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 4 Easy Ways to Clean Sticky Wood Cabinets

If you already boast beautiful new Quartz countertops, you probably don’t need this post. However, if you’re somebody who has inherited some grimey old wood cabinets, covered in centuries worth of grease, then you’re definitely going to want to stick around!


As time passes, layers of grease and residue just naturally build up in any kitchen on all surfaces, especially wooden surfaces. It mixes with dust, and the stickiness starts to get worse and worse. When this happens, it, sure enough, becomes close to impossible to remove. However, if you possess the right cleaning product and the right technique, it can be done easily!  

In this article, I want to discuss the best way to remove greasy residue on the surface of your sticky wooden cabinets, and maybe even leave you with a few tips to ensure you keep them clean after the work put in. 

Whether you’ve had a kitchen mishap, inherited an old kitchen, or are waiting for your new upgrade, we’re going to help you fall in love with the true beauty of your wooden kitchen, without any residue. 

Please bear in mind that the below-cleaning tips should be followed with care and tested in an inconspicuous area before you start. 

 Why Clean Wooden Kitchen Cabinets?

Although the answer seems pretty obvious – cleaning your kitchen cabinets plays a huge role in keeping your entire home clean. But, there’s also another reason – and it revolves around the fact that it can save you a lot of money in the long run. 

Kitchens are usually one of the most active working rooms in an entire house, so it’s essential to boast cabinets that can even last past the whopping 50-year mark. Kitchen replacements are super expensive, and probably something that you want to avoid. However, if you don’t properly maintain your kitchen cabinets, you will definitely be looking at a replacement sooner than you initially thought. 

 The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Sticky Wood Cabinets  

Cleaning cabinets

Cleaning sticky cabinets filled with grease may seem a bit daunting at first, but I can assure you that it isn’t hard at all. You don’t need to run out and get harsh chemicals or any commercial cleaners. In fact, you probably have most of the materials required inside your sticky cabinets! 

Let’s get started and find out how to remove kitchen residue with four easy methods. 

First up, supplies! 


When it comes to cleaning sticky wood cabinets, you’re going to need the basics: 

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap 
  • White vinegar
  • Orange
  • A soft or old toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Toothpaste
  • Castile soap
  • Large bowl
  • Linseed oil
  • Spray bottle
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 Cleaning Sticky Wood Cabinets With Dish Soap

Cleaning cabinets with dish soap

When anybody tries to remove any kind of unexpected mess, they usually reach for the dish soap first and foremost. Dish soap is perfect for greasy residue, and some brands like Blue Dawn are able to work wonders in getting even grease that’s up to a year old from your sticky cabinets. In addition to this, it’s super gentle, and you don’t have to worry about hurting the finish on the wood. 

dawn dish soap on wooden cabinets

Here is method number one: 

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and add a few squirts of dish soap.
  2. Use your hand to mix it around.
  3. Take your sponge and wipe down the sticky areas.
  4. Let it sit for about a minute and scrub the areas with the grease.
  5. If it doesn’t come up right away, grab your toothbrush.
  6. Dip it in the soapy water and then a bit of baking soda.
  7. Gently scrub the sticky spot.
  8. Add a bit more of the soapy water as necessary.
  9. Dampen a cloth with a bit of vinegar and water to remove soap residue.

Cleaning Sticky Cabinets With Baking Soda

If method one of using dish soap didn’t work, or you’re dealing with a sticky cabinet that requires a bit more scrubbing power, then baking soda is going to be the hero of the day. Similar to dish soap, baking soda won’t hurt your wooden finish as it isn’t abrasive. 

For method two, the baking soda method, follow the instructions below: 

  1. Create a paste of baking soda and water. You want it a bit on the thicker side and not runny.
  2. Dip your toothbrush in the paste.
  3. Gently scrub at the sticky area.
  4. Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes.
  5. Give it another gentle scrub.
  6. Wipe the area down with a damp cloth.
  7. 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.
  8. If you have an orange available, you can cut an orange in half and dip it in baking soda to scrub the area rather than making a paste and using a toothbrush. Just make sure to rinse it well before applying the oil.
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Homemade Vinegar Spray to Remove Grease of Sticky Cabinets

Let’s face it, we know that vinegar can be used for everything, however, it is highly acidic. This means that you’ll never want to spray it directly on your wooden cabinets, as it could eventually end up harming the finish. In addition, diluted vinegar isn’t the best at removing a sticky mess, so you will probably need to go for the 1-2 punch combo, and add a bit of dish soap into the mix. 

  1. In a spray bottle mix, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of Dawn.
  2. Shake to mix.
  1. Spray down the sticky cabinet.
  1. Wipe the grime away with a sponge.
  1. Gently scrub the toothbrush over stubborn areas.
  1. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any residue.
  1. Apply a bit of linseed oil to add shine.

 The Toothpaste & Baking Soda Method 

As it turns out, toothpaste isn’t just good for brushing your teeth and calming down burns. In fact, it can be a great substance used when it comes to fighting cabinet grease. However, bear in mind that toothpaste alone isn’t enough, you’re going to need to grab some baking soda and mix it in too. 

 To make this grease-fighting concoction:

  1. Mix 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of white toothpaste, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
  2. Use your finger or a spoon to mix it well.
  3. Dip a sponge in the mixture and scrub down your cabinets.
  4. Rinse with a damp cloth until all residue is gone.
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 Give Orange Oil Cleaner a Go

Sometimes, sticky cabinet grease may be challenging, and home remedies may just not be enough. In this case, burst out the orange oil cleaner. Ensure you follow the instructions on the container, and remove any residual or stubborn sticky areas. 

 Tips to Care for Sticky Wooden Cabinets

  • Don’t be afraid of basic everyday cleaning 
  • Wipe spills as soon as they happen
  • Avoid any excessive moisture 
  • Avoid temperature and humidity extremes 
  • Avoid light damage 
  • Avoid exposure to harsh commercial cleaners


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