How to Clean Sticky Kitchen Cabinets – What works Best?

Do you go to open the kitchen cabinet and your hand doesn't let go? Or do dust bunnies actually get stuck to the cabinets when you are cleaning? Or better yet, did you just upgrade your kitchen lighting only to want to dim it back down?

Clean Wooden Kitchen Cabinets

If you are thinking it is time for a new kitchen but your bank account says no, then check out these tips on how to clean sticky kitchen cabinets and find out what works best and your kitchen will feel new again.

Clean Wooden Kitchen Cabinets

Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Cleaning sticky cabinets is not a chore we look forward to, but it can really make a difference on the look, feel and smell of your kitchen. We may give them a simple wipe down every once in a while, but the kitchen is the hub of the house and it gets used a lot!

Grease from cooking, steam from boiling and then a few grubby hands here and there and you have a recipe for dull, dark and dingy looking cabinets.

If you are selling your house then this could be the difference between a sale and no sale and if you are not selling, then you will end up with a much nicer looking kitchen and feel better about using it! You might not even need to replace it once you get rid of the dullness, dirt and grime.

How Do I Clean Kitchen Cabinets?

Clean Melamine Kitchen Cabinets

You take an hour or more if you can during the daylight hours (natural light works well when trying to clean) or you put bigger bulbs in that kitchen light and you get to work.

Arm yourself with rubber gloves, nylon scrubber (non-scratching for wood but still effective), cleaner and soft polishing cloths. (old cotton t-shirts are great for these jobs)

Get things off the counter or out of the way, and make sure you have a good sturdy step stool or small house ladder. You might get so excited once the cupboards look clean that you may be inspired to clean them out while you are at it!

Remove Hardware if Really Dirty - This Helps to Clean Kitchen Cabinets of Grease

If there are simple handles that are easy to unscrew, then you will find it is easy to do this job if you take the handle or knobs off the doors or drawer fronts.

Keep the hardware with the cabinet or drawer so you don't lose track of it.

It is just easier to get it really clean that way, as a lot of dirt and grime builds up right at the wood near and beside the handles and knobs.

If you notice a darker shadow around your handles, then you know that dirt is building up.

Clean and Clean Some More!

Now starting with one wooden cabinet door or drawer spray the product on to the wood and let it sit for a minute, you will enjoy the nice orange scent, then take your nylon scrubby and gently going with the grain of the wood start to rub.

Clean tacky Kitchen Cabinets

This product will lift grease and not leave any sticky residue. Now take a soft clean cloth (have a few of these if you can) wipe the surface and see if there is any dirt or grime left. If there is, spray it on again and leave it for 5 minutes, if you feel really inspired you could start to spray another cupboard while waiting.

Then scrub again (don't use anything that would scratch the wood such as a pan scrubber, stick to the scrubbers you get for non-stick pans or for glass stove tops.

Now take your soft cloth and wipe any excess off and then polish it. Your cabinet door will be gleaming. You may not recognize them!

I personally didn't realize just how dirty wooden cabinet doors could get until I used this product. I actually thought I had dark oak in one kitchen but it was just grimy! I love how it nourishes the surface afterwards and it also lifts a lot of wax build up which can actually cause dust and dirt to stick to it.

No Cheating!!

Make sure and do the entire cabinet front, not just the obvious dirty bits! No shortcuts here!

Now You Can't Just Stop At One Clean Door Front Can You?

Now get to work on the rest of them. One place I noticed that grime can build up is actually at the ceiling if you have a molding that fits your cabinet tops to your ceiling. It does seem to collect there especially near the stove.

This Would Be the Perfect Time to Clean that Space Over the Cabinets!

You know that space where you stuffed the bread maker, crock pot, large sized dishes, gifts or that monster sized punch bowl you were not sure where to store?

Yep, you might as well do the "while you are at it" cleanathon. (You can reward yourself with a coffee in your clean kitchen afterwards!)

Clean and Replace Hardware

Now clean the hardware and screw it back on. Or maybe, just maybe this would be the perfect time to replace that old hardware and give your kitchen an updated look?

You have it off already why not put new cabinet hardware back on!

After all, if you can't get the new kitchen of your dreams, you might as well give it a bit of a facelift! Clean wooden cabinets and new hardware will make it look great. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

How to Clean Melamine Kitchen Cabinets

With melamine you may need a different approach. If it is a rubbly surface, then you will need the same tools and especially the nylon scrubby, if it is a flat smooth surface you will simply need a good clean cloth to clean it with.

Sometimes the dirt gets really worked in and give the melamine the worn away look when in fact it is dirt. If your nylon scrubby won't touch it, then try spraying it and leaving it a few minutes then use a nail brush in circular motions and this should loosen it.

Melamine works well with natural green works cleaners, these are natural cleaners that do not have any harsh ingredients or smells, but they do a wonderful job of degreasing.

If your surface is the slightly rubbly one, (melamine always look worn when it is dirty) then you will need to spray the area and use your nylon scrubber to lift the grime without damage to the surface.

Then take a soft clean cloth and wipe it dry. Repeat until you have got rid of the dirt and grime. You will find it easier removing hardware if you can.

How to Clean Sticky Kitchen Cabinets?

  • Make a date with your kitchen.
  • Wear your best cleaning clothes.
  • ​Remove the hardware.
  • ​Arm yourself with supplies.
  • ​Use the right product.
  • ​Add elbow grease and you are done!

Fall In Love With Your Kitchen Again!

Clean Sticky Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to Cleaning Sticky or Greasy Kitchen Cabinets many people will give them a quick wipe down with the dishcloth and figure that is OK. But if that dishcloth first saw the table then the countertop and then the stove, then you may be just moving dirt around, and then once the surface gets dull and dirty it becomes a magnet to more!

Don't be surprised if you find nice cabinets underneath! Change out the hardware, maybe spring for a new faucet or even the countertop if your budget is willing and you will have a new kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

Enjoy Your New Found Kitchen!

Your hard work paid off!

Crissy Reavis

As a Home and kitchen related content writer, Crissy Reavis explores the latest ideas of home and kitchen. She got her B.A. in Interior Design. As a former writer of home improvement magazine, now Crissy wanted to share her experiences in this review site.

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