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December 28, 2021 5 min read

No matter how clean you keep your kitchen, you probably don’t have the time to wipe down your cabinets every day. In fact, it’s tempting to ignore them altogether until there’s a visible mess. But over time, food and grease can accumulate on your cabinets, making them sticky and hard to clean.

Below, you’ll find the best advice on how to safely clean your kitchen cabinets, using all sorts of things you probably already have around the house.

How to Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen Cabinets

There are simple and gentle ways to clean your cabinets yourself without going out and buying fancy products to cut through the grease. And since there are multiple ways to create a DIY cabinet cleaner, you don’t need all of these supplies.


Depending on the methods you choose below, you will need at least some of the following supplies:

  •         Baking soda
  •         Dish soap (blue Dawn is recommended)
  •         White vinegar
  •         An orange
  •         A soft or old toothbrush
  •         Sponge
  •         Toothpaste
  •         Castile soap
  •         Linseed oil
  •         A large bowl
  •         A spray bottle


Here are 5 easy methods for getting your kitchen cabinets nice and clean:

Method 1 - How to Clean Sticky Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets With Dish Soap

  1. First, fill a bowl with warm water and add a few squirts of blue Dawn dish soap.
  2. Mix it around so it forms a bubbly solution (using your hand, if that’s all that’s available)
  3. Now, take your sponge and soak it in the mixture, wringing out the excess and use it to wipe down the sticky areas on your cabinets.
  4. Let the solution sit for about a minute so it can cut through tough grease, and then scrub and areas with build-up.
  5. If you have any stubborn, greasy areas, grab a toothbrush so you can add some extra pressure and friction.
  6. Now, dip your sponge in the soapy water and sprinkle it with a bit of baking soda.
  7. Gently scrub down the cabinets, being careful not to add too much pressure if they’re painted.  
  8. If a white paste forms on the cabinets, simply add more soapy water.
  9. Finally, dampen a cloth with a bit of vinegar and tap water to remove all of the soap residue.


If you need a more abrasive method, you can dry it with just the baking soda, as you can see in Method #2. 

Method 2 - Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets With Baking Soda

  1. Start by creating a paste of baking soda and water. Add a few tablespoons of soda to a bowl and then mix in water until you get the right consistency. (You want it a bit on the thicker side and not runny.
  2. Dip a toothbrush into the paste mixture.*
  3. Now, gently scrub the sticky area on your cabinets.
  4. Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes.
  5. Follow it up with another gentle scrub.
  6. Then, wipe the area down with a damp cloth.
  7. If your cabinets are made of wood, you will want to make sure they don’t dry out in areas. So, apply a bit of linseed oil to a cloth and re-moisturize the areas you scrubbed. (You can also rub it over the entire cabinet area.)


*If you have an orange available, you can cut an orange in half and dip the cut side in baking soda to use as a scrubber. Just make sure to rinse it well before applying the oil.


If you have a spray bottle handy and more surface area to cover, you may prefer Method #3.

Method 3 - Remove Grease on Kitchen Cabinets With Homemade Vinegar Spray

  1. In a spray bottle mix 2 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of blue Dawn dish soap.*
  2. Shake gently to mix.
  3. Now, spray down your sticky cabinets.
  4. Use a clean sponge to help wipe away the grime.
  5. If you have stubborn areas, grab a toothbrush to do some more focused scrubbing.
  6. When you’re done, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any residue.
  7. If your cabinets are wood, you’ll want to apply a bit of linseed oil to add shine and moisture back to the area.

*While you can substitute other dish soaps, the blue Dawn dish soap is the most effective. The next best thing is castile soap. Just remember with castile soap, less is more. Therefore, you'll only need 1 tablespoon of castile soap for this recipe.


If you don’t have the right dish soap or castile soap laying around, you can use the toothpaste method.

Method 4 - How to Clean Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets With Toothpaste

  1. Start by mixing 1 cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon of white toothpaste, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Use your finger or a spoon to mix it well.
  3. Now, dip a sponge in the mixture and use it to scrub down your cabinets.
  4. Rinse off any residue with a damp cloth until it’s all gone.

Of course, some cabinets really like to hold onto grease and grime. If that’s the case, you might need to bring in a heavy-hitter such as orange oil.

Method 5 – Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets Using Orange Oil

If the grease on your cabinets is tough and home remedies aren't working, it’s time to bust out the store-bought cleaners. The best one to try is an orange oil cleaner.


All you need to do in this case is follow the instructions on the container you purchased and let the orange oil do its work to cut through residual or stubborn sticky and greasy areas that are bothering you.


Chances are that once you start cleaning, you’ll realize that your cabinets are dirtier than you thought!

Recommended Products to Remove Sticky Residue From Wood Cabinets

While you can use any materials you have in your home, we recommend these items if you need to do a bit of shopping for supplies:


Howard Orange Oil Click here to purchase.

This will leave your cabinets shiny AND smelling fresh and clean.


U.S. Art Supply Refined Linseed Oil Click here to purchase.

This linseed oil has a nice, even finish.


Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Original Scent Click here to purchase.

There’s a reason it’s a classic – it works to cut grease on dishes AND kitchen cabinets.


The Importance of Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets

Even in the most pristine kitchens, simple steam can carry foodstuffs and other elements around the kitchen to settle on hard-to-reach surfaces. Not to mention the constant and unavoidable scourge of dust build-up.


Cabinets can become hard to clean if left without attention over time and the build-up gets thicker. The methods above are some of the more gentle ways to clean your cabinets. Just be sure that you don’t scrub too hard on painted surfaces or cabinets with a gloss coating. And if you’re working on wood, you’ll likely want to recondition them with oil after using anything abrasive or chemical.


Just remember two things when you tackle this job:

1)      Never leave your cabinets soaking wet for more than a few minutes

2)      Remove any substance you use to clean the cabinets with water or a water and vinegar mixture when you’re done.


And there you have it! The secret to a TRULY clean kitchen!

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