Caring for Wood Kitchen Cabinets: 6 Essential Tips

Holmes Cabinet Specialties, LLC is a Premium Custom Cabinet Maker Serving Beaumont, Houston & Surrounding Areas in Southeast texas.

Upgrade to high-end, custom wooden kitchen cabinets by calling Holmes Cabinet Specialties at (409) 543-2706 for a free estimate in Beaumont, Houston, and the surrounding areas in Southeast Texas.

Wood kitchen cabinets are a sleek, timeless design that can elevate your space, increase your home’s value, and make cooking feel like a luxurious experience. If you’re considering wood cabinets for your renovation project but are unsure about the maintenance and cleaning requirements, you’ve come to the right place.

At Holmes Cabinet Specialties, Houston’s custom cabinet makers, we’re sharing these six tips to help you understand how to clean wood kitchen cabinets so you can help your kitchen look brand new for many years to come.

1. Learn the Wood Cabinet Basics First

Before you clean wood kitchen cabinets, you need to understand how the material works. Wood cabinets are naturally porous, which means they would absorb water, oils, dirt, grime, and other substances if they didn’t have a protective barrier. Because of this, finished wood cabinetry always has a non-porous finished surface to protect the wood underneath from moisture and other unwanted contaminants.

The most important thing to keep in mind when your clean wood kitchen cabinets is protecting the cabinet surface. Whatever cleaning products you choose should be safe across the entire surface of your wooden cabinets.

2. Clean Up Spills Immediately

Keeping your cabinets dry and regularly removing built-up grime and food particles can help you stay on top of your cleaning schedule. If you spill a few drops of vegetable oil or food splatters on a kitchen cabinet, use our cleaning instructions below to remove the stain before it seeps in:

  • Begin with a clean towel: Use a microfiber cloth or soft, wet sponge rather than an abrasive brush to protect the cabinet coating. Use a damp cloth to gently scrub the solution in using a circular motion with light pressure.
  • Use mild detergent: Use a mild, diluted grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn mixed with warm water and applied with a soft cloth. Avoid any multi-purpose cleaner products with abrasive additives or unnecessary fresh scent fillers. You may see that some recommend a vinegar solution, though we found that such homemade cleaners can dissolve the necessary wax buildup on your new cabinets.
  • Wipe clean once done: Your cabinets may get wet during the final rinse when you apply hot water to remove the soap. Be sure to dry all wet areas with a microfiber cloth to prevent over-saturation.

3. Know What to Avoid

We mentioned a few wood cleaner products and tools you should avoid above, though quite a few others can wreak havoc on your cabinet doors. Here are a few more products you should avoid when keeping your cabinets clean:

  • Kitchen cabinet polishes and waxes
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Carnauba wax
  • Abrasive sponges and brushes

Polishes and waxes can create a film as if you have clear-painted cabinets, causing more grease and grime to build up in the future, making the cleaning process more of a hassle down the line. You might see DIY cleaning recommendations with olive oil, which may temporarily work but can spoil in a few years, compromising the wood’s finish.

4. Base Your Cleaning Solution Off Your Type of Stain

The type of stain you have will dictate the cleaning solution you should use. While liquid dishwashing detergent may work as a catch-all, we recommend the following for more specific issues:

  • Fingerprints: Use an oil-based soap, like Murphy Oil Soap (wood furniture solution). Shake the product to keep the oil mixed in.
  • Water stains: Dab white toothpaste or mayonnaise on the stain to remove it, and use distilled water instead of hard tap water to prevent stains in the future.
  • Food residue: Create a thick paste of water and two parts baking soda and apply it with an old toothbrush. Test the baking soda in a small area first.
  • Spills or drips: Mix an oil-based soap with warm water in a small bowl and apply with a toothbrush or clean cloth.

Be careful with baking soda, as it can be harsh and abrasive on your solid wood cabinets. If you want to try the solution, test it on a small area inside your cabinets first. We also recommend that you wear rubber gloves while cleaning to protect your hands.

5. Regularly Clean to Remove Grease from Cabinet Surfaces

We typically recommend cleaning your kitchen cabinets on the following schedule to keep them looking brand new for as long as possible:

  • Spot cleaning immediately after spills
  • Quick spraying and wiping once per week
  • Deep cleaning once per season

You can use the immediate spill clean-up steps above for your weekly and seasonal cleaning of all your cabinets. Use a spray bottle for easier application.

Typically, the best grease layer cleaner for a grimy cabinet is Dawn or other mild dish soaps, though you may also try an all-purpose cleaner.

The difference between a weekly quick clean and a deep clean is how in-depth you scrub and clean each surface. For example, you may quickly wipe the doors each week, then spend time scrubbing each wall and interior surface a few times per year.

6. Regularly Clean the Insides of the Wood Cabinets

Keeping the insides of each cabinet clean is just as important as the outside. Keep these best practices in mind:

  • Remove everything from the inside of the cabinet
  • Throw away or donate what you don’t need
  • Sweep out large crumbs and debris
  • Follow our basic cleaning steps from above using a mild detergent
  • Replace your products

Upgrade Your Kitchen Cabinets Today

At Holmes Cabinet Specialties, we provide high-end, soft-closing wood cabinets in a variety of luxury woods, paints, and stains. We only offer custom cabinets, and we provide a one-year warranty on all work.

Learn when to replace kitchen cabinets, then call our team at Holmes Cabinet Specialties at (409) 543-2706 to schedule a free estimate for your custom wood kitchen cabinets in Beaumont, Houston, or the surrounding areas in Southeast Texas.

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With over 500+ completed projects, we have what it takes to create your dream kitchen, bathroom, closet, or office space.

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