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How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets: 3 Best & 3 Bad Cleaners For Cabinets

Did you know that some POPULAR CLEANERS and HOMEMADE CLEANERS can DAMAGE THE FINISH on kitchen cabinets? Here’s 3 safe ways to clean kitchen cabinets & 3 that you should NEVER use.

How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets

I think my kitchen is probably the one room in my house that needs constant cleaning. Especially with 4 humans and 2 cats in the house. Of course, bathrooms are a close second.

But, kitchens just naturally get covered in crumbs and smudgy fingerprints, everyday. And, since I have white kitchen cabinets, I have to be sure to stay on top of all of the gunk that gets on our cabinets.

Image of someone cleaning kitchen cabinets. Text says How to clean kitchen cabinets. With the best way to clean kitchen cabinets and 3 bad cabinet cleaners.

In this post I have 3 SAFE ways to clean kitchen cabinets and 3 common kitchen cabinet cleaners that can actually DAMAGE the finish on your kitchen cabinets. So, be sure to read both.

Best Tips For Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets – Video

If any of the steps below aren’t clear, you can see me cleaning white kitchen cabinets in this video.

3 Super Easy Ways To Clean White Kitchen Cabinets - And 3 To Avoid!

3 Best Ways To Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Let’s get started with 3 of the best ways to degrease and clean kitchen cabinets!

Examples of cleaners that don't damage the finish on kitchen cabinets for a post with 3 ways to clean white kitchen cabinets.
Microfiber towels and a soft toothbrush are great tools for cleaning kitchen cabinets.

1. Cleaning Cabinets With Dawn Dish Soap

About once every week or so, I mix Dawn dish soap with hot water in my sink. Then I use a clean rag to wipe down my cabinets with the soapy mix.

Diluted dish soap is a safe cleaner on painted or stained and sealed kitchen cabinets. And, Dawn dish soap is pretty good at removing greasy fingerprints, food, and stains.

For an extra cleaning boost, you can add 1 cup of vinegar to the mix. That vinegar is also great at killing MOST bacteria and viruses.

Using dish soap to clean hard water spots on glassware.
Mix about 4 cups of hot water, Dawn dish soap (or similar), and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to make a homemade cabinet cleaner that works on counters and appliances too.

When you’re wiping your cabinets down with the mix, try not to get them too wet. Wring your cleaning rag out before using it on your cabinets. Too much water can eventually damage wood.

Be sure to clean and disinfect the cabinet pulls and drawer pulls too. You can use a soft bristle toothbrush on the crevices and curves when you clean kitchen cabinets.

As I’m working, I dry off the newly cleaned kitchen cabinets with a dry kitchen towel or microfiber cloth to prevent water spots from showing up on the finish.

One More Tip: After cleaning the cabinets, I clean my counters and appliances with this mix. Then I give the inside of my oven a quick clean to remove oil and dirt before it can build up.

This Lysol multi-surface cleaner should be safe to use to clean kitchen cabinets.
The back of this Lysol with Hydrogen Peroxide spray says that it CAN BE used on cabinets.

Check out this post to see another way to clean with Dawn Dish Soap: How to Clean Marble Shower Tile & Grout (Easy & Safe).

2. Cabinet-Safe All-Purpose Cleaners

Some popular multi-purpose cleaners are NOT safe to use on cabinets and wood furniture. Here’s 3 multi-purpose cleaners that ARE SAFE for cleaning cabinets.

  1. Lysol’s Hydrogen Peroxide Multi-Purpose Cleaner
  2. Windex Multi-Surface Disinfectant Cleaner
  3. Mrs. Meyers All-Purpose Cleaner

You can also use a cabinet-safe, all-purpose cleaner for weekly spot-cleaning. Just spray a little on the cabinets, then wipe it off with a microfiber towel.

And, you can get crevices and grooves in your cabinets clean with a soft bristle toothbrush with a little of the cleaner on it.

I absolutely love how easy it is to clean kitchen cabinets with an all-purpose spray or multi-surface cleaner. BUT, you have to be careful about which one you use.

Check the product description and recommended uses on the back to be sure that it is safe to use on cabinets. Many all-purpose products aren’t safe on sealed wood cabinets or painted surfaces.

An example of a cleaner that cannot be used to clean kitchen cabinets.
The Pink Stuff is a popular cleaner. BUT, it can’t be used on everything. It specifically says on the back that it should not be used on painted or varnished surfaces. So, don’t use it to clean cabinets.

3. Cleaning Cabinets With Vinegar & Water

For another homemade cabinet cleaner, you can mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water in a spray bottle. Vinegar is a popular natural cleaner that is great at killing MOST bacteria and viruses.

Vinegar is also great at breaking down grease spots and food residue that can build up on cabinets.

Spray the vinegar mix onto your cabinets. Don’t use too much. Too much liquid might damage cabinets made with MDF, plywood, compressed boards, or even some woods.

Then use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the entire surface of the cabinets. Don’t forget to clean the handles and pulls too.

And, as I said in the first 2 options for cleaning kitchen cabinets, you can use a little cleaner on a soft bristle toothbrush to get into the details and crevices on your cabinets.

Image of vinegar about to be mixed into a pretreat for bad odor smells in clothes.
Undiluted vinegar is too acidic to use to clean cabinets.

Check out this post to see another way to clean with vinegar: The Easy Way To Clean A Dishwasher Filter.

3 Bad Cleaners For Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

Now, that you’ve seen my picks for the best way to clean kitchen cabinets, let’s go over 3 popular cleaners that are bad for cleaning kitchen cabinets.

1. Household Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is a corrosive solution that can eat away at the finish on painted and stained cabinets. After just one use, it can dull the clear coat and lighten the color of the paint or stain on your cabinets.

I wouldn’t even use diluted bleach to clean cabinets or most areas in my kitchen. There are so many better options.

Cleaners that are made with bleach should also be avoided. If you check the back of these cleaners made with bleach, they won’t say that they can be used on cabinets.

Bleach and cleaning products that contain bleach should not be used on kitchen cabinets.
Cleaners with bleach CANNOT be used on cabinets.

2. Undiluted Distilled White Vinegar

Straight, or undiluted, white vinegar is a strong acid. It can clean and kill bacteria and viruses.

But, if you are cleaning cabinets with vinegar that isn’t diluted, the acid can also break down the finish on your cabinets, dulling the sheen and eventually removing the paint or stain.

A Magic Eraser is abrasive and SHOULD NOT be used on kitchen cabinets.
A Magic Eraser is abrasive and SHOULD NOT be used on cabinets.

3. Don’t Use A Magic Eraser On Cabinets

And, last but not least on this list, you should not use a Magic Eraser, heavy duty scrubbing pad, or any other abrasive scrubbers on your cabinets. Again, it’s all about protecting your finish.

Abrasive scrubbers can sand down the clear top coat on your cabinets, making the sheen look permanently dulled in spots. Persistent scrubbing will also remove the paint and stain on your cabinets.

An example of the finish on cabinets being removed by the Magic Eraser.
Here’s 2 spots on my cabinets where I accidentally rubbed the finish off of my cabinets by gently scrubbing it with a Magic Eraser.

That’s it for my list of 3 cleaners to avoid using to clean kitchen cabinets. BUT, these ARE NOT the only products that CANNOT be used on your cabinets.

Avoid any strange “cleaning hacks” you see online, unless you know for sure that they will not damage the finish on your kitchen cabinets.

Image of someone cleaning kitchen cabinets. Text says How to clean kitchen cabinets. With the best way to clean kitchen cabinets and 3 bad cabinet cleaners.
Don’t forget to save the best way to clean kitchen cabinets.

That’s it for cleaning kitchen cabinets. Here’s more of my favorite Home Cleaning tips, you might like.

Some DIYs You Might Like

Here’s How To Clean A Clogged Sink Drain (Kitchen & Bath): 10 GOOD & BAD Ways.

Image of a clogged kitchen sink p-trap for a post about the best ways to clean a clogged sink drain in a kitchen or bathroom.

This post about How to Remove Water Stain from Ceiling Without Paint – 1 Easy Step is always popular!

Quick and easy written steps and video for How to Fix Water Stains on Ceiling Leaks without paint. In just a few minutes, get rid of most water stains.

Need to know how to whiten tile grout in your kitchen or bath? Check this out.

How to Whiten Grout with a quick and easy DIY Grout Renew.

Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve seen the best way to clean kitchen cabinets, you can do it! Go get to it! 🙂