The Best Ways To Clean Your Painted Kitchen Cabinets - House Digest (2023)

The Best Ways To Clean Your Painted Kitchen Cabinets - House Digest (1)

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ByDeirdre Mundorf/Jan. 15, 2023 12:15 pm EST

Most of us use our kitchen daily — or even multiple times a day. All of the baking, cooking, dishwashing, and prep work can make a mess. This mess often extends to your kitchen cabinets, which in addition to food splatters and debris, can also become covered with dust, fingerprints, and other grime if they aren't cleaned regularly. Learning how to clean your kitchen cabinets is important becauseyou are removing bacteria that could potentially make you or your family sick. Think about all the different foods you cook in the kitchen, including raw meats. Contaminants can end up on the doors and drawers, leading to potentially serious health issues.

There are additional reasons to keep your kitchen cabinets clean. The accumulated dust and dirt can cause the finish or paint to wear down. It could even make its way down to the wood beneath the paint, causing structural problems and making it necessary to replace the cabinets sooner than you may be planning to. If you have painted kitchen cabinets, learning how to clean them properly is essential so you can remove dirt without damaging their appearance. Here's how.

Start by wiping the cabinets using a damp microfiber cloth

The Best Ways To Clean Your Painted Kitchen Cabinets - House Digest (2)


When possible, a gentle cleaning is best for painted kitchen cabinets. This limits the chances that you'll inadvertently damage or remove their paint. Start with a microfiber cloth dampened with plain water. This will often be sufficient to remove much of the dust and debris on the doors without threatening the finishing.

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Today shares that microfiber cloths offer a chemical-free way to clean various surfaces in the home. They are superior to dishrags for several reasons. Not only do they last longer, but they are also safer for the environment than choosing harsh chemical cleaners. Moreover, they are more effective at giving surfaces a deep clean and can remove up to 99% of bacteria. The cloth's special construction is what makes it so much better at removing contaminants from a surface. Each fabric is made up of millions of polyester and nylon fibers. The polyester fibers have a positive charge, while the nylon fibers have a negative charge. This means that the microfiber attracts grime and dust, effectively removing them.

When you clean your cabinets with a microfiber cloth, fold it into fourths. This will give you multiple fabric sections that you can use to remove gunk from your cabinets. As one area of the cloth gets dirty, you can flip it over or fold it again to provide another clean section for use. If the whole material is soiled, rinse it under warm water for a few seconds to wash away the grime, and continue cleaning.

Use a gentle detergent and warm water to get rid of grime

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The damp microfiber cloth will go a long way in getting your painted cabinets clean. However, there may still be some patches of grime that need some extra TLC. It is still important to avoid harsh cleaners, so you don't risk damaging the paint finish. A gentle cleaning detergent or dish soap can help you tackle greasier splotches. Fill a small bucket with warm water and a small amount of detergent. Grab a clean microfiber cloth and dip it in the soapy mixture. Then, use the material to gently rub the dirty areas of the cabinets.

Soap works well to get rid of oil and grease. As The English Soap Company explains, soap molecules form micelles. The small clusters have a hydrophilic and hydrophobic side. The hydrophilic side, which attracts water, faces out and works to form a shell. The hydrophobic sections, which attract oil, effectively trap grease and oil in the middle of the shell, working to remove it from your surfaces.

Spot clean stubborn stains with vinegar and baking soda

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In many cases, the damp and soapy microfiber cloth will be all you need to keep your cabinets clean, especially if you clean them regularly. Sometimes, however, there may be some more stubborn stains sticking around. Hellamaid shares how effective vinegar and baking soda can be at cleaning surfaces in the home. Not only are they very effective, but they are also natural and much safer to use — both for you and your painted cabinets — than harsh chemicals.

To prepare the cleaning solution, add 2 cups warm water, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 tablespoon baking soda to a bowl and mix the ingredients together. Dip the end of a microfiber cloth into the mixture, and rub it over the stained areas to remove them. You can also apply the solution over stains using a spray bottle and let it sit on more stubborn stains to make them easier to remove.

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Baking soda and vinegar are so effective because of their opposing pH levels. Vinegar, which is acidic, works to break down minerals. Baking soda, which is a base, can dissolve grease, dirt, and other contaminants. Baking soda doesn't scratch surfaces but works like an abrasive cleaning product in many ways.

Clean the glass insets

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Some painted kitchen cabinets may have glass insets. Glass insets can elevate the look of your space and allow you to showcase china, glassware, vases, and more. However, it is very obvious when glass gets dirty with food splatter or fingerprints. This can make the entire space feel less clean. AapkaPainter shares that regular cleaning of the glass insets does more than help keep the kitchen looking nice. It also works to protect the glass against corrosion. When minerals are left to sit on the glass for a long period of time, it can eventually cause the glass to weaken.

The best way to clean glass insets without introducing harmful chemicals into the space is to create a cleaning solution with vinegar and water. The acidic vinegar will help break down dirt and grime, leaving the windows sparkling clean. According to Pella Windows & Doors,a ratio of 10 parts warm water to 1 part distilled vinegar is ideal for cleaning glass and windows.

After you've mixed the solution, spray it on the glass insets. Use a microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime from the surface of the glass. Then, use a second cloth to dry the glass without leaving streaks behind.

Clean the hardware

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Don't overlook the hardware when you're cleaning your painted kitchen cabinets. Think about how often you touch the door knobs and drawer pulls on the cabinets. According to Simply Beautiful Kitchens, this is another cleaning task where vinegar and dish soap will come in handy. Removing the hardware from the cabinets is best to ensure a more thorough cleaning job. In many cases, you'll only need to remove a screw or two to remove the hardware.

Fill a bucket with a 1:1 ratio of distilled white vinegar and warm water. Place the hardware in the solution and let it soak for several hours to loosen any grime. After the hardware has finished soaking, remove it from the bucket and dump the water and vinegar solution. Rinse out the bucket before filling it with warm water and a few teaspoons of mild dish soap. Return the hardware and let it soak for about another hour. Then, use a toothbrush or rag to scrub each piece. Thoroughly rinse each knob or pull and leave everything on a towel to dry. Then return the hardware to the cabinets.

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If your cabinet hardware is made of brass, pewter, copper, or silver, the cleaning instructions will be a bit different. For pewter hardware, you'll want to combine 2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of dish soap, while a cleaning paste made with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice will work best for brass hardware. If your cabinets have silver or copper hardware, combine 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of ammonia. Then, dip a soft rag in the solution and use it to buff the metal until clean and tarnish-free. Follow up with a quick rinse in clean water and then dry the hardware.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners on painted kitchen cabinets

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Abrasive cleaners should not be used to clean painted kitchen cabinets. These cleaning products feature harsh ingredients that could damage the painted finish on your cabinets. Similarly, abrasive scrub pads, like steel wool, should also never be used since they can ruin the finish or scrape the paint.

Angi also notes that some abrasive cleaners are unsafe to use around food. Your cabinets hold plates, drinkware, and other items that will be touching your mouth or your food. Contaminating it with a chemical cleaner could pose potential health or safety risks. Some examples of cleaners to avoid include bleach, paint thinner, silicone-based products, solvents, strong or concentrated detergents, and nail polish remover. Stick with the gentle water and soap mixture recommended above, or some vinegar and baking soda for stubborn stains, and you won't need to worry about accidentally ruining your paint job or tainting your dishes.

How often should you clean kitchen cabinets?

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Zothex shares that your cleaning schedule will vary based on how often you use your kitchen. It shares a sample cabinet cleaning schedule that you can tweak based on its use and your availability. Ideally, the outside of cabinets should be cleaned about twice a month.

The inside of the cabinets aren't likely to get as dirty as the outside, so they don't need to be cleaned as frequently. Aim to clean the inside shelves about every three to five months to remove dust mites, debris, and any bits of food that may have gotten dropped into the cabinets. Before cleaning the inside, empty dishes, glassware, and pantry items. Then, use a microfiber cloth with plain water (and a bit of gentle detergent if needed) to wipe away any grime. Give the shelves time to air dry before returning items to the cabinets.

Other tips for maintenance

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Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Cleaning your painted kitchen cabinets is just one of the many important things you can do to keep them well-maintained. According to Angi, you should also take measures to protect your cabinets from water, heat, and sun damage. Moisture could discolor the wood or result in mold or mildew growth. Using cabinet liners, only putting dry dishes away, and running the exhaust fan to absorb moisture from hot pots can all help to protect the cabinets and their painted finish. Too much direct sun may also pose a threat. To prevent the paint from fading, invest in some blinds or curtains for your kitchen windows.

Repairing small scratches or chips in the cabinet can help keep them looking their best. It can also prevent minor damage from getting bigger. Look for a filler stick at the local hardware store to help you with this task, or use a repair kit (if one came with your cabinets).

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When to repaint

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Taking measures to keep your painted kitchen cabinets clean and well-maintained will help the finish last as long as possible. However, at some point, you will likely need to repaint the doors or drawers or invest in replacements. According to Tom Currren, the paint on professionally painted cabinets can often last between eight and 10 years. After this time, the cabinets will likely need a fresh coat of paint.

While that is the average lifespan, some cabinets may need to be repainted sooner. If they are in a high-traffic area where they are used regularly, you can expect that they'll likely need a new coat of paint after three or four years. The quality of the original painting job will also impact how long it will last. Cabinets painted by a professional painter using high-quality tools and paint will last longer than those painted by a DIYer.



What is the best thing to clean painted cabinets with? ›

Dish soap and warm water, along with a microfiber cloth, is the best solution for cleaning a painted cabinet. Dish soap will effectively remove any food-related grime. Taking a proactive approach to cleaning will prevent a build-up of grime and grease.

How do you clean cabinets without removing paint? ›

The Best Way to Clean Kitchen Cabinets without Removing the Finish. The best way to clean kitchen cabinets, no matter their finish, is with a simple mix of dish soap and warm water. Dish soap is strong enough to clean and degrease your cabinets but gentle enough that it won't remove the finish.

What is the best cleaner for painted wood? ›

No matter the surface, it is easiest to always use a good dish soap and water to dilute it for your cleanser. All-purpose cleaner, wood cleaner, and white vinegar are also suitable alternatives. But if you're not sure and you want to be safe, it is best to stick to good old soap and water!

What is the best and easiest way to clean kitchen cabinets? ›

Mix a 50/50 solution of vinegar and warm water and pour it into a spray bottle. Mist on cabinets, let sit for a minute or two and then wipe clean with a soft cloth. Add a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to the vinegar and water solution to clean extremely grimy cabinets.

What is the best cleaner for painted wooden kitchen cabinets? ›

Wood Cabinets

Like painted cabinets, wooden cabinets need gentle cleaners. Use oil soap to clean and polish your cabinets with a microfiber cloth. Use damp cloths and wipe with the grain. Dilute oil soap with warm water and use a toothbrush to spot-treat stains.

Can you use magic eraser on painted cabinets? ›

Avoid These Cleaners on Painted Cabinets: Magic Eraser or similar sponges, abrasive powder or scrubbing pads, cleaners with abrasive particles, intense detergents, or ammonia oil soap, spray polishes containing silicone, petroleum products, or wax citrus/orange cleaner.

Can you use Dawn dish soap on kitchen cabinets? ›

Whether your cabinets need a quick wipe down or a full-on deep cleaning session, some of the best cleaning supplies are already in your kitchen! Simple solutions of dish soap and water can do wonders for cleaning away grease, splatters, and food messes. Dawn® Platinum makes cleaning kitchen cabinets So Dawn Easy!

Is Murphy oil soap good for kitchen cabinets? ›

Murphy® Oil Soap gets deep into grime to break up dirt particles and it's safe to use on wood products like cabinets.

How do you get grease off painted kitchen cabinets? ›

Create a cleaning solution with 1-part baking soda, 2 parts warm water and the lemon juice. Add the solution to a spray bottle and spray the liquid onto the kitchen cabinets. Leave for 2-3 minutes, allowing the baking soda to work its magic. Use the soft sponge to gently scrub the grease away.

Can you use Dawn on painted wood? ›

Don't use a dishwashing detergent, as this will be too harsh on your painted wood surfaces.

Can you use Murphy oil soap on painted wood? ›

*DO NOT use any cleaners with oils such as Murphy's Oil soap, or that contains essential oils which some all natural cleaners do, the oils will repel the paint!

How do you gently clean painted wood? ›

Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe down the furniture. Your cloth should be damp rather than wet, as a wet cloth could mark the furniture and damage it over the long term it absorbs the moisture.

Can you use Windex to clean kitchen cabinets? ›

Windex® Original Wipes make it easy to add a little sparkle to your kitchen. They are a great stainless steel cleaner for your refrigerator or dishwasher door. And don't forget to touch up the little glass surfaces in your kitchen like the oven door, microwave exterior or glass cabinets.

What can I put on top of my kitchen cabinets to keep them clean? ›

After your cabinet tops are clean, put wax paper on top of them. The wax attracts the dust and grime like a magnet. All you have to do is replace the wax paper a couple times a year and you're good to go.

Why are my cabinets sticky after cleaning? ›

The most common cause of sticky cabinets is built-up grease and grime. Even if you regularly clean your cabinets, a thin greasy layer can accumulate over time. The build-up can become thick and difficult to remove, so you might feel that your cabinets are still sticky after cleaning.

How do you clean kitchen cabinets with Dawn? ›

Dawn recommends adding a few drops of detergent to a bowl of warm water for general cabinet cleaning. For stubborn areas, it says to squirt detergent directly onto a sponge or cloth while holding it under running warm water. Test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area before you commit to cleaning everything.

How do you make painted cabinets shine? ›

To shine up your cabinets, paint a high-gloss clear acrylic varnish over your final coat. This technique will add depth to the color and cover the surface of your kitchen with a glassy sheen.

How to clean wooden kitchen cabinets without removing finish? ›

Mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of water. This mild cleaning solution is perfect for everyday use on wooden cabinets. It won't warp the wood or take off the finish. If you dislike cleaning with vinegar, you can use a light soap solution instead.

What is the best thing to clean white kitchen cabinets with? ›

You should use a proven cleaner and degreaser to clean grease off white kitchen cabinets. A 1 to 2 mix of vinegar and water, diluted Dawn dish soap in hot water, and all-purpose cleaners that are safe on kitchen cabinets can clean dirt and grease off of kitchen cabinets.

What works better than magic eraser? ›

Add 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of Borax and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of baking soda to a bowl. Add the water to the mixture and stir. Place a sponge in the bowl and allow it to soak up the solution. Squeeze out some of the excess and begin scrubbing.

How do you take care of painted cabinets? ›

For best results, use gentle cleaning solutions like two parts warm water and one part dish soap. Alternatively, you can also mix two parts hot water with one part white vinegar to clean your cabinets safely and gently. Don't spray cleaning solution directly onto your cabinets.

Is Pine Sol good for cleaning kitchen cabinets? ›

Dilute ¼ cup of Pine-Sol® in one gallon of warm water. Dampen a sponge in the mixture, wring out so it's just damp to wipe away grease, grime and dirt. Optional: Scrub stubborn messes or stains with full strength Pine-Sol®, using a sponge or soft cloth. Finish by rinsing with water and wipe kitchen cabinets dry.

How much Dawn do I need to clean kitchen cabinets? ›

Medium greasy, dirty

Add a teaspoon or two Blue Dawn to a bowl of warm water. Dip the soft side of a sponge in it. Squeeze the sponge until suds form. Apply to the dirty cabinet working on a small area at a time, wiping the grease with the soft sponge until it is removed.

Do you have to rinse off Murphy's oil soap? ›

Clean well with wrung-out mop, and mop any excess water. No visible residue, no rinsing required.

When should you not use Murphy's oil soap? ›

If you're unsure of your finish, place a drop of water on the surface. If it absorbs the water, it's not finished, and Murphy® Oil Soap should not be used yet. If the droplet beads up, you should still test the product in an inconspicuous area to be sure your floor isn't water-sensitive.

What soap is best for kitchen cabinets? ›

Dish soap

Dish soap is easily the best cabinet degreaser for your kitchen. Most of the build-up on your cabinet doors is grease from cooking or food preparation, and dish soap is specially designed to remove grease from your dishes.

Does vinegar cut grease? ›

Vinegar's acidity helps cut through grease easily. Spray some vinegar and water mix onto a splattered stovetop, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then scrub down with soapy water. It should wipe right off. If not, leave it to sit a bit longer.

How do you restore shine to painted wood? ›

Use a lint-free rag folded into a small square and apply the wax to the rag. Not too much, and no clumps; too much wax will actually dull the surface of your piece. Then, gently rub the wax into the surface of your painted wood furniture, allow it to dry, and then buff with a soft cloth or buffing cloth.

How do you clean sticky wood cabinets? ›

Mix 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of white toothpaste, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Use your finger or a spoon to mix it well. Dip a sponge in the mixture and scrub down your cabinets. Rinse with a damp cloth until all residue is gone.

Is Dawn dish soap hard on paint? ›

Don't use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. These aren't formulated for use on a car's paint and may strip off the protective wax.

Does Murphy's oil soap make wood shine? ›

It is marketed as a wood floor cleaning product that has the ability to both clean and shine your floors. This is a major appeal to many people because it does multiple things at once. It cleans your floor AND leaves it looking shiny again.

Can you mix vinegar and Murphy's oil soap? ›

Using a two sided bucket method (one side soap, one side rinse) or two buckets, mop with 1/2 cup vinegar with a drop of deter- gent or Murphy's Oil Soap mixed with warm water. The clean vinegar odor will go away shortly after the floor dries.

What kind of mop do you use with Murphy's oil soap? ›

When you need to clean up spills, use an absorbent microfiber mop. For heavier cleaning and to restore a durable shine, use a regular microfiber mop and gentle cleaner specifically designed for finished wood floors, such as Murphy® Oil Soap.

Are painted kitchen cabinets hard to keep clean? ›

Because most cabinets are painted with a high-gloss or semi-gloss paint, they will be more durable (and easier to wipe clean) than, say, a matte finish wall paint, but you do want to take care not to use anything so harsh that you end up striping the paint or damaging the finish.

How do you clean paint grade cabinets? ›

How to Clean Painted Cabinets
  1. For an easy, budget-friendly spot cleaner, just mix one part water with two parts baking soda. Dab the paste onto the stain, let sit for a few minutes, and wipe clean. ...
  2. To clean grease off kitchen cabinets, use a cloth dampened with diluted ammonia.
Feb 1, 2023

Will vinegar damage painted cabinets? ›

Avoid Using Vinegar and Olive Oil Mixtures

Vinegar is an excellent all-natural cleaning solution for tough grease stains and grime, but it can also strip the paint and varnish off of your kitchen cabinets.

What is the life expectancy of painted cabinets? ›

Although professionally painted cabinets should last 8-10 years there are a few factors that can drastically impact your cabinet's lifetime, requiring repainting only 3-4 years later. How long your kitchen cabinets will last depends largely on the way the paint was applied, and with what tools.

How often should you clean painted kitchen cabinets? ›

Most experts advise that you do regular maintenance and cleaning of your kitchen cabinets every 3 to 5 months, though you should wipe away cooking residues, food smudges, and other stains from the cabinet surface or faces every week.

What cleans grease off of kitchen cabinets? ›

Soap and Water

Most greasy areas will only need one thing: warm, soapy water. (After all, dish soap was designed to cut through grease!) First, soften the grease on the cabinets with a sponge that's damp with warm water, then clean with a soap-and-water-soaked sponge, toothbrush, or small scrub brush.

Why are my kitchen cabinets sticky after cleaning? ›

The most common cause of sticky cabinets is built-up grease and grime. Even if you regularly clean your cabinets, a thin greasy layer can accumulate over time. The build-up can become thick and difficult to remove, so you might feel that your cabinets are still sticky after cleaning.

Can I use pledge on my kitchen cabinets? ›

Use Pledge® Moisturizing Oil to clean wood kitchen cabinets, windowsills, decorative trim, tables, chairs and more*. Or, get this: You can use it on your leather shoes. Try that on for size. *Safe to use only on finished, sealed surfaces.

Can I use Old English on kitchen cabinets? ›

Makeover your kitchen cabinets with Old English furniture polish. Poor full strength onto a sponge and rub. No rinsing and little effort. Your cabinets will look brand new with little effort.


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