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Cleaning Cabinet Doors

If you’re like most people, cleaning cabinet doors isn’t something you do regularly. That’s totally fine, but you should make a point to clean them occasionally, at least yearly. A good cleaning refreshes the look of the cabinets, wiping away dust, dirt, grease, grime, and a lot of fingerprints. It also makes your cabinets (something you touch every day) more sanitary and helps preserve the wood and finish for longer. Just as important as cleaning cabinet doors regularly is cleaning them correctly. The wrong products can damage your cabinets, whereas the right products will provide a deep but safe clean.

Before you start cleaning

It’s tempting to start cleaning with whatever product you happen to have under the sink. This is risky, though, because you could do a lot of unintentional damage to your cabinet doors and the cabinets themselves. Avoid harsh cleaners designed to dissolve built-up residues because even though they may get the grease off, they’re also likely to take some of the finish off too. You will also want to avoid abrasive scrubbing tools like a stiff-bristle brush or stainless-steel pad that will do more scrapping than cleaning. In general, you want to use mild cleaning products and gentle scrubbing tools.

Staying on top of maintenance

Before we get into cleaning cabinet doors, we want to emphasize the importance of routine maintenance. Performing a few minutes of upkeep each month is a lot easier than deep cleaning all your cabinets on a yearly basis. Prevent grime from building up by lightly dusting or wiping the cabinet doors every few weeks. Become proactive about wiping up stains and splatters on the doors as soon as they happen. Finally, help preserve your doors by moving your coffee pot or pressure cooker so that steam is not billowing onto the doors. The excess moisture can warp the wood and help to trap dust and dirt against the surface.

Best products to clean cabinet doors

The good news is that the best products to clean cabinet doors are probably in your house right now. And if they’re not, you can find them easily at a low cost. Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Dish soap – We have been building cabinet doors for over 40 years, and in all that time the best cleaning product we’ve ever found is grease-fighting dish soap. Most of the build-up on your cabinet doors is grease anyway, so the product that degreases your dishes is also ideal for your cabinets. Squirt a small amount of dish soap into a large bowl or bucket before filling with warm water and you have a powerful solution for cleaning every inch of your cabinet doors.
  2. Vinegar – If your cabinets have a thicker, stickier residue on them, you may need something acidic like vinegar to cut through it. Mix a small amount of vinegar with a large amount of water in a spray bottle, and then mist it onto the cabinet surface. This solution is also great for cleaning metal door hardware, which is also important to clean periodically. It’s good at cleaning stainless steel for the same reasons, so try using it on your appliances if you’re ready to deep clean the whole kitchen.
  3. Baking soda – You can tackle the toughest stains, like splattered tomato sauce, with a paste made from baking soda and water. Apply it to the problem area with an old toothbrush and scrub the area lightly. Then rinse with water and clean the area with a dish soap solution if necessary.
  4. Microfiber cloths – Rags, old towels, or paper products are all fine to use, but the best products for cleaning cabinet doors are microfiber cloths. They will not damage the wood or the finish, but they are also great at picking up dust and other debris. Don’t hesitate to use something besides a microfiber cloth, but if you have some on hand your cabinets will appreciate it.

These products will work for any kind of cabinet door regardless of how it is finished. That means sealant, stain, and paint will all stand up to the products listed above. There are other products you can use for cleaning, but they may not be safe for all types of cabinet doors, which is why we recommend that you use the options outlined here.

Techniques for cleaning cabinet doors

Using the right cleaning product is half the equation, and using the right cleaning technique is the other half. It’s generally easier to apply your cleaning solution directly to your cloth rather than the cabinet itself. Start at the top of the cabinet and work your way down, wiping back and forth from side to side. Be sure to get into the grooves and crevices if your doors have a lot of detail, and don’t neglect the side of the doors either. Once complete, wipe the doors again with a moist cloth, then go back one more time with a dry cloth to remove any moisture. If you have cabinet doors with glass, apply a standard glass cleaner to a clean cloth and wipe carefully.

When cleaning cabinet doors is not enough

Cabinet doors wear out with time even if you are diligent about cleaning. If you get through cleaning and decide that your doors still don’t look great, maybe it’s time to replace them. The Door Stop has hundreds of styles to choose from along with multiple finish options. We also custom-build each door to your specifications so that it fits your existing cabinet perfectly. If your kitchen, bathroom, or office needs more than a deep clean, consider replacement cabinet doors. Take some time to explore our selection before learning about our easy ordering process. If you have questions at any point, please email us at