The Best Way to Clean Painted Kitchen Cabinets

When cleaning painted cabinets, you don't have to treat them with kid gloves, but you can't use extreme methods, either. Whether the finish is lacquer or semi-gloss paint, you can dull it by rubbing it with abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools and by washing it with strongly alkaline or acidic detergents. You seldom need harsh cleaners anyway, even if your white cabinets have yellowed.

Best Cleaning Method

Start with the gentlest cleaning method and progress to stronger ones as needed. Avoid using anything that will leave an extra film coating, such as wax or oil soap.

Step 1

Wipe down the cabinets with a damp rag to remove dust and surface grime. If you clean your cabinets regularly, you might not have to do much more than this.

Step 2

Mix a soap or detergent solution to remove kitchen grease and stains that won't come off with water. Maid Brigade recommends adding a cup of laundry or detergent to 2 cups of warm water, but in most cases, you probably don't need such a strong cleaner. A few squirts of grease-cutting dish detergent in a gallon of warm water may be enough -- add more if necessary. Rinse well with a damp rag after washing; then dry with a clean rag.

Step 3

Remove the yellow tinge left by cooking oils with an all-natural grease buster made by combining 1 cup vinegar with 2 cups of warm water and adding a tablespoon of baking soda. The mixture produces a satisfying fizz as the acetic acid in the vinegar cuts quickly through the oils. Baking soda is alkaline and acts as a mild soap as well as a deodorizer. Rinse with a damp rag and dry the surface with a separate rag.

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.