How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets with Stains

A white kitchen may look great, but a few years of spills and drips leads to stains setting in. Nothing makes kitchen cabinets look dingier than set in stains. Maybe you were busy and accidentally left that grease spill to sit, or didn’t even notice the spaghetti sauce drip until long after it happened.

Either way, you need to get those stains out because company is coming and you don’t want an embarrassing kitchen. Luckily, there are ways to clean kitchen cabinets and make them look great.

General Stains

The kitchen is the workhorse of the home. You sit in the living room and sleep in the bedroom, but you’re chopping and stirring food in the kitchen day after day. There’s bound to be the occasional mustard drip, ketchup spill, or hot sauce stained cabinet. If it’s not a grease stain, then start with some warm water and a dishcloth.

Clean the surface well to remove any dust and debris from the cabinet. What’s left is the stain. In a separate bowl, place some sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and lemon juice. It will begin to fizz. Dip the dishcloth into the mixture and wash off the stained area. You’ll need to put in some elbow grease if you really want the stain out. Press hard against the stained area and the lemon juice and bicarbonate should lift it.

Grease Stains

Greased Ceramic Tray Surface

Is there anything more frightening than a grease stain? They look ugly and turn your kitchen into a mess. Grease is the stain everyone hates, but in kitchens, it’s almost guaranteed to happen. Start with Mother Nature’s cleaning agent, vinegar. Dampen a dishcloth in straight white vinegar and rub it on the grease stain. Afterwards, wet the wash cloth with warm water and rinse the area thoroughly. Dry with a paper towel.

If that doesn’t get the stain out, then it’s time to fight dirty … er … clean. Empty your sink and fill it about halfway with super-hot water. Pour in a few tablespoons of grease fighting dish soap and dampen a sponge with it. Be careful not to get burned by the water. Rub the problem area in a circular motion until the stain is removed. If the sponge cools, then dampen it again in the hot water.

Basket of cleaning supplies on a kitchen counter.

Don’t Use Harsh Cleaners and Abrasives

You might be tempted to grab a general cleaner and a coarse brush to take out the stain, but that could be disastrous for your cabinet. The chemicals in cleaners can break down the finish on your cabinet, leaving it dull and drab.

Abrasive brushes and scouring pads can scratch the surface and remove the finish as well. While this might seem like the right way to clean your cabinets, it’s actually the worst thing possible. Simple vinegar or dish soap should do the trick.

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