8 Ways to Clean Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Do you have kitchen cabinets with dust and grease everywhere? Not sure of the best way to clean them?

I recently moved in with my partner and while his kitchen is perfectly clean, I opened the cabinets and was astounded at the mess. There were years of grime and cooking grease everywhere.

That’s not where I want to put away my sparkling clean dishes! So, I started searching for a solution for how to clean kitchen cabinets even when they have caked-on muck.

In this article, I will share with you 8 ways myself and others have found great for cleaning your kitchen cabinets.

Trust me, no matter how bad your cabinets are, these will work because I’ve used most of them myself!

Light Cleaning

Getting rid of dust is a lot easier than cleaning off grease. Dust tends to be lighter and therefore easier to remove.

However, you’ll want to do more than just dust your cabinets as cleaning products can provide an extra deep clean.

1. Simple Remedy

Clean Kitchen Cabinets with dish soap

Let’s start with one of the obvious remedies – cleaning with water and dishwashing liquid. It is recommended more for light cleaning, as the article linked states. I would have to agree with this as it helped me out in some dusty areas but was useless on grease.


  • Warm water
  • Dish soap

How to do it:

Simply grab a fresh cloth, dip in the warm water and squirt on some dish soap. Wipe away dust and easy to remove dirt. Be aware, it won’t do much more than that. If you’re looking for a solution to heavy-duty dirt, keep reading.

2. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinet by Removing Marks and Stains

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinet by Removing Marks and Stains

This remedy is best used after already cleaning your cabinets in order to get rid of marks such as scrapes, crayon or markers. Use this remedy if your child has been drawing on your cabinets or there are a lot of dark marks from dishes scraping on them.


  • Mr Clean Magic Eraser

I didn’t need to use one of these as I didn’t have any particular marks on my cabinets. However, I have used it in the past for marks on my walls and it worked wonderfully for me.

I recommend using it after already cleaning the grease off your cabinet as it can pick up heavy grime like that and smear it around. It will,

however, remove marks off otherwise clean cabinets. Simply rub the affected area with the product. Just be careful what type of surface you use it on as it is abrasive.

3. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinet with Natural Citrus Oils

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinet with Natural Citrus Oils

One option of how to clean kitchen cabinets that will leave your kitchen smelling fresh and clean is citrus oils.

Naturally, either a lemon or orange oil will smell lovely as well as being a good cleaner for your cupboards.

These contain Limonenes which are a solvent that cuts through grease well. Choose one that has 90-100% d-limonenes for the best results.


  • Lemon or orange oil

How to do it:

Follow the direction on the bottle for the best results. Try using this Orange Oil Cleaner, which says to just spray and wipe your cabinets.

I only recently found out about this method, and it’s the one I use now to keep my cabinets in good shape while smelling fresh and fragrant.

Deep Cleaning

One of the hardest things I found when cleaning the cabinets in my new home was getting rid of the grease.

You can’t just dust it off and after years of neglect, it’s pretty caked on there.

I had to try several methods until I found some effective ones. I’ve noted these here as well as methods others like to use.

4. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Soap and Vodka

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Soap and Vodka

Vodka for cleaning? No, I don’t mean drinking while cleaning, although that can be fun! This method works superbly around your stove.

If you’re cooking and have some grease splash up on the cupboards, using this technique can quickly obliterate these grease patches.


  • Vodka
  • Castille soap

How to do it:

Pour some vodka in a spray bottle – you won’t need much, maybe half a cup. Leave the rest for drinking!

Then add in a few drops of Castille Liquid Soap. Spray it on the area where your cooking has unfortunately splattered. This will clean it up in no time at all!

5. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets Naturally with Vinegar

YouTube video


This technique is one I found on YouTube that has worked wonders for the person posting the video.

If you’re looking for a chemical-free solution for how to clean kitchen cabinets, this is it.


  • A few liters of water
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

How to do it:

Boil a few liters of water in a pan or kettle. Add in your vinegar and mix it around (with a spoon, not with your hands!). Then you just need to put in your baking soda.

Grab a cloth or brush (depending on the surface you are cleaning) and dip it in this mixture to start cleaning. It will work better while the water is still hot as heat can break down grease.

There’s also a blog that claims that a mix of 50:50 warm water and vinegar works well.

6. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Oil Remedy

YouTube video


Oil and water don’t always go well together. That’s the reason this person likes to use oil to get rid of grease.

I didn’t think it made a lot of sense to put oil on to get rid of something oily, but it actually works! Try this one out if you want another natural option for how to clean kitchen cabinets.


  • Vegetable or mineral oil
  • Paper towels

How to do it:

Simply pour some of your oil onto a paper towel. Then, wipe this on your greasy cabinets.

All that gunk and grease should come off easily. If your cabinets are particularly gunky, you’re going to need to do this a few times to remove the multiple layers of build-up.

I know from experience, unfortunately.

7. Deep Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Goo Gone

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Goo Gone

Goo Gone may be an adhesive remover, but don’t be fooled – it will work wonders in your kitchen too.

Because it’s good for all things sticky, this makes it good at getting rid of grease and even things like dried splodges of sauce or jam.

It is safe to use on finished wood, painted surfaces, and plastic.


  • Goo Gone

How to do it:

Slip-on some gloves to protect your hands as this is a potent product. Then put some Goo Gone on a cloth and wipe a liberal amount over the sticky surface.

Leave it to sit like that for a few minutes. Then use a cloth dipped in warm/hot water to wipe it away, leaving the surface clean. This will minimize the amount of tough scrubbing that many other methods require.

8. Deep Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Cif

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets with Cif

This is the final technique because I saved the best until last. My secret weapon for cleaning any tough areas from the shower to the fridge to cabinets is Cif.

Honestly, in my experience, I have found that it can turn almost any surface white again. Be careful what you use it on though because it is abrasive.


  • Warm water
  • Cif

How to do it:

Dampen a cloth or scrubber (depending on the surface) with water as hot as you can handle it.

Use a scrubber if it won’t ruin your cabinets. Drizzle some Cif on the area that needs cleaning. Then scrub as hard as you can, or if using cloth then wipe hard.

This was my last resort method for the truly caked up areas of the cabinets I had to clean. It still took a bit of scrubbing, but it worked well for me.

Tips to Keep Them Clean

Now that you’ve gotten your cupboards gloriously clean, how do you keep them that way?

A useful method is putting down some paper in the bottoms to catch any dust or lose food that may fall. You can use some wrapping paper to have it looking nice and decorative if you like.

Start regularly wiping down the outside of your cabinets when you clean your kitchen. This should keep them from building up a layer of gunk in the first place.

Don’t forget to get into every nook and cranny when you’re cleaning, as dirt can build up in these areas and leave your lovely kitchen looking messy.


Now that you’ve read about many ways of how to clean kitchen cabinets, it’s up to you which method to choose.

Some are more natural while others are more heavy-duty. It’s best to start off light and use heavier methods if you need to as this will lessen the number of chemical products you need to use.

Make your choice by considering the below:

  • How dirty the cabinets are
  • Whether it’s dust or grease
  • What your cabinets are made from

I hope that very soon, like me, you’ll have sparkling clean cabinets! Leave a comment below to let me know which solutions worked for you.

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