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If you don’t work in the food service industry, chances are you don’t clean all your kitchen appliances frequently. Sure, you probably wipe down the stovetop and mop your floors at least once a week, but the other parts of your kitchen don’t always get the love they deserve, right? One of the most neglected parts of your kitchen that probably doesn’t get cleaned as often as they should are your cabinets – and you probably don’t even realize it. Throughout the day, your cabinets collect dust, dirt, grime, splatter from grease or moisture from doing dishes. If you don’t get those messes cleaned up quickly, they meld to the cabinets and leave stains or sticky messes that are hard to scrub away. Suddenly, your beautiful white kitchen cabinets look like they’ve been speckled with gray, and you have no idea what to do. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to clean your kitchen cabinets.
As a note, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to replace your cabinets. When you’ve got cracked cabinet doors, broken shelves or you’re trying to replace everything in your kitchen, sometimes replacing your cabinets is the right choice.
Cleaning the Outside
Get all your necessary tools together. These tools include cleaning solutions and utensils. You’ll probably want to get a vacuum, some cleaning cloths (you can use old, torn washcloths so you don’t waste new ones) and even an old toothbrush. Make sure you have dish soap, vinegar or a bottle of cabinet cleaner. You’ll want to avoid using all-purpose cleaners because the harsh chemicals in them can ruin your cabinet’s finish. Dish soap is perfect because it can cut through all the grime, dirt and leftover food without needing much elbow grease.
Go from top to bottom. Try to avoid spraying directly onto the cabinets, especially if you have food stored in them. Instead, spray your solution directly onto the cleaning cloth, or dip your cleaning cloth into the solution and thoroughly wring it out. Then, use the cleaning cloth and wipe the tops of the cabinets, remembering to get the edges, sides and underneath them. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your cabinets, you might want to take a duster to the very top of your cabinets. Using a duster with an extendable handle will help you get all those tough to reach places.
Remove the cleaner. After you’ve wiped the cabinet down with the cleaner, take another cleaning cloth and wet it with some warm water. Then, take the water-only cloth and wipe it over all the places you cleaned with the cleaning cloth. This will get rid of any leftover soap scum from when you cleaned the cabinet. Use a dry cloth to get any wet spots up to prevent water damage or mold from growing in your kitchen cabinets.
Wipe down handles. Depending on the material of your cabinet handles, you’ll want to consider using different cleaning solutions. Metal or stainless steel handles and knobs should be cleaned with a mixed solution of vinegar and water, while glass knobs should use a glass cleaner. Always remember to put the solution on the tool you’re using to clean with instead of directly on the surface. You want to preserve your cabinets as long as possible.
Get the grease. Grease can build up on the cabinets that are closest to your stove. To get rid of these stains, mix together a solution of baking soda and water until it creates a paste. Then, take a toothbrush or a brush with soft bristles and lightly scrub at the areas with grease build-up. Then, wipe the paste away with a cloth so it doesn’t dry on the surface.
Cleaning the Inside
Don’t neglect the inside of your cabinets! Letting dust and debris build up inside your cabinets can lead to unwanted insects and rodents, as well as dirty dishes.
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Empty the cabinets. Use your vacuum to get any crumbs, chippings or other debris from your cabinet shelves. If you use shelf liners, make sure to remove them, too!
Wipe the insides down. Using the same process for outside your cabinets, wipe the inside of the cabinets down.
Clean the containers used inside your cabinets. Wipe down food jars, containers, cans and anything else you’re storing inside your cabinets. Nothing is worse than grabbing a jar of sprinkles just to get your fingers all dusty! Putting the jars uncleaned back into the cabinets defeats the purpose of cleaning the cabinet shelves. You should also empty out the silverware organizer and give it a good wash. You’d be surprised what ends up in your silverware drawer.