How to Clean Fingerprints Off Kitchen Cabinets

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Gleaming kitchen cabinets can get gunked up over time with smudges from tiny hands reaching for cookies and snacks or chefs pulling open cupboards with a firm grip streaked with grease or sauce.
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It happens one digit at a time. Gleaming kitchen cabinets can get gunked up over time with smudges from tiny hands reaching for cookies and snacks or chefs pulling open cupboards with a firm grip streaked with grease or sauce.

When the surface of the kitchen cabinets begins to look dingy and dull, they can be returned to their original shiny and gleaming condition with a good scrubbing.

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Dawn

One of the more traditional and effective ways of cleaning kitchen cabinets is with Dawn dish soap. It is affordable and requires little effort to take down typical kitchen stains that are freshly made on cabinets, such as splashes from sauces or splatters from batters. The mild liquid detergent also works well in taking down grease, hardened puddles of pastes and the average amount of grime that can collect on kitchen cabinets.

A mix of 1 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid can clean kitchen cupboards that are smudged from average activity in a busy kitchen. Better Homes and Gardens suggests that you keep a small bottle on hand to clean up stove tops, counters and kitchen cabinets when a small-scale accident happens during the daily cooking schedule.


Cleaning cabinet fronts daily or weekly with a quick wipe down with a gentle cleanser will keep fingerprint smudges from building up on the facade.

Homemade Cabinet Cleaner

Cleaning kitchen cupboards with vinegar is a longstanding solution to truly grimy cabinet facades. The vinegar will cut through grease without damaging the surface of wood, plastic, veneers and most painted metal or particle board cabinets. While straight vinegar will do a quick job of taking down dirt and degrease a cabinet front, it will also act as a deodorizer for cabinets that emit a foul odor.

A good homemade cabinet cleaner combines vinegar with other active ingredients. Adding 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water and 1 tablespoon of mild liquid detergent, such as Dawn dishwashing soap, creates an effective multi-purpose cleaner for the interior and exterior of the dirty and musty kitchen cabinets.

Maintaining Gleaming Kitchen Cabinets

Smudges on cabinets don't happen overnight. They build up as family, friends and busy cooks rummage through the contents of the kitchen cupboards. To keep the façade of the bank of kitchen cabinets looking fresh and clean, Good Housekeeping suggests that they be wiped down with a mild cleaner daily or at least weekly.

A mix of 1 part each of vinegar and rubbing alcohol to 2 parts water and a small portion of mild liquid dish soap makes an effective daily cleaner. It is not abrasive or harsh, is safe to use on surfaces that come in contact with food and can wipe away smudges from fingerprints before they build up on the kitchen cabinet front.

Pour this mix into a spray bottle and keep it under the kitchen sink or other dark area for two to three weeks. Use it liberally on corners of cupboard doors, the rim of kitchen drawers and the fronts of cabinets next to stoves and workspaces. Pay attention to areas that are close to prep spaces, underneath countertops and other places that can get neglected in daily cleaning.


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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