Accidental spills, splatters and greasy fingerprints are bound to happen, especially if you cook every day — yet, most people don’t clean their kitchen cabinets regularly. No matter if your kitchen cabinets are glass, wood, laminate or painted, they lose their visual appeal when they’re covered in grime, stains or dust. Not only will your kitchen aesthetic suffer, but dirty kitchen cabinets might harbor bacteria or viruses that can cause harmful side effects.
To help clean and refresh your kitchen, Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, shares everything you need to know about cleaning kitchen cabinets. Follow these easy instructions, whether you’re looking for a quick or a deep clean — and keep scrolling for our recommendations for the best multi-purpose cleaners and cabinet cleaners.
How to regularly clean cabinets
Whether your cabinets are finished wood, laminate or painted wood, consider these simple instructions to keep your kitchen looking clean and bright.
- Apply a safe, but grease-cutting all-purpose cleaner or a mixture of dish soap and water to a cloth. Ensure the cloth is damp, but not overly wet.
- Wipe both sides of the cabinet door, paying special attention to knobs and drawer pulls where you’ll likely find greasy fingerprints.
- For stuck-on grime (likely for cabinets above the stove), wrap a delicate scrub pad in a cloth and wipe clean.
- Use a damp cloth to rinse the cabinet doors until there’s no soap or cleaner residue.
- Buff dry with a microfiber cloth. If you’re using a cabinet cream for finished wood cabinets, buff afterward but also, read label directions.
How to deep clean cabinets
For a quick touch-up, you should regularly wipe your cabinet doors and knobs — but don’t neglect the inside of your kitchen cabinets and drawers forever, as they can accumulate crumbs, dust and stains. Every few months, a deep clean is in order.
- Starting from the upper cabinets and working your way down, begin emptying each cabinet and drawer. Tip: You can go one-by-one or empty a few at a time, but avoid emptying all at once.
- Using a damp microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner, wipe down the inside of the cabinet, including any shelving and the back of the cabinet door.
- Don’t forget to clean any hardware, grooves or trim where dust and grease can build-up. If your cloth can’t reach small crevices, use a small brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the area.
- Buff dry.
How often to clean kitchen cabinets
- Daily: If you splatter or spill food as you cook, it’s best to wipe up the mess with a damp cloth as soon as possible. Cleaning as you cook will make the need for a deeper clean less frequent.
- Monthly: For a quick touch-up, you can wipe the outside of your cabinets once per week using your cabinet cleaner of choice.
- One to two times per year: Every once in a while, kitchen cabinets benefit from a deeper clean, which means taking everything out and cleaning both the inside and outside of every cabinet. Our advice? Plan a deep cleaning in the fall and spring.
Associate Lifestyle Editor
Alyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish, BobVila.com, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries.