Method 1 Daily Cleaning
1 Make a vinegar solution.
Mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of water. This mild cleaning solution is perfect for everyday use on wooden cabinets. It won't warp the wood or take off the finish.
If you dislike cleaning with vinegar, you can use a light soap solution instead. Mix a teaspoon of dish soap with a cup of water. You can also use a commercial household degreaser solution, if you have one.
Do not use harsh all-purpose cleansers on your cabinets. They may cause discoloration and warping.
2 Wipe the outside of the cabinets after cooking. Grease and food particles can accumulate on cabinet surfaces every time you cook. Wiping down your cabinets every time you cook will go a long way toward keeping them in good shape. Dip a clean washcloth or cleaning rag into the vinegar solution and use it to wipe down the cabinet doors and underneath the cabinets.
You don't want to get the cabinets soaking wet, because moisture may warp the wood. Wring out the cloth you're using so that it's damp, but not dripping.
The vinegar smell will go away as soon as the cabinets dry.
If the vinegar solution doesn’t work, you may have to purchase a household degreaser solution.
3 Dry the cabinets with a clean cloth. Since moisture sitting on the cabinets can cause the wood to warp, go back over the cabinets with a clean, dry cloth to remove all traces of cleaning solution.
4 Regularly clean out the inside of the cabinets. Spices and other foods you store in your cabinets are likely to spill sometimes, so keep the inside of your cabinets clean by wiping them out every few weeks. Remove everything from your cabinets, and wipe the cabinets out with a gentle vinegar or soap solution. Dry the cabinets with a clean towel, then put everything back on the shelves.
If you deal with a lot of spilled food in your cabinets, you might want to invest in some good food storage containers. Using glass or metal jars to store spices and dry goods protects the food from bugs and keeps spills to a minimum.
Cabinet liners can make cleaning the inside of your cabinets easy. Consider lining your cabinets with rubber liners; when it's time to clean out your cabinets, you can just remove the liners, rinse and dry them, and put them back in the cabinets.
5 Dust the cabinets regularly. For mild dust accumulation and buffing, use a soft and dry cloth to clean both the cabinet’s interior and exterior surfaces. It’s particularly important to dust the outside of your kitchen cabinets regularly, because the grease and steam produced during cooking will cake the dust onto cabinet surfaces, making it harder to clean off if you do it infrequently.
Method 2 Deep Cleaning
1 Purchase oil soap wood cleaner. This product is designed to remove grease and other caked-on substances without damaging wooden surfaces. Oil soap is stronger than vinegar or a simple dish soap solution, so it's a good product to have on hand when you want to give your cabinets a deep cleaning. If your cabinets have a layer of caked-on, sticky grease, oil soap is what you want to use to clean them.
Murphy’s Oil Soap is one of the most popular brands.
If you find that you need something a little stronger, try an industrial degreaser solution.
2 Test the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot. If the varnish turns white or hazy, then do not use the cleaner and test an alternative mild soap solution.
3 Apply the oil soap to your cabinets. Use a soft cloth to rub the oil soap on your cabinets using a circular motion. Avoid pressing too hard, since you don't want to scrape off the varnish. Continue rubbing the oil soap into the cabinet surface until all the caked-on grease has been removed.
4 Go back over the cabinets with a clean cloth. Remove all residue from the grease and oil cleanser so that the surface of your cabinets is entirely clean.
5 Use baking soda to handle thick caked-on substances. Food spills left unattended for a long time can harden and become quite difficult to remove. Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive that will remove the dried substance without ruining your wood. Mix baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste. Dip a cloth in the paste and use it to scrub off the caked-on substance.
If the substance still won't budge, apply the paste and let it soak in for 15 minutes before you scrub it away.
You may want to use a thin spatula or another tool to help scrape off the substance. Be very careful not to scratch your cabinet.
Method 3 Polishing
1 Choose a furniture polish or wax. A polished cabinet exterior will give your kitchen a warm and lustrous look by bringing out the true character of the wood. Most polishes will leave either a high shine or a low luster, so choose the one that suits your preferences and the look of your kitchen.
2 Make sure the cabinets are clean before applying polish. Applying polish over grease and dust will result in a mess, so be sure clean your cabinets before polishing. Remove all grease and caked-on food, then run a clean cloth over the cabinets to collect residue and dust before proceeding.
3 Apply the polish to a clean, dry cloth. Use a soft towel or microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the wood.
4 Rub the polish over a small area of the cabinet’s exterior. Work in four or five-inch sections in order to make sure the entire surface of the cabinets get evenly polished. Rub the polish in a gentle circular motion.
If you’re using wax to polish your cabinets, let it sit for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
5 Buff the area with a second clean cloth. This removes the excess polish, leaving the spot gleaming and shiny.
6 Continue polishing and buffing. Move on to the next small area until you finish polishing and buffing the entire exterior of your cabinets.