Are White Kitchen Cabinets Hard To Keep Clean? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Crisp, airy, and modern, white kitchen cabinets bring a stylish look to your kitchen. From larger homes to apartments with less natural light, white kitchen cabinets make a space look larger and brighter. There are a lot of upsides to gorgeous white cabinets, but are they hard to keep clean?

With splattering food and handprints, white kitchen cabinets can be difficult to keep clean. Take preventative measures like using a splatter screen for cooking or install a quality range hood. To avoid stains further, use a high-quality stain-blocking primer and a few thin coats of quality paint to make the color last.

White cabinets can be easily managed with a little forethought. Though they’re more work, there are many ways to ensure your white kitchen cabinets stay clean.

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Common Problems With White Cabinets

Oftentimes, white cabinets can pick up food stains from cooking. If greasy foods are prepared around them, they can absorb the vapors and be riddled with impossible to remove stains.

If the cabinets don’t have handles, they’re also likely to collect fingerprints or handprints, which can be problematic for families. They don’t handle wear-and-tear well, often leaving scuffs, stains, and cracks on full display.

Lastly, white cabinets can often go yellow over time from sun exposure, food exposure, or simply from the passage of time. These are all things to keep in mind when considering white cabinetry.

How To Repair Scuffs In White Cabinetry

If the scuff is deep into the wood, sand down the area and use a wood filler like DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Wood Filler or Minwax Color-Matched Wood Filler. Most importantly, make sure you know the exact paint shade you used on your cabinets. After you sand and fill the area, you will repaint that section. If the scuff is flush with the wood, a tiny touch-up with paint will do!

A Case For White Cabinets

Even though white cabinets may be harder to keep clean, they will also never go out of style. There’s nothing worse than investing in a style, to see if falls out of fashion in a couple of years.

White cabinets are feminine, minimalist, sunny, and provide a neutral element to the kitchen environment. This way, you can choose bold wallpaper, fun countertops, or artistic accents and they won’t possibly clash with your cabinets.

Not only that, but in small apartments, white cabinets are often crucial. They bring unparalleled brightness to the room. For a polished, airy, light finish, sometimes white cabinets are a must.

Expensive vs. Budget White Cabinets

It’s important to invest in quality when shopping for white kitchen cabinets. Materials and designs with a good finish will support the lifespan and cleanliness of your cabinets.

There are many options for less expensive kitchen cabinets, but fair warning: if you are not investing in your cabinets, it may be wise to choose a different color. Unfortunately, white cabinets will show scuffs, stains, and dings more easily than other colors.

Though keep in mind, there are many high-end brands that offer stock cabinets in white. When it comes to white cabinetry, it is more important to prioritize quality over whether they are stock or custom. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you invest in a product that you are able to keep clean.

Picking Paint

Make sure to use a high-quality stain-blocking primer and several thin coats of a high-quality paint or wood stain. Here are some trusted brands of paint, formulated for cabinets:

  • Benjamin Moore’s Advance Interior Satin Paint
  • Fine Paints of Europe Eurolux Acrylic Paint
  • Valspar Cabinet Enamel Semi-Gloss Latex Interior Paint
  • Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation System

Picking a Finish

This step is crucial to making sure your cabinets stay white. Opt for water-based products. Oftentimes satin finishes leave a great-looking cabinet and protect them effortlessly. Here are some finishes that do a great job:

  • Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finisher
  • General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat
  • Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly Finish Clear, Satin

Preventing Dirt Build-Up

With white cabinetry, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent them from getting dirty:

  • Get a splatter screen when cooking gets messy
  • Choose cabinet hardware that’s easy to use as an incentive to avoid touching the wood
  • Consider installing a high-quality range hood to ensure that vapors and smells don’t get on your cabinets
  • Protect your cabinets from direct sunlight if possible
  • Avoid super smooth wood grain that shows stains

How to Clean White Cabinets

It’s important to give your cabinets a wipe down often to avoid long term and difficult-to-remove build-up. If not, you’ll have to do a less frequent deep clean, which could mean dealing with tough stains.

Step 1: Use a gentle cleaning mix

Intense cleaners can remove the varnish or scratch your cabinets! To keep them looking pristine, opt for a gentle soap to clean them. If there is a tough stain, try to remove it with a soft sponge. To remove a yellowish hue, your cabinets can be washed with a mixture of:

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

Step 2: Use a magic eraser

When in doubt, a great way to remove scuffs is by using a magic eraser! They remove dirt, stains, dark scuffs, and more. They are truly miracle workers for banishing all kinds of stains.

Step 3: Try dish soap

Another way to make tough grease-based stains budge? Your average dish soap! Try to use a soap with a clear color and use it sparingly. Afterward, wet with a washcloth until all of the soap is gone.

Benefits of Dark Cabinets

Dark cabinets hide dirt fairly well, which makes them a great choice for families or people who love to get creative in the kitchen. There is also something regal and formal about dark cabinets, where white cabinets are crisp and fresh.

You can also achieve a dark wood look with a wood stain instead of paint. Oftentimes, a stain can achieve a longer-lasting effect, where paint can sometimes fade or chip.

Finding the Best of Both Worlds

If you can’t decide between light wood and dark wood, there are various combinations that work in a kitchen. Try incorporating matte black hardware on your white cabinets to achieve an industrial feel. Or perhaps invest in a bright, white island if you opt for darker cabinets.

Related Questions

What Kinds of Cabinets Are Easiest To Keep Clean?

Cabinets with a dark color are the easiest to keep clean, such as a deep forest green, or dark grey. Other factors to consider that make cabinets harder to clean include cabinets with multiple dimensions, a fancy finish, and/or excessive detail.There are other materials of cabinets that are easy to wipe down and can be installed in a variety of colors! Check out this piece on laminate cabinets.

What Are Some Current Cabinet Trends?

Light wood-stained cabinets are actually taking reign in 2021, but many people are also adding pops of color. When it comes to color, muted blue is taking the lead as the most coveted, though all cool tones seem to be on-trend. This includes white, grey, and green as well!

What Is The Best Hardware To Pair With White Cabinets?

A brushed gold is popular to pair with the crispness of white cabinets. Additionally, matte black hardware with an angular shape is used in many designs. The overarching trend is modern and clean, which pairs well with the classically clean white.

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In Conclusion

Owning a home, or even keeping a rental clean is a ton of work in general. There is always so much to do, and residual cleaning can be stressful over time. There are certainly many reasons to opt for dark cabinets instead of light. Perhaps you’d like to stay within a tight budget or have little kids in the house.

However, white cabinets are an investment that’s truly worth it if you love them. White cabinets will truly never be old news. Considering any color cabinet takes some amount of cleaning, white cabinets only take a bit more upkeep.

As long as you commit to regular wipe downs, choose hardware that’s easy to grab, and use our simple cleaning tips, white cabinets are not too difficult to keep clean.

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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