Home Improvement

How to Take Care of Your Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Wooden kitchen cabinets are a timeless example of beauty and functionality. But like any porous surface, they need regular upkeep to stay looking their best. You can’t just leave them to fend for themselves! What do you want your kitchen to look like, an abandoned shack or a finely appointed country home?

In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to clean and maintain your wooden cabinets. And let me preemptively nip one potential question in the bud: no, you don’t need to seal wood cabinets. Doing so will defeat the purpose of caring for them! Sealers may make cabinets look new, but they also block moisture from their pores before it can evaporate and protect your cabinets from the elements.

To clean and maintain your wooden cabinets, here are 10 tips

Use a Cleaner Specially Formulated for Wood Surfaces

Just like you wouldn’t use Windex on your granite countertop or bathroom fixtures, you shouldn’t use a substance designed for another type of material on your wooden cabinets! You risk staining or otherwise damaging them if you do. 

Make Sure Your Cabinet Is Rinseable

Cleaning your cabinets does not mean you’re dirtying up a pristine surface. If it was previously clean, it can still be completely free of dust and grime. 

Wipe Down Wooden Cabinets with Warm Water and a Soft Cloth

Warm water is key here. It allows the cleaner to better penetrate the surface and wipe away dirt and debris more effectively; this will also help cut down on the amount of time necessary for your regular cleaning regimen. Use a soft cloth, preferably an old t-shirt (low-quality cleaning products can actually damage surfaces and make them harder to clean). 

Rinse Your Cabinets

The goal here is to remove as much dirt and grime from the cabinets as possible. The water from your rinsing will also dilute some of the cleaner, should it have somehow stained or damaged your wooden surfaces. 

Dampen a Soft Cloth with Clean Water

You don’t want to wring out your rag; you want the cloth’s dampness to remain in its pores for maximum cleaning effectiveness. Sometimes, you may want to create a separate “soak” bucket with clean water, rinsing your rag into it once between loads of dirt. 

Use Your Cleaner on the Cabinets

You can also use your cleaner on the cabinets themselves. Most cleaners will have a specific application pad for this purpose, for example included in the cleaner’s “laundry” bag or hung on the back of your cabinet doors. 

Avoid Touching Stains and Spots Where There Are No Seams to Clean

A common mistake is to use a rag or towel to wipe away marks from an area where there are no seams or edges that could be lifted off by hand. It’s a waste of time and effort! Instead, follow the rings around the spot after wiping it down. 

Wipe Down All Surfaces Regularly

If you’ve ever left a wooden surface that looked clean but actually had a layer of filth on it, you know how quickly it can get dirty again. One good wipedown is usually not enough. 

Always Clean Your Cabinets Before Remodeling or Painting Them

Painting over dirty cabinets will only make them look dirtier, especially if there are thin coats of grim built up over time. 

Use a Cleaning Product Made for Wooden Surfaces

Ideally, you can switch to a cleaning product formulated for wooden surfaces. They’re designed to be kind to the wood and able to clean it effectively. But if you’re using an extremely stubborn cleaner, only use something made for wooden surfaces.  

Final thoughts

You don’t have to go all out and buy only special cleaners for your wooden kitchen cabinets. A regular cleaner will suit the job, if you pay careful attention to how well you’re cleaning the surfaces.

As you can see, caring for your wooden kitchen cabinets is not difficult! You just need to keep in mind that they are beautiful and functional pieces of furniture. Playing it safe will ensure that they last a lifetime! 

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