How to Clean Wood Kitchen Cabinets


When it’s time to clean our kitchens, chances are we concentrate on things like the sticky floor, the greasy stove, and the smudgy stainless-steel appliances. The average person probably doesn’t spend nearly as much time thinking about the cleanliness of their wood kitchen cabinets as they do about other items and materials in their kitchen. But because kitchen cabinets take up the bulk of your space, and because they are your most expensive kitchen-related investment, you should take time to clean your wood kitchen cabinets thoroughly so as to extend their life span.

But how do you do it? What’s the right way to clean these cabinets so that the finish isn’t affected? How can you best make your wood kitchen cabinets look like new, even if they’ve been around for a while?

How to Clean Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Suggestions on how to clean wood kitchen cabinets

In reality, high-quality kitchen cabinets can last up to 50 years when cared for properly. Otherwise, you can expect to be replacing them in 15-20 years or sooner. And with kitchen cabinet replacement totalling about 60-70 percent of most kitchen renovation projects, it pays to take time to learn how to best clean your wood kitchen cabinets.

If you love your kitchen, it makes sense to care for your cabinets as well as your floors, countertops, and more. If you lead a busy lifestyle, you might wonder when you’ll have time to do that. However, the process isn’t that complicated and cleaning your wood kitchen cabinets shouldn’t have to eat up lots of your time.

  • General cleaning – “General cleaning” refers to occasional cleaning that isn’t going to take lots of time. If you do this fairly often, you’ll only need to deep clean your cabinets a few times per year.

For general cleaning, a vinegar and water solution is often recommended. It’s mild, kind to the environment, and nearly everyone has a bottle of vinegar  around the house. Merely mix a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar with hot water and put it in a spray bottle. When you’re ready to start, make sure it’s thoroughly mixed and then lightly spray each cabinet. There’s no need to soak them. Too much water is not good for the wood. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe off the solution with a clean rag or microfiber cloth.


If your cabinets are pretty greasy or grimy and you don’t have time for a deep cleaning, try using dish detergent instead of vinegar. Two parts hot water to 1 part soap is generally a good mixture. Or you can add just a few drops of soap to the vinegar solution and achieve a similar result. Then wipe the cabinets dry with a clean cloth.


General cleaning should address the majority of surface dirt and should also help your wood kitchen cabinets look shinier, especially if you take a few minutes to buff while you’re wiping off the cleaning solution.

  • Deep cleaning – A few times each year – maybe during your spring and fall cleaning regimens – you can undertake a deep cleaning of your wood kitchen cabinets. This will really allow you to address grease, dirt, stains, and more.

There are a few different methods to try. One is to mix salt with vinegar until it becomes a thick paste. Using a toothbrush, apply a small amount of the paste to any stained areas or spots that seem to have a build-up of grease. Scrub gently so as not to ruin the finish. Next, rinse off the paste with a little clean water (not too much) and then dry the area.

You can also make a similar paste with baking soda and water and receive the same excellent results. Another suggestion is to merely put baking soda on a wet sponge and then gently scrub the trouble spots. Again, be careful not to use a rag or brush that’s too abrasive or you’ll mar the finish of your wood kitchen cabinets.

Finally, a mixture of vegetable oil and vinegar (a 50/50 mix) lightly applied to cabinets can help avoid future stains. After applying it, rub it in with a clean cloth and then buff it until you see a shine.

At, we’re eager to help you properly care for our high-quality cabinets. Whether you’re replacing or refacing, there’s no reason your cabinets shouldn’t last for decades. For more tips on caring for your wood kitchen cabinets, talk to our experts.


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