We’ve all done it.
Your hands are covered in whatever you’re cooking, and you forget an ingredient or tool. So you grab it with messy hands. Handles get sticky, fingerprints creep up, and stuck-on food quickly becomes kitchen cabinet decor.
White cupboards will show more of the filth, making you more aware and more likely to clean up messes, but dark colors like black, blue, or green can be just as revealing. Get in the habit of regularly wiping up messes on any color, because grease marks will stain over time.
If you aren’t careful, you will have 20-year-old cupboards that always look dirty. Permanent marks will need to be refinished. So, if your shit is new, take care of it!
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1. Take Everything Out!
Take every last item out of the cupboard. Purge and donate what you no longer use. Items in your cupboards that are not being used are taking up valuable space and are only collecting dust. If you can, take out or adjust shelves so they are more functional for items when you add them back in (USA) (Canada). Organization really does help with stress levels and also promotes you to adulthood.
2. Vacuum Inside and Outside
You will need to get up high to vacuum, so please use a sturdy chair or ladder when climbing up on your counters and make sure you are wearing non-slip footwear. If this is something you need help with, please ask someone for support. (For the love of GAWD, do NOT fall!)
Our favorite Bissell® Zing (USA) (Canada) and horsehair brush (USA) (Canada) are perfect for this job. It is easy to haul it up on the counter with you and light enough to hold it while on a ladder. The horsehair brush picks up the crumbs and dust, especially in shaker style cabinet doors. Vacuum both sides of the doors and hinges too.
Got drawers in a lower bank of cabinets? Vacuum crumbs in there too. It takes less than two minutes to empty it section by section, vacuuming as you go.
3. Hot Water, Powdered Tide and Bleach
To clean the front and inside surfaces of cabinets, this is our go-to. Fill the sink with hot water and a pinch of powdered Tide. A small amount of bleach can be added, too.
Damp microfibre cloths are the best for wiping down cupboards because they are highly absorbent and attract dirt and grease. We love Grab-A-Rag®! They can be washed and used over and over. If you are not using microfibre, you run the risk of using a cloth with too much water and that will warp your wood. In particular, shaker doors can soak up water in the joints, so it’s paramount to use microfibre on those, and to keep your cloth barely damp.
4. Mr. Clean® is Your Man!
Do your cupboards go all the way to the ceiling? Excellent. Skip this step and pat yourself on the back for upgrading.
Dust and grease is a nasty mixture to wipe up. If you have never done this job in your house, the top of your cabinets will shock you. When you do not turn on your hood range fans while cooking, the grease created will travel and settle on everything. Grease is sticky and tacky to the touch and dust LOVES it.
We use yellow, undiluted Mr. Clean®. It comes in a jug but we put ours in a spray bottle. Mr. Clean® is a degreaser, and this is exactly what you need. Make sure you wear gloves!
Spray down the entire top surface of the cabinets with Mr. Clean®. Don’t bother using rags for this job, as they will get wrecked. Using paper towels (and lots of them), wipe up each section of the upper cabinets carefully. Keep going until you can feel that all the tackiness is gone.
Once you have soaked up all the gunk, line the tops of the cupboards with clean, dry paper towels or parchment paper. These will absorb future oils and will make the next clean up a breeze.
Carefully climb back down and enjoy a beverage.
Pro tip: If you are building or buying a new home, make sure your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. It will just make your life easier.
Ever wonder why your grandmother would have things wrapped in saran wrap on top of her cupboards? THIS! This is why. An important life skill is to clean as you go. If you slop on the handles or cabinets, wipe it up before it dries.
Even if you are completely incapable of cleaning as you go, try not to put off your clean up routine. Deep cleans are so much easier if you keep up with the little messes along the way. This will prolong your cabinet’s life and keep your kitchen in tip top shape.
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– Katie W @gocleanco