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How to Clean Painted Cabinets

freshly painted california kitchen

The kitchen is a greasy, messy place. It really takes a beating several times a week (or day). From grease splatters to liquid spills and dishwasher steam, your cabinets are exposed to varying temperatures and messy substances. Keeping the cabinets clean, especially if they are painted, requires you to take proactive steps before the grease and grime build up. 

Your cabinet faces should be cleaned about every other week. But how can you clean the cabinets without damaging the paint? 

Don’t Be Too Harsh

No matter the finish of your cabinet paint — lacquer, semi-gloss, or anything else — stay away from abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools. Using harsh cleaners or rough tools can dull or damage the paint. Avoid strongly alkaline or acidic detergents. 

It’s best to start with the gentlest cleaning method and work your way up. Sometimes, the simplest, gentlest method will do the trick (especially if you stay on top of cleaning your cabinets), while other times will require slightly stronger methods.

picture of white painted cabinets

Gentlest Method for Cleaning Painted Cabinets

The gentlest, easiest method is to simply wipe your cabinets down with a damp, soft cloth. If this rids your cabinets of splatter and dust, congratulations! You’re done! Go take a relaxing bubble bath with your extra time.

The Detergent Method

If you still are faced with grime and grease, mix a bit of detergent with warm water. The measurements aren’t exact — just add enough detergent to a bucket of running water to make suds.

Dip a microfiber cloth into the suds and wring it out. Rub the damp cloth on your painted cabinets in a circular motion, repeating until the grime is gone. 

Take a second microfiber cloth, and get it damp with non-soapy water. Go over the cabinet with the damp cloth in a circular motion, being sure to remove all soapy residue.

With a third (dry) microfiber cloth, dry the painted cabinet, using a circular motion again.

Done! Go have a relaxing bubble bath to unwind from all the effort.

Attacking Any Remaining Grease Spots (Gently)

If you still have yellow grease spots left over after your thorough (and gentle) work, try this method to spot clean those areas.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda

Combine these all together, dip a soft cloth into the mixture, and spot clean those stubborn areas. Wipe the areas dry with a dry cloth when done.

You can also try combining equal amounts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray onto the grease spots, let sit for five minutes, and wipe away.

If you’re not already in the habit, the New Year is a great time to be more mindful of messes in the kitchen. Commit to wiping up grease spills as soon as they happen so you can avoid dealing with grease stains later on down the road. Add a basic cabinet wipedown into your regular housecleaning routine to stay on top of dust. This will help you keep your painted cabinets looking clean, beautiful, and updated far longer (while cutting down on extra work).

New Life Painting can help you get the kitchen of your dreams, whether that’s simply painting your existing cabinets, painting your walls, or remodeling the whole room. Give us a call at (805) 937-9836, or contact us online for a free estimate.

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