How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets without Removing the Finish

Cleaning kitchen cabinets isn’t a big part of most people’s cleaning routine, so by the time you get around to washing them, there’s a lot of dust and grease to remove.

The good thing is, cleaning kitchen cabinets is easy. All you need is a mild cleaner and a soft cloth. 

How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets without Removing the Finish

If you’re ready for your cabinets to shine, here’s the best way to clean them without removing the finish.

What to Do Before Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets

No matter the cleaner you use, spot-test it first. Some cleaners can remove the stain or paint from your cabinet door.

To spot-test your cabinets, pick a corner or area that’s not noticeable. Then, use a white cloth to wipe the cabinets with your cleaner. The cleaner is too harsh if paint or stain transfers to the cloth.

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. 

Here’s what to do:

  • Fill your sink or a large bowl with warm water
  • Add a few drops of dish soap and give the mixture a swirl
  • Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution and wring out excess moisture
  • Wipe down your kitchen cabinets from top to bottom

If an area won’t come clean, add a drop of dish soap to your rag and give the spot a light scrub.

Can You Clean Kitchen Cabinets with Vinegar?

Vinegar is good at deodorizing and removing dirt. So it’s helpful in cleaning cabinets with layers of gunk. But on some cabinets, vinegar will remove the stain or paint, so test it first.

And since vinegar is acidic, it’s not ideal for frequent cabinet cleanings. The high amounts of acetic acid can eat through the topcoat, leaving your cabinetry looking dull.

If you still want to clean your cabinets with vinegar, fill a spray bottle with half-white distilled vinegar and half warm water. Spray the cabinet and then wipe it clean with a soft cloth. There’s no need to rinse with water afterward.

Can You Clean Kitchen Cabinets with a Multipurpose Cleaner?

A gentle multi-surface cleaner is as effective as using dish soap. The best all-purpose cleaners for kitchen cabinets are PH neutral, which you can find in plant-derived brands like Mrs. Meyer’s, Method, and Better Life.

To clean your cabinets with an all-purpose cleaner, spray the cabinet and wipe it clean with a soft cloth. 

If you’re using a multipurpose cleaning concentrate, dilute it with water first.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Why are my cabinets sticky after I clean them?

If you’ve wiped away all the grease and grime from your cabinets and they’re still sticky, there are two possible explanations. First, your cabinets have been exposed to heat, affecting the top coat. Second, the cleaner you used is too strong and left behind a residue.

How do you clean the inside of cabinets?

To clean the inside of your cabinets, remove all dishes. Then, vacuum the crumbs and wipe the interior using a soft cloth dipped in dish soap and water.

What’s the best way to clean cabinet trim?

The best way to clean cabinet trim is with dish soap, water, and a soft microfiber cloth. Dish soap will remove dirt and grease without hurting the trim’s finish.

Can I clean my kitchen cabinets with 409?

409 cuts through grease and disinfects but is too harsh for kitchen cabinets. Use a more mild cleaner instead.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your kitchen cabinets doesn’t have to be complicated. A gentle cleaner is the best way to go. You can add extra dish soap to areas that won’t come clean; otherwise, a wipe-down with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth every month will keep your cabinets in great shape.

If you want to use a stronger cleaner, test it first. Some cleaners will remove the finish of the cabinet, which is a significant risk if you have older cabinets and the top coat is no longer intact.