Guide to Keeping Kitchen Cabinets in Top Condition

Guide to Keeping Kitchen Cabinets in Top Condition

Keeping your cabinets in top condition will extend its life, and spare your pocket. In fact, natural wood kitchen cabinets can last indefinitely if you take reasonable care, which includes regular cleaning, polishing, and using mild products to avoid damaging the material.
Cleaning and polishing the wood can also accentuate the inherent beauty and uniqueness of your kitchen cabinets. This is especially true if you opt for hand-wiped natural stains for your cabinets to heighten the sheen and color of the wood.
Maintaining cabinets is easy if you establish a routine. It starts as early as the installation, but the daily attention is the key. This guide to keeping kitchen cabinets in top condition can help you do that.

Newly installed

As soon as you install your new cabinets, you need to give it a good wipe down with a damp cloth followed by a dry one. Make sure you use a motion that goes with the grain of the wood. Once clean, apply a coat of wood polish to the surface, preferably one without wax or silicone. This will help protect your spanking new cabinets from small scratches, stains, and moisture.

Cleaning regimen

It is not necessary to clean your cabinets every day. However, if you cook regularly, the greasy residue and grime can build up quite quickly. If you see your cabinets looking a bit dull or worse for wear, wipe it down with warm water using a soft cloth.
You will probably have to do this every two weeks. If the buildup resists warm water, dilute some dish-washing soap with the water and use that. Go with the grain of the wood at all times, including when using a dry cloth to remove any lingering moisture.

If you only get to clean your cabinet surfaces occasionally, the buildup might be much tougher to remove. If this is the case, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub that on stubborn stains and grime to remove them. You can also use a white vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle, especially if the grime is sticky. Leave it on for a few minutes to loosen the dirt before rinsing it off with clean water and a soft cloth.

Check the products you use to clean or polish your cabinets. Avoid products with the following ingredients:
 Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)
 Isopropyl acetone (nail polish remover)
 Methyl ethyl ketone
 Citric acid

Also avoid the following implements:
 Plastic brushes
 Scouring pads
 Steel wool

Repair tips

If you have noticeable nicks and scratches on your cabinets, you can touch them up to make them less noticeable. Products are available for all types of touch-ups, from scratch covers and removers to conditioners. A nifty product for removing small scratches on wood is the Zenith Tibet Almond Stick Scratch Remover, which lasts for many years. Check online for the type of repair you need for your cabinets.

Maintenance tips

People say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping your cabinets in top condition with very little effort requires a bit of forward thinking and common sense. Here are some tips you can follow.

Keep it dry

If you spill something inside or on the surface of the cabinets, clean them up immediately. This is especially important if the spill tends to stain, such as oils, tea, or coffee. Use a damp sponge or cloth to clean the surface and dry it immediately.
If the cabinets are in or near areas of the sink or cook top, you are sure to have some excessive moisture on your cabinets. These will mostly be water, but they can still damage the cabinet finish. Dry these off immediately as well.
Never dry anything wet by hanging it on a cabinet door.

Keep it cool and steady

Kitchens and bathrooms are often subject to fluctuations in heat and moisture, which can cause wood damage over time. If it is at all possible, control the humidity and temperature of these rooms to avoid sharp rises and falls that can cause the wood to contract or swell. This can lead to permanent warping and damage of the wood. Eventually, you will have to replace the cabinets if this happens frequently.

Keep it shaded

While wood is a natural product that can weather the elements quite well, the finishes and veneers of cabinets tend to react unfavorably to direct sunlight. It might damage or fade the finishes and ruin the look of your cabinet. To be on the safe side, keep cabinets away from direct sunlight. Use curtains or blinds to protect them during the day, if necessary.

Keep it gentle

Strong chemicals might make it easier to clean tough dirt, but they can also create more problems. Stick to gentle or mild cleaners and avoid anything that contains the chemicals listed above.

Keep it creamy

Furniture polish comes in many forms. Avoid self-polishing waxes, which can build up on your cabinets. Use only good quality cream polish on you cabinets and other wood furniture. You can find these online or in furniture stores.

Keep it smooth

Putting a coat of furniture polish on cabinets can help minimize scratches. However, you can also help by using only soft cloths and sponges when cleaning the surface. Do not use anything abrasive that will scratch the finish.


Caring for your cabinets is not rocket science if you follow this guide, so it should be easy for most homeowners. This should encourage you to go for those new kitchen cabinets you always wanted.

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