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How Do You Clean Cabinets Without Removing the Finish?

Cleaning kitchen cabinets is not many people’s favorite part of cleaning, but it needs to be done. However, many cabinets have a finish that you don’t want to damage while cleaning, as this can cause you more problems. So, how do you clean kitchen cabinets without removing the finish? 

Removing the finish on the cabinets can be a scary thought, but you can avoid it by cleaning your kitchen cabinets with warm water, mild dish soap, and a microfiber cloth. This will be strong enough to give your cabinets a thorough clean but gentle enough not to damage the finish.

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How do you prepare your kitchen cabinets for cleaning? Can you use a multipurpose cleaner to clean your kitchen cabinets? This article will cover all there is to know about cleaning your kitchen cabinets without removing the finish. 

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Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing The Finish

No matter where you reside or who you live with, cleaning kitchens and kitchen cabinets will always be a part of your life. 

For many people, cleaning their kitchen cabinets is part of their regular weekly cleaning routine, while for others, kitchen cabinet cleaning is only done once every few months as part of a deep clean for the home. 

However, you will need to clean your kitchen cabinets at some point. This can be a big job as you need to empty the cabinets, clean them, and then repack them again, which is why you want to ensure it gets done right the first time. 

One thing that can worry many people about cleaning their kitchen cabinets is the finish on the cabinets. The very last thing anyone wants is to turn a cleaning job into something bigger by removing or ruining the finish on the cabinets, especially if you are renting the space. 

Thankfully, there are methods and cleaning products you can use to safely clean your kitchen cabinets without removing or damaging the finish. Let’s go through the best way to clean your kitchen cabinets while protecting the finish. 

Prepare Your Kitchen Cabinets 

Before you clean your kitchen cabinets, you must prepare them for the process. This is a relatively simple process, but it can take a while to do. So, ensure you have enough time to clean your kitchen cabinets properly. 

To prepare your kitchen cabinets for cleaning, you must empty them. You might want to wipe off all the contents of the cabinets as you take them out. This will eliminate any extra dust, dirt, or dried food products, which can help keep your cabinets clean when you place everything back into them. 

Prepare Your Cleaning Supplies

Once you have cleared out your kitchen cabinets and wiped everything, you can now move on to preparing your cleaning supplies for the cabinets. The best way to clean your cabinets, no matter their finish, is to use a simple mixture of warm water and dish soap. 

You should ensure the dish soap has a scent you enjoy, as you will be smelling it for a while after cleaning your cabinets. The dish soap is strong enough to clean dirt, grim, and even some stubborn marks off the cabinet walls, but it’s still gentle enough not to damage the finish. 

Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm water and add some drops of dish soap into the water. Mix the soap into the water to ensure it’s fully incorporated. You can use a microfiber cloth to soak up the water and soap mixture. 

Microfiber cloths are perfect for cleaning out your kitchen cabinets, as they are soft enough not to damage the finish, but they will easily pick up all the dirt, making cleaning easier as you don’t need to do multiple passes on one area to get it clean. 

Conduct A Spot Test On Your Kitchen Cabinets

Once you have all your cleaning supplies ready and the cabinets are empty, you need to perform a spot test on your kitchen cabinets. This is to ensure that the soap you have chosen will not damage the finish on the cabinets. 

It’s better to test this, as it’s easy to fish a small patch of finish on the cabinets compared to the entire cabinet, should anything go wrong. To conduct a spot test, all you do is wipe down one small area of the cabinets as you would when you clean them. 

Then check to see if the soap damaged the finish in any way. Allow the spot to dry, and check the area again to be sure. If no damage has occurred, you can begin cleaning your kitchen cabinets. If there was damage, you might need to try a different, more sensitive dish soap. 

Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets

You can begin cleaning the cabinets thoroughly when you have established that the warm water and dish soap mixture will not damage your kitchen cabinets. You need to ensure you clean every inch of the cabinets inside

This will help prevent a build-up of dirt and grim, making your next kitchen cabinet cleaning easier. This will also allow you to leave more time in between cleaning your cabinets. So, ensure you do it properly this time. You can also give the outside of the cabinets a good wipe to get rid of dust and oils from hands touching them. 

Allow The Cabinets To Dry Before Repacking Them 

Once you have cleaned all your kitchen cabinets, it can be tempting to start packing all your things back into them, but this part should wait a little while. You must allow the kitchen cabinets to dry entirely before repacking them. 

This will help ensure the cabinets stay clean and help inhibit mold from growing in the cabinets, which could become a huge problem later. So, leave the cabinets open to dry for about 30 minutes, and then you can begin repacking them with your things. 

Can You Use Multipurpose Cleaner To Safely Clean Kitchen Cabinets? 

Most people want to know if they can use multipurpose cleaners to clean their kitchen cabinets, as this is the cleaning material that is common in every household. If you have a gentle multipurpose cleaner with a neutral pH level, this should be fine and should not damage the finish on the cabinets. 

However, it is always best to do a spot test to be sure. Any other strength of multipurpose cleaner is not recommended for finished cabinets, as it could damage the finish, depending on the finish type. 

However, dish soap is an effective alternative that will leave your cabinets spotless and smelling great should you not wish to take the chance. 


Cleaning your kitchen cabinets is a long job, but it needs to be done to keep your kitchen clean and help keep you healthy. Cleaning your kitchen cabinets doesn’t require any special cleaning products that can cost a lot, but you can clean them with the things you probably already have in your house.

Warm water and mild dish soap will work perfectly for this and keep the cabinets’ finish looking fresh and clean too. Good luck cleaning your kitchen cabinets!

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