Spring Cleaning Tips: How to Clean on Top of Kitchen Cabinets

Basket of cleaning supplies on a kitchen counter.

The weather warms, the sun comes out, and you’re ready to sweep away the physical (and mental) dust of the winter. Spring cleaning time!

You’ve probably already added cabinets to your list of things to do, but don’t forget the top of the cabinets too. Unless your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, they are collecting the grease and dust that are a part of everyday kitchen life. Be brave and give them a look, you’ll see what we mean.

Grease goes airborne in your kitchen and gathers on horizontal surfaces, especially those up high. That’s why the tops of your cabinets get gross. Most other surfaces in your kitchen are ones you see regularly and therefore clean more regularly. It’s easy to forget the top of the cabinets, but now’s the time to tackle that mess.

Never fear. We know it looks pretty bad up there, but we’ve got some great tips for how to clean on top of kitchen cabinets.

Get Rid of Loose Dirt

Start cleaning the top of kitchen cabinets by safely hauling your vacuum hose attachment up to the top of your cabinets. Without touching the sticky grease build up, vacuum up the loose dirt and debris. Getting the dry stuff out of the way first will make what comes next easier.

Degrease

Spray a degreasing cleaning solution in a manageable working area on top of your cabinet. Let it sit and do its thing for a few minutes. Wipe clean with a soft cloth. Repeat until all the cabinet tops are clean. If you prefer more natural cleaners, vinegar and lemon juice are both natural alternatives. Use them undiluted on the greasy buildup and avoid unneeded chemicals. Learn more about other gentle cleaners you can use on your cabinets.

What to Do About Tough Buildup

If you find a degreaser and cloth don’t get the job done, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Start by spraying your degreaser again then add a sprinkle of baking soda. It provides a bit of scrubbing power that won’t damage your finish. If that doesn’t work, try a plastic scraper or old toothbrush to manually remove the buildup.

Prevent Dirty, Sticky Cabinet Tops

Never want to do this again? We agree, once is enough. After your cabinet tops are clean, put wax paper on top of them. The wax attracts the dust and grime like a magnet. All you have to do is replace the wax paper a couple times a year and you’re good to go.

Woman cleaning cabinets in a white kitchen.

More Tips for How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

To ensure your cabinets are not only clean but well-cared for, follow these tips.

  • Always use gentle cleaning solutions that won’t damage finishes
  • Don’t soak your cabinets with cleaner or water, they can be sensitive to too much moisture; instead spray cleaner in manageable areas and don’t let liquid sit too long
  • Keep water and cleaners away from hinges to prevent rust or damage to the metal
  • Dry your cabinets after cleaning

Read more about kitchen cabinet cleaning, including our best tips for regular cleaning, deep cleaning, organization, and more.