Best Ways to Clean Kitchen Cabinets – Jim Marrazzo

Jim Marrazzo, Designer at Kitchen Views in Newton, MA
Clients often ask how to take care of their new cabinetry. It’s a good question, and there are several things to consider. Wood reacts to environmental changes, such as moisture, temperature and light. The tips below should help you to preserve your wooden cabinetry as well as any other wood products you may have in your home.Humidity Control is Important with Wood Products The wood products in cabinets, based on fine furniture industry standards, are conditioned to 5%-8% moisture content at the factory. The woodworking industry recommends that room environments in the comfort zone of 70 degrees F be maintained at a relative humidity range of 25%-55% for wood products.

As the relative humidity in a room increases, wood will gain moisture and expand. Wood loses moisture and contracts as relative humidity goes down in a home environment. This natural expansion and contraction of hardwoods can at times become visible at the joints of doors and frame components. Finish stress lines at joints are more visible on painted finishes. This natural characteristic of wood can be expected in a normal home conditioned throughout the year between the 25-55% relative humidity range and is not considered a defect.

The more a home’s relative humidity is allowed to exceed 55% the more its wood products will expand to the point of wood failure at extreme moisture levels. Wood failure possibilities include splits, cracks and wood joint expansion and separation. Inset door expansion becomes noticeable with high humidity conditions. If significant expansion occurs, the doors will rub against the cabinet frame as they are opened and closed. Low relative humidity environments can cause wood to shrink and create cracks and related noticeable characteristics. Moisture content expansion and contraction of wood is a natural occurrence and is not a defect and therefore is not warranted. Moisture related problems can be minimized by maintaining relative humidity in the 25%-55% range for the home’s comfort zone of 70 degrees F.

NOTE: Sunlight’s Effect on Wood & Wood Finishes. Wood and wood finishes tend to gradually mellow when exposed to light. Excessive direct sunlight can have a more dramatic effect.

Best Ways to Clean Wood Kitchen Cabinets

DO NOT use abrasive cleansers or pads on cabinet surfaces! They can cause scratches. On laminate cabinetry, scratches may be irreparable! Keep cabinet surfaces dry and free from standing liquids.

For cabinets with stained finishes: Use a soft cloth and a mild soapy water solution to remove the dirt & grease. Rinse immediately with a clean cloth and dry with a clean soft cloth, using light pressure. Avoid vigorous rubbing, as this tends to raise glossy spots, marring the original effect. Never use strong soaps, detergents or liquid wax cleaners with dirt cutting agents on wood finishes. I suggest a mild mixture two cups of water and two teaspoons of liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle.

With opaque painted and matte finishes: NEVER use waxes on opaque or matte finishes! Simply wipe them clean using a soft cloth with a mild soapy water solution. Rinse immediately after with a clean damp cloth and dry with a soft cloth. CAUTION: Avoid vigorous rubbing as this tends to raise glossy spots, marring the original effect.

Best Ways to Clean Other Types of Kitchen Cabinets

To clean stainless steel cabinets, use a stainless steel cleaner. Be sure to follow the directions that accompany the cleaner. Never use acids, solvents or abrasive cleaners that would damage the surface and overall appearance.

For plastic laminate cabinets, clean with a mild soapy water solution, rinse and wipe dry using a soft cloth. If necessary, you can remove stubborn stains with a grease-cutting agent. Clean afterward with a mild soapy water solution, rinse and wipe dry.

For cabinets with metallic laminates or insert panels: Do not use abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, powders, sandpaper or steel wool, as these products will permanently damage the surface and appearance! Acids, solvents, alkaline or ammonia-based cleaners or other liquids (other than mild soap and water) may etch, oxidize or otherwise damage the surface and appearance.

To remove fingerprints, oil or sugar-based stains: Use a mild (diluted) liquid dish detergent and a soft damp cotton cloth. Clean in the direction of the metal grain, pattern or texture; avoid harsh rubbing. Rinse and remove any residual moisture with a clean, dry cotton cloth.

This is only a basic guide. If you have any questions or problems, contact your kitchen specialist. One of our Kitchen Views team will be happy to speak with you about any cabinetry questions you may have.

Jim Marrazzo
Kitchen Views at National Lumber

15 Needham St, Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020 x 118 phone
617-969-7426  fax

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