Dennis Serge: How to Clean Wood Cabinets

Dennis Serge, Designer at Kitchen Views in Mansfield, MA

“Milder is Better: How to Clean Wood Cabinetry” by Dennis Serge

I am frequently asked about the best method to clean wood cabinetry. It’s really quite simple. Although there are commercial products available over the counter, most manufacturers recommend using a clean, damp cloth with a mild solution of dish-washing soap and warm water. Then rinse with a separate clean damp cloth and wipe dry. The emphasis here is on the word ‘mild’. Too strong a solution may dull or discolor the cabinet finish. If you elect to use a commercial cleaner, check to make sure the ingredients do not include ammonia or bleach as they can potentially damage the cabinet finish.

If something spills on your cabinets or they are splattered from cooking, it should be cleaned up immediately. But, again, use a soft clean cloth. Do not try to wipe up using a sponge or a dish towel because they are likely to contain grease or food particles that could harm the finish. Never attempt to clean your cabinets with any abrasive products, scouring cleansers or pads. Also, avoid any harsh chemicals or mineral spirits.

Cleaning cabinet with soft cloth

Finally, sometimes the question will come up about waxing or polishing wood cabinetry. The answer is it’s not necessary and not recommended. These products, especially furniture polish, may provide a nice look when first applied, but after numerous applications they result in a waxy build up on the surface. This causes a hazy, dull appearance and can be extremely difficult to remove.

So, when cleaning your wood cabinets the cardinal rule is “milder is better”. If you always take care to use the mildest possible solution to clean your cabinets, the finish will remain beautiful for many years to come.

Dennis Serge
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple Street, Mansfield, MA 02048
Tel.: 508-339-8020  Ext. 5617
Fax: 508-261-6426

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