How Do I Clean Yucky Greasy Kitchen Cabinets?

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The kitchen is the heart of most homes, which means it gets the most wear and tear. Even the healthiest diet contains oils, grease and other messy ingredients that can drip, splatter and leave yucky stains. Consistent maintenance can keep things under control, but sometimes life gets messy. An occasional deep cleaning will help ensure that the beat goes on.

How Do I Clean Yucky Greasy Kitchen Cabinets
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Laminate Cabinets

Thorough dusting with a soft, lint-free cloth is usually enough to keep the crisp finish of laminate looking fresh, but grease and oils can still build up over time. Dampen a soft cloth with diluted dish soap that's designed to cut grease. Wipe the cabinets thoroughly, being careful not to soak them. Water seeping through fine scratches or tears in the laminate can damage the composite underneath. Treat stubborn stains with a paste made of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply the paste to the stain with a soft cloth or clean toothbrush, and let it sit for at least five minutes before wiping it off with a cloth dampened with warm, clean water. Dry each cabinet thoroughly before moving on to the next one.

Painted Wood or Metal Cabinets

Paint can be tricky to clean because it's easily scratched and certain chemicals can react with it, causing discoloration. Start by going over your cabinets with a soft brush. This will loosen any built-up dust, grease and oil. Though it sounds counterintuitive, oil can help break up greasy, oily buildup. Make a paste of vegetable oil and baking soda that's thick enough not to run or drip. Apply the paste to your cabinets with a clean, lint-free cloth. Use a gentle circular motion to carefully scrub the cabinets clean. Wipe them down with a fresh cloth dampened with warm water and then wipe them dry. Coat the cabinets with a thin film of toluene-free paste wax to help protect the finish and keep them looking fresh.

Stained-Wood Cabinets

Most stained-wood cabinets are sealed with a protective finish, but you still need to be careful when cleaning them because damaging the finish can harm the wood underneath. Start by brushing the cabinets with a soft brush. Use a hard plastic spatula to carefully scrape off any drips that have hardened as they dried. Clean stained-wood cabinets with an oil soap designed to clean wood. Apply the soap with a soft, lint-free cloth. Wipe the cabinets down with a cloth dampened with warm water and then dry them thoroughly.

Glass-Door Cabinets

Glass is one of the easiest materials to clean, but if your glass doors have wood mullions, you need to be careful not to damage the wood. Vinegar and water mixed in equal amounts will clean glass, as will commercial glass cleaners. Whichever you decide to use, dampen a clean, lint-free cloth with the solution rather than spraying it directly onto your cabinets to avoid harming the wood frame or cross pieces.

Hinges and Hardware

Clean hinges and hardware with a paste made of baking soda and white vinegar or lemon juice. Scrub the hinges and hardware with a soft, clean toothbrush coated with the paste to remove grease and oil. Rinse them with a cloth dampened with hot water and dry them thoroughly.


Brynne Chandler built her first bookcase at eight years old, which is also right around the time she started writing. An avid crafter, decorator and do-it-yourselfer, Brynne has remodeled several homes including one cantilevered on a cliff and one that belonged to Olympic swimmer and actor Buster Crabbe. Best known for her EMMY-nominated TV animation writing, she has been writing non-fiction content for almost a decade and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle online, among other places.

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