dry cloth to soak up any excess cleaner.

Choose Your Products Wisely

Some products can cause permanent damage to your cabinets, so be sure to steer clear of them! These include cleaning tools like plastic brushes, steel wool, scouring pads, and any other brushes or fabrics with abrasive surfaces. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to use soft, lint-free cloths such as a microfiber cleaning cloth for washing and dusting your cabinets. In addition, avoid agents like bleach, ammonia, items with acetone, and solvents.

Start with the Large Surfaces

When wiping down your cabinets, begin with the doors and drawers first, and then proceed to the inside. For the hardware as well as any nooks and crannies, dip a toothbrush into the cleaner and scrub these areas down. To clean the crown moldings, dip the soft cloth into your cleaner and proceed as you did with the doors and drawers, being sure to wipe them dry.

Treat Stubborn Stains

Sometimes stains can go unnoticed at first, only to be detected after they’ve left their mark on the wood. To treat these kinds of stains, mix some vinegar together with salt in order to form a paste. Use a toothbrush dipped in this paste to gently scrub the stain, then rinse with water and wipe with a soft cloth.

Deep Cleaning Your Cabinets

Every two or three months, treat your cabinets to a deep clean by removing all the contents – this way, you can be sure to get rid of all the dust that’s gathered on the shelves in between the your pots and pans. You don’t have to do them all at once – you can just deep-clean one cabinet at a time. After removing all items from the cabinets, follow the same steps as with the routine maintenance procedure, and then wipe all the cabinet’s contents clean with a soft cloth.

Keep Your Cabinets Dry

If a spill is left standing, it can leave a stain; it’s easier to clean up when it’s fresh. Wipe it up using a soft towel to ensure that the cabinet does not absorb the moisture. Avoid placing appliances like rice cookers or water kettles in positions where the cabinets are in the line of the steam and don’t drape damp rags over the cabinet doors.

Add a Protective Coat to Your Cabinets

To help shield your cabinets from future stains, you can apply a mixture of equal parts vegetable oil and vinegar to the surfaces. This coat should be very light and you can rub it in with a soft cloth, buffing the cabinets to a shine.