The Best Way to Clean Greasy Kitchen Cabinets

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Safely clean your greasy kitchen cabinets and keep the grease from returning. These steps work no matter your cabinet material.

View of clean wood kitchen cabinets shot from angle to show grease removed

Home cooking often leads to greasy buildup on your kitchen cabinets and drawer fronts. Cleaning greasy cabinets isn’t difficult, but you need to use the right de-greasers and methods for your cabinet’s materials. Otherwise, you may wind up with stripped or scratched cabinet doors that have to be replaced. To avoid that costly mistake, read on for the best methods to get grimy grease off your kitchen cabinets.

Tips to Cleaning Greasy Kitchen Cabinets Safely

Kitchen cabinet doors are made from softer materials than the rest of your cabinet’s box. This helps them swing easily without straining the hinges, but it also means they’re easier to damage. Using the wrong products or methods to get rid of grease on your cabinets can ruin the doors even if the rest of the cabinets are fine. And new cabinet doors are not cheap.

So, never use abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, or steel wool — they’ll damage the finish and leave scratches that even paint can’t hide. Also, avoid strong cleaning products like ammonia, bathroom cleaners, or bleach. They may degrease, but they can also damage cabinet materials, corrode the finish, and discolor the hardware. If you have wood cabinets, using furniture polish to shine them will trap grease and make the problem worse.

How to Get Greasy Cabinets Clean

Time required: 30-60 Minutes

Equipment:

  • Towels
  • Several cleaning cloths
  • Spray bottle
  • Old toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs — optional

Materials:

  • Warm water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap or Castile soap
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol of 70% or higher — optional

Steps:

  1. Place the towel at the base of the cabinets you’ll be cleaning or on the countertop if you’re cleaning upper cabinet doors. This will protect your floor or counters from overspray and greasy drips.
  2. Mix a cabinet degreaser by combining equal parts warm water and warm distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle or bucket. Then add a small squirt of liquid dish soap or Castile soap.
  3. Working one cabinet at a time, spray the surface you’re cleaning lightly with the cabinet degreaser. Use the old toothbrush as needed to remove greasy buildup on the cabinet hardware. Then wipe with a clean, dry cloth along the grain (if wood) or top to bottom to remove the grease. Rinse the area by wiping it with a fresh cloth dampened with plain water.
  4. To remove food stains, make a paste of baking soda and water, then smooth it onto the stain. Wait 5 minutes for the paste to lift the stain, and then gently wipe it away. Do not rub this paste into the cabinet when applying or removing it since baking soda is abrasive and can scratch your cabinet’s finish. Be sure to rinse the area with a fresh cloth dampened with plain water.
  5. To clean stubborn grease in corners, dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and apply it to the spot. Wait a couple of minutes, then apply more homemade kitchen cabinet degreasing spray and wipe. Do not use this method near open flames or pilot lights since rubbing alcohol is flammable.
  6. Always finish by wiping with a fresh cloth rinsed under plain water to remove any cleaner residue.

How to Keep Your Cabinets from Getting Greasy

Once you’ve cleaned your greasy kitchen cabinets, you only need to take a few easy steps to keep them from getting greasy again.

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  • Always use a splatter screen with frying or sautéing foods on your stove. A mesh splatter screen still lets steam escape, but it traps almost all of the grease in your pan.
  • Run your stove hood fan while cooking. When you’re cooking, greasy steam escapes the pan. Running your stove exhaust fan traps this oily air, so it lands in the fan’s filter and not on your kitchen cabinets. (Be sure to clean your range hood filter regularly to keep it in safe, working order.)
  • Wipe cabinet fronts at least once a week. Keep your kitchen cabinets clean and grease-free by wiping them with soapy water as part of your regular cleaning routine. If you don’t have a good one yet, check out my weekly kitchen cleaning checklist.

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