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I just bought a house with some dirty (greasy, grimy, dusty, &c.) wooden kitchen cabinets. What is the best way to clean them? I've read that paint thinner works well, however, I am afraid that will damage the finish. Can you recommend some good cleaning products?

Suggestions for regular maintenance cleaning would be appreciated, however, I am really looking for advice on a one-time, heavy duty cleaning.

  • What kind of finish is on your cabinets? Paint,varnish, urethane????? – shirlock homes Jun 12 '11 at 22:34
  • @shirlock: I am not sure, but it looks like urethane. – ESultanik Jun 12 '11 at 22:40
  • try some Dawn dish soap and water first, if that doesn't work we'll get nastier! lol – shirlock homes Jun 12 '11 at 22:42
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Ok serious answer. If in fact they are urethane, start with Dawn. If that isn't quite strong enough, step up to Barkeeper's Friend powdered cleaner. It will clean and polish most anything and not scratch the urethane finish.

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    +1 for Barkeeper's Friend. That stuff is amazing on stainless steel. – BMitch Jun 12 '11 at 23:07
  • The secret to Barkeeper's friend is acyclic acid. It works great on grease, scum , paint, urethane, fiberglass, window glass, Stainless, chrome the list goes on. I use it for a lot of prefinishing, love the stuff!! – shirlock homes Jun 13 '11 at 21:22
  • I ended up using a combination of Dawn and Parker & Bailey Cabinet Cream, which did the job. Thanks! – ESultanik Jun 21 '11 at 14:26
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You will never go wrong with decent Degreaser.. by decent i mean the one you buy at the autobody shop that sells car paints, thinners, and all that jazz. By decent i mean high concentrate used to pre clean surfaces before painting on car body parts. Spray that stuff (small quantities even) and it dissolves everything that is biological and did not get shipped with the new product. It is safest way of removing tough grime (even 10 year old engine oil!). I would advise wearing gloves and goggles as i had some in my eye by mistake.. ouch!

You said 'urethane' - I guess that's gloss finish? If its wood.. it more complicated as you dont want to dampen it. So just small steps and lots of air to dry it.

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First is to wipe off all the dust and debris in the kitchen cabinet. For the stubborn grease and grime, try a degreaser- Goo Gone All Purpose Cleaner is a good one. (make sure to wear gloves because they can cause an allergic reaction if you have sensitive skin) OR you can also DIY with a damp cloth and undiluted vinegar. Wipe the greasy surface until all the grease comes off. Let the kitchen cabinets dry completely by keeping the doors open.

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