7 Cleaners That Can Handle the Greasiest Spot in Your Kitchen

published Jul 28, 2021
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Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Kitchn

Grease is sneaky. You griddle stovetop burgers on Saturday, fry up some bacon on Sunday and think nothing of it. Then, all of a sudden, after countless meals, you look at your cabinets and realize they’re filthy! Covered with a dark, sticky film of grease. How did it get there? And more importantly, what can you do about it?!

Your first line of defense against grease? When it comes to keeping your wooden cabinets nice and clean, it’s really all about preventing the mess in the first place (hello, splatter screens!). If you’re too late, we’ve got some top tips on how to clean greasy cabinets.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tried-and-true methods for cleaning your greasy kitchen, one cabinet at a time.

Soap and Water

Most greasy areas will only need one thing: warm, soapy water. (After all, dish soap was designed to cut through grease!) First, soften the grease on the cabinets with a sponge that’s damp with warm water, then clean with a soap-and-water-soaked sponge, toothbrush, or small scrub brush. To avoid leftover residue (which could attract more grime), finish by drying with a dish towel.

For what it’s worth, this works well with painted wood cabinets, too (see: How To Clean Painted Wood Cabinets).

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Baking Soda 

For older or more stubborn stains, grab some baking soda and a scrub brush. After wetting your brush with warm water, add a little baking soda, then scrub away on the cabinets. Follow with a damp, warm cloth to remove the residue. Not only will the baking soda cut through the grease, but it’s also non-abrasive, so it won’t harm your wooden cabinets. 

Credit: Cat Meschia

Distilled White Vinegar

Heavy grease stains also respond well to vinegar, another trusted kitchen cleaner. Because white vinegar contains natural acids, it’ll break down the grease without leaving residue behind. Here’s how to use it: First, take a washcloth or paper towel and soak it in undiluted vinegar. Wipe down the greasy section on your cabinet, and let the vinegar do its work for 10 or 15 minutes. When your timer goes off, loosen the grease by taking a damp sponge to the surface, then take a water-soaked washcloth and wipe down the buildup. 

Credit: Cat Meschia

Homemade Castile Soap Spray

Fill a 32-ounce spray bottle with a cup of white vinegar, a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, a tablespoon of baking soda, and if you’re into fragrance, a few drops of lavender or lemon essential oil. Then fill the remainder of the bottle with warm water, up to the neck. Shake the bottle and then spray and wipe as you work.

Credit: Amazon

Magic Cabinet & Wood Cleaner

Store-bought cleaners aren’t out of the question — even if you have painted cabinets. We like this spray-bottle formula, Magic Cabinet & Wood Cleaner, which is thicker than other products, for cleaning cabinet crevices, like hardware edges or the details of your cabinet faces. Simply spray and wipe all cabinet surfaces, including the inside. 

Credit: Amazon

Method All-Purpose Spray

If you’d rather buy an all-purpose cleaner than one specific for cabinets, Method is a great naturally derived and biodegradable option. Just keep in mind that, for grease stains, you’ll need to let the spray sit a little longer — and potentially scrub a little harder — because it’s a less powerful and targeted formula. Follow the same instructions as above, or, for harder-to-remove spots, start with soap and water or follow with baking soda. 

Credit: Cat Meschia

Murphy’s Oil Soap

For a clean that’s equally cost-effective and stain-effective, we fell in love with Murphy’s Oil Soap, which has been a cleaning mainstay for more than a century. Not only does it cut through grease better than other cleaning products, but it also leaves a silky-smooth finish on cabinet surfaces. If you go this route and have painted cabinets, pay attention to the formula you choose. 

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Kitchn

How do you clean up grease from your kitchen cabinets?

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The Best Ways to Clean Greasy Wooden Cabinets