Cabinet Maintenance 101
Cabinets can be an incredible investment in the value and overall equity of your home. With the significant expense of either building or buying cabinets, then having them installed, you want to make sure they look their best as long as possible. This means cabinet maintenance is almost as important as the initial cabinet choice itself.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your cabinetry will keep them in the best condition possible, both aesthetically as well as functionally. This in turn allows you to not only maximize your time and space in the kitchen but also to fully enjoy the space as a portion of your home.
Cabinets are not something that you should need to replace more than once. They are truly an improvement to your home that can last for generations if cared for properly.
If you have just had your cabinets installed by the cabinetmaker or carpenter, and they are already finished, give them a thorough wiping with a soft cloth that is damp, but not wet. Immediately follow that with a wipe from a dry cloth. Make sure you always wipe with the grain.
The buildup of dirt and grease can damage the wood of the cabinetry, as well as damage the look of it. This can be particularly true for cabinets above the stove or cooktop. Dampen a soft cloth with some warm water and wipe the cabinets with the grain, for a more firmly set grime use a little dish soap mixed into the warm water.
For severe cases of stains and discolored blemishes, you may need to make a baking soda paste of about a half cup of baking soda mixed with a few tablespoons of water. Apply the paste to the problem areas, let dry fully, then wipe off with a warm, damp cloth.
Do not use any of the following cleaners or substances, they can damage your cabinets beyond repair:
- Nail polish remover
- Paint thinner
- Anything petroleum-based
- Nylon/plastic brushes
- Scouring pads
- Steel wool
Moisture will help stains and grime set into the finish of the wood, and can even lead to warping of the cabinet sides, facing, or doors. Make sure ambient humidity is minimized, and any excess moisture from cleaning is wiped up promptly.
Avoid Sun Damage
While natural light in a kitchen can make it seem like the most open, inviting, and refreshing room, it can destroy the finish and color of your cabinets. Blinds or curtains at the right times of day can reduce or eliminate damage from sunlight and UV rays.
Keep Up, Don’t Catch Up
By keeping up with regular cleanings, you not only reduce the chance that the dirt, grime, and grease will have a chance to set, becoming harder to clean and potentially damaging or staining your cabinet, but it keeps you from having to do more intense or thorough cleanings after things build up to a certain point.