How To Clean Greasy Kitchen Cabinets (Quickly & Easily!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

I have a confession to make: I love cooking up a greasy breakfast. It’s a vice of mine, big time. And when I cook with a lot of oil and bacon, the grease crackles and flies all over the cabinets. After my cooking sessions, my cabinets are a royal mess. The good news is, there are a couple of handy ways that you can clean greasy cabinets without losing your mind. Wanna know the secrets?

The best cabinet cleaner for greasy cabinets is to use a solution made of equal parts water and white vinegar. To use it, dip a microfiber cloth or paper towel in the solution and wipe down the cabinets. The vinegar should be able to clear up the grease without streaking it.

That’s all that needs to be done in order to cut through most greasy cabinets, but there are still other things you need to be aware of. This guide is here to help show you the ropes…

Do You Need a Maid Service?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Are There Any Other Wood Cleaners That Wipe Away Grease?

When it comes to grease stains, your options are slightly more limited than a typical mess. If it were a matter of dust or mildew, you might be able to get most cleaners to work. Grease, on the other hand, can gum up or get even stickier if you use the wrong cleaner. It’s a nightmare. If you want to use a cleaner that’s not vinegar for your cabinetry, consider the following:

  • Dish Soap. Dish soap, when diluted with water, is one of the most versatile cleaning agents money can buy. Along with being able to clean Blender Bottles in a pinch, dish soap can cut through grease and grime
  • Goo Gone. This classic cleaning agent has been a go-to for exceptionally greasy cabinets for years. Because it is so powerful, it’s best to reserve this for messes that are exceptionally bad. It can actually be a little harsh on more delicate stains and paint jobs, which is why it should be a last resort.
  • All-Purpose Cleaner. If you ever see something labeled “All-Purpose Cleaner” in your grocery aisle, chances are that it was low-key made with the idea of getting grease off cupboards in mind. Just trust us on this, it’ll work.
  • Oil Soap. Believe it or not, oil soap actually works remarkably well as a grease cutter. Most people who have exceptionally greasy kitchen cabinets have a bottle of Murphy’s Oil Soap in their drawers because of this unique talent.
  • Baking Soda. Have a really nasty stain of grease that just won’t quit? Go for a mixture of baking soda dissolved in water. Just spray it on and wipe it down. This works best as a spot cleaner, though.
  • Ammonia. Diluted ammonia is one of the most effective ways to clean grease off of anything, but there’s a catch. This cleaner can be quite rough on certain materials.

How Do You Use These Wood Cleaners To Remove Grease?

Truth be told, if you’re using a commercial cleaner, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to how you should use them. The best way to get good results is to just follow the instructions given on the packaging. In most cases, the company that manufactures the cleaner will know how to best use the product.

Cabinet Cleaning By Furniture Type

One of the best ways to make sure that you get the best possible clean out of your work is to choose the right cleaning agent for the material that your kitchen cabinets are made of. Here’s what you need to know about each cabinetry material and the best choice for each of them:

Wooden Cabinets

Wooden cabinets are best served by a vinegar cleaner, Murphy’s Oil Soap, baking soda, or an all-purpose cleaner. With that said, if you have antique cabinets that haven’t been waxed or polished recently, you may need to skip on all-purpose cleaner as it can be too harsh.

Laminate Cabinets

Now that wood is becoming increasingly pricey, many people are starting to switch to laminate for their cabinetry. Thankfully, laminate is remarkably easy to clean. Like with most other cabinets, you can use all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, and baking soda. However, this option also makes it possible to get your cabinets to look spotless through the use of ammonia.

Faux Wood

Do you have a wooden cabinet that’s actually particle board and a pretty decal on top? While it’s not ideal, these cabinets can be pretty easy to clean in some respects. With this type of cabinetry, stick to an all-purpose cleaner, do not let the solution sit for too long, and wipe it down as soon as you can. Get a rag to dry it, as prolonged moisture can harm this material significantly.

Metal Cabinets

If you ever worked in a kitchen setting, then you might have seen stainless steel cabinetry or metal cabinets. Metal cabinets are best treated with Goo Gone, vinegar, or all-purpose cleaner. These are one of the few cabinet types where you can use an abrasive brush to clean them without much problem. Saying they’re made for grease isn’t a stretch.

Granite Cabinets

Granite cabinetry is a little rare, and in most cases, you’ll see this solely relegated to countertops. Even so, we’re going to include it here because it’s easy to clean. Most granite will work well with Goo Gone, all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, and baking soda. Do not use ammonia, as this can actually wreck the seal on stone countertops.

How Do You Prevent Grease Stains On Cabinets?

Like with most things cleaning-related, grease stains are better prevented than cleaned up. While it’s not always possible to prevent them, following these tips below can cut your cleaning time significantly:

  • Make a point of lowering your cooking temperature whenever possible. Lower cooking temperatures will lead to fewer splatters, which leads to less stuff splattering all over your cabinets.
  • Use a lid to cover your pots and pans. It’s common sense, but it can save a lot of time when it comes to your cleanup. Obviously, not all recipes will allow for this but it’s worth a shot.
  • Consider switching to a crock-pot for most of your recipes. Some crock-pots are dishwasher-safe, and they slow cook food beautifully. They also don’t splatter, which means that you won’t have to deal with as much grease.
  • Turn on your vent. This is surprisingly good for helping limit the amount of grease that ends up clinging to your cabinetry.  However, the efficiency that your vent can suck up grease-filled air is what will make or break this technique.

What Are The Easiest Cabinets To Clean?

Believe it or not, the creation process of your cabinetry is what makes all the difference here. If you want to get easy-to-clean cabinets, opt for cabinetry that has a baked-on finish. The heat treatment ensures that your cabinetry finish won’t peel off, and also gives your cabinet a smooth surface. The end result is a surface that’s easy to scrub, and easier to clean.

A close second to baked cabinetry is painted cabinetry. Painted cabinetry, though, is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can often show grime faster and more noticeably than other cabinetry types. On the other hand, the paint makes this cabinet easy to wipe down. As long as you have a good finish and the paint is well-maintained, you shouldn’t have a problem.

When picking a cabinet type, avoid ones that have lots of grooves and dips, as this can make it harder to clean.

Do You Need a Maid Service?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

What cabinet colors don’t go out of style?

If you want to keep your cabinetry looking timeless, then don’t pick bold colors. A better move would be to choose neutral colors that don’t have strong gold, red, or blue undertones. These types of colors work with everything and are more likely to withstand drastic changes in design trends.Light tints are often the best, but you can also do fairly well with a dark grey paint job, too. When in doubt, opt for a white cabinet set that has a traditional or modern look.

What’s the best way to clean cabinets without streaking?

A streak-free shine is a happy shine, and thankfully, it’s a lot more attainable than most people make it out to be. To get rid of grease stains on your cabinet without streaking, opt for vinegar. Vinegar evaporates right off the wood, which means that you won’t have to worry about residue.If the vinegar still streaks, it means you have more residue from the grease. Just sponge up more of the grease and use more vinegar. As long as you’re diligent about removing the grease, you should be good to go.

Can you use steel wool on cabinets?

Steel wool is one of the most abrasive scrubbers out there, and should not be used on most cabinetry as it can scratch finishes. If you want to use it on stainless steel, that’s a different story. However, most woods and laminates are not going to handle it.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

More by Ossiana Tepfenhart