How To Wash Your Kitchen Cabinets

updated Nov 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

No matter how careful of a cook you might be, the “splatter” struggle is real. Food stuffs, especially grease, make it their business to find the most remote, unthinkable surfaces to cling to in your clean kitchen. Even if they don’t look dirty, bacteria and food particles from your hands can cling to the surface of your cabinets and cause a sticky residue to build up.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It’s always a good idea to clean as you go, but should you forget to wipe down your cabinets after an intensive, mulit-ingredient meal, those food particles (and bacteria, yuck!) can build up and cause a gummy, dirty mess on your cabinets.

I tackled regular ‘ol grime and tough, caked on grease on my cabinets with two of my favorite green-cleaning methods and was really impressed with the results. While there are numerous all-purpose cleaners you can buy for this project, I made mine with the ingredients I already had in the pantry and was very satisfied with the end results.

What You Need


  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
  • Baking soda
  • Wash rag or cleaning toothbrush


(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

For basic dirt and grime I used a combination of liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Combine about a tablespoon of dish soap with about a half cup of warm water. Swish a toothbrush or clean rag around in the water to mix up the soap, then use it to scrub down your kitchen cabinets.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

With a toothbrush or rag, clean under the hardware on your cabinets (you might want to remove any hardware you can if that is a possibility!), work your way out around the hardware to the edges of the cabinets. The area around the hardware will need to most attention, but don’t forget to wipe down the sides, insides and entire front door of the cabinet as well. Rinse with warm water.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Just about every new apartment we’ve moved into we’ve had to degrease some part of the kitchen cabinets before using them. It’s not the most fun chore, its actually really gross, but the sooner you do it the better! The longer you wait, the more grime will build up.

If your dishwashing detergent doesn’t work, you can use something a bit more abrasive, like baking soda. This next recipe can be used in almost any way Goo Gone can be used.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Pour about 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a small dish and add cooking oil until you achieve a paste. You’re looking for a slightly runny paste, but not so runny that it slides off the cabinet doors. I ended up using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cooking oil in my mixture.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Dip a cleaning brush in the mixture and start scrubbing those cabinets! The worst, most caked on stains can usually be found on the bottom of the cabinet, directly above the countertop, so don’t forget to look there!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

After you’ve scrubbed down the cabinets, rinse off any leftover residue with a clean, wet rag.

More great tips and tutorials: Cleaning Basics