How to Clean Oak Kitchen Cabinets

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It is important to clean your cabinets.
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Wood cabinets can get caked with grease and grime from cooking oils, splashed with acidic sauces and dirtied from other mishaps that can occur in an active kitchen. Cleaning oak kitchen cabinets can return them to their original shine and splendor. Knowing the best way to clean kitchen cabinets will ensure that the durable cabinet finish does not get damaged.

Best Way to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Cleaning kitchen cabinets with Dawn liquid dish soap or another mild cleanser can take down the first layer of grease and grime or give the cabinetry a quick clean. Put a few drops of the concentrated dish liquid in a bowl of warm water and wash the cabinets down with a soft sponge.

For more difficult and stubborn stains on the oak cabinets, Dawn recommends that you apply just a few drops of the dish liquid to the spot and rub it into the front of the cabinet. Don't rub too hard or you may damage the finish with the scrubbing action, not the detergent. This process can be repeated until the globs of grease or slick of oil are removed from the surface of the oak cabinet.

Once the cabinets are clean to your liking, rinse them down with a damp cloth or paper towel. Make sure to remove any excess soapy residue. This can become sticky and attract more dust and dirt to the surface. Dry the oak cabinets thoroughly to remove any moisture that clings to the recesses, nooks or handles.

Heavy-Duty Cabinet Cleaning

Cabinets are often used for much more than holding the daily dishware and rows of shiny drinking glasses. Favorite recipes might be taped to them, stickers may get plastered over the surface or they may become a backsplash for craft and painting projects. If the cabinets are truly in bad shape, you can get them back to a relatively good condition with a few deep cleaning tips and tricks.

You can use Goo Gone to clean kitchen cabinets that have dollops of grease, layers of adhesive from tape, gum or stickers as well as wax and makeup. The product is fine to use on wood as long as it has a finish, according to Goo Gone. Blot the stains with the Goo Gone using a thick, soft cloth until they begin to loosen. Remove the Goo Gone residue from the cabinet with an all-purpose cleaner or warm, sudsy water.

Maintaining Oak Kitchen Cabinets

A busy kitchen can create layers of grime on wood cabinets. Often, this is fairly hard to see as you move about the area. The oil and steam that can collect in the air and attach to the surface of the oak cabinets create a layer that dirt and dust can more easily adhere to. A clean cabinet's slick surface makes it harder for grime to build up, which can make cleaning them much more difficult.

About every two weeks, wipe down the fronts of the cabinets with warm water and a soft cloth. Dry thoroughly with a dry cloth or paper towels. For small spills, use the edge of a sponge dipped in warm, soapy water to clean the spot. Rinse and dry.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

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