How to Clean Cabinets With Denatured Alcohol

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Kitchen cabinets can suffer a sticky layer from the results of all that frying, baking and sautéing.
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The kitchen gets a lot of attention every day. All those meals prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner can take a toll on the surrounding cabinets.

Eventually, kitchen cabinets can suffer a sticky layer from the results of all that frying, baking and sautéing. Removing the greasy film from kitchen cabinets can give the surface new life and bring up the beauty of the favored living space. Denatured alcohol can quickly cut through grime when used correctly.

Denatured Alcohol vs. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a common household item that is used for a variety of cleaning chores. It's a workhorse for cleaning windows, erasing ink stains on walls and removing stains from clothing. However, it takes a lot of rubbing alcohol to do all the work that denatured alcohol can do much faster. A denatured alcohol degreaser is significantly more effective than the more common rubbing alcohol.

Denatured alcohol contains specific additives that make it highly toxic for consumption. It is also referred to as methylated spirits and has a foul smell that comes from the additives, such as methanol. It's a highly flammable cleaning material and corrosive, so needs to be handled with great care.

Used as a solvent, it serves as an exceptional cleaner to remove sticky substances or stubborn layers of grime from kitchen cabinets and other surfaces. Its main uses are as a serious cleaning agent, fuel additive, sanding or finishing purposes and solvent. Denatured alcohol should never be used as an antiseptic or consumed.

Benefits of Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is often used for its antibacterial properties and quick work when stripping surfaces of unwanted grease and ground in grime. It can be used on a wide variety of hard surfaces, including glass, wood and plastic, clothing, furniture and more. Denatured alcohol for cleaning works faster than commercial degreasers and common household rubbing alcohol.

One of the main reasons denatured alcohol works well on wood and other porous surfaces is that it evaporates quickly and doesn't leave a layer of moisture behind after cleaning. It works well on metals that may have an adverse reaction to moisture. This also makes it ideal for washing windows and glass surfaces because the streaks will quickly evaporate.

How to Clean with Denatured Alcohol

It can take out a variety of substances, from wax and glue to grease, paint, ink and wine stains. It can also remove a bit of the shine from the wood surface. When working with this somewhat corrosive solvent, use gloves, face mask and eye protection to protect from the fumes.

Dip a soft rag in the denatured alcohol and wipe down the surface of the sticky cabinets in slow strokes over a small area. Allow 15 minutes between wiping down the cabinets for the denatured alcohol to evaporate. After cleaning a wood kitchen cabinet with denatured alcohol, apply a thin coat of wax to return it to its natural shine and attractiveness.

When Not to Use Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol on paint can be a problem. It is often used as a paint stripper or thinner. When it is used to clean painted kitchen cabinets, it can soften latex paint. It works best on oil-based finished and naturally-finished wood cabinets.

When mixed with shellac, it creates a shiny gloss that is easy to clean. However, using denatured alcohol on this type of finish can cause problems, so always use care when working with this serious solvent.

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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 www.vegaswriter.com.

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