How To Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen Cabinets: Step-by-Step Guide

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How To Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen 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 sticky wood kitchen cabinets, covered in centuries worth of grease and fingerprints, 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 like your cabinets. 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.

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Why Do Wooden Kitchen Cabinets Feel So Greasy

Kitchen cabinets are placed in one of the most used areas in the house that get touched the most. The handles and the drawers will feel the most greasy out of all the areas. When we cook, the grease circulates in the air and gets attached to the cabinet surface. The kids will have grease on their hands and go straight into the draws while rubbing their hands against the handles and knobs.

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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. 

How to Clean Sticky Grease Off  Wood Kitchen Cabinets  

wooden kitchen cabinets


Cleaning sticky grease off wood kitchen 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. 

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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

Each required item will be listed at each cleaning method that you will need.

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1. How To Clean 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.
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2. How To Clean 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. The Baking soda will also help to remove any odors that might be trapped in the cabinets.

Making the baking soda paste will mess your kitchen counter up, so you can line your kitchen countertop with paper towels to help the clean-up process to be faster. 

Things Needed:

  • Baking soda
  • bowl
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Toothbrush

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.


Cleaning Your Cabinets With Baking Soda And Lemon Mixed

The cleaning process above only involves baking soda to clean your wooden kitchen cabinets. This adjusted cleaning method will help boost the baking soda cleaning process by adding lemon juice to the mixture or cutting a physical lemon and rubbing it on the cabinets.

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Cleaning Method:

  1. Half a bowl with warm water.
  2. Add 1 cup of baking soda to it, then pour 1 cup of lemon juice into the mixture.
  3. You can either pour the lemon juice into the mixture or cut a few lemons and rub them all over the kitchen cabinets, especially where you see a lot of greases.
  4. If you rub the lemons on the cabinets, leave it for half hour then go back and scrub the cabinets with the sponge
  5. If you mix the lemon juice with the water and baking soda, you can go straight ahead and clean the cabinets.
  6. Wash the cabinets off with warm water when you are done to remove the lemon smell.


3. How To Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen Cabinets With White Vinegar

Let’s face it, we know that white 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.

Supplies Needed:

  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle
  • Sponge
  • Microfibre Cloth

Cleaning Process:

  1. In a spray bottle mix, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap.
  2. Shake to mix.
  3. Spray down the sticky cabinet.
  4. Wipe the grime away with a sponge.
  5. Gently scrub the toothbrush over stubborn areas.
  6. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any residue.
  7. Apply a bit of linseed oil to add shine.
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4. Cleaning Your Wooden Kitchen Cabinet With Murphy’s Oil Soap

Murphy’s oil soap is a great cleaning product when it comes to removing grease and other things on wooden furniture or leather. This product is the best known for cleaning wood surfaces like your hardwood floors, so cleaning sticky greasy kitchen cabinets will be a breeze.  Removing the grease build up your kitchen cabinets is too priority to save them from having dark spots when the grease sticks to the cabinets, so let’s get to cleaning.

Things Need:

  • Sponge
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap
  • Medium Sized Bowl

Cleaning Method:

  1. Add Half cups of murphy’s oil soap to the bowl.
  2. Half the bowl with warm water and mix it around.
  3. The murphy’s oil soap will have a smell to it, but that is natural and won’t stay on the cabinets.
  4. Wet the sponge in the bowl and scrub the cabinets down.
  5. Went the desired clean look is achieved, use the microfiber cloth or paper towel to wipe the cabinets off.
  6. You can use clean warm water to wash off the cabinets when you are done with a clean sponge to remove any residue of grease or soap.

Now you can leave the cabinets to fully dry and see the hard work that you have just done.

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How To Put Handles On Cabinets

Base on how sticky and greasy your kitchen cabinets were. You most likely would have someone remove the handles on the cabinets to clean behind them before you started to clean them. It could have been your husband or a friend and they are no longer at home, but you want your clean kitchen cabinets to be up and running again. If you are installing the same handles back on the kitchen cabinets, the only thing you will need is a Phillips head screwdriver to screw them back in. Place the screw in the holes you see on the cabinets and then bring the handles in. Slowly screw the screw so it won’t get stripped.

Installing new handles on your cabinets is easy, but requires the right length screws, most times when you order new cabinet handles, they will send two different lengths of screws to choose from base on how thick the cabinet doors or drawers are. Just choose the right length and follow the same procedures about replacing or cleaning your cabinet’s handles.


How Do You Clean Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing The Finish

Cleaning your kitchen cabinets without removing the finish can be really tricky. This will involve a very delicate cleaning process that doesn’t involve a brush that will literally scrape off the surface. If your cabinets have a textured finish, this will make the process a little harder. So here is the method I want you to try

  1. In a spray bottle, add water to it until it is full.
  2. Spray down the grime on the cabinets and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  3.  Use a Mr clean magic eraser to wipe off the grime or use a very soft toothbrush in the groves.
  4. A soft cloth will help to remove all the dirt buildup in the textures. A microfiber cloth would work great.
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 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.

 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 Wooden Kitchen Cabinets To Make Them Last Longer And Protect Them From Sticky Grease

Don’t be afraid of basic everyday cleaning.

At the end of each day, you can take a paper towel and wipe the cabinets with some warm water from the kitchen sink. This will remove any dust or grease that might have got on the cabinets throughout the day.

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Wipe spills as soon as they happen.

This is a great practice to keep your cabinets looking brand new all the time. As soon as you see a mark or stain on it, wipe it off to prevent future damage if you wait until the weekend to clean it.

Avoid any excessive moisture. 

Some cabinets are not made of real wood. These types of kitchen cabinets are easy to get damaged by too much water. Avoid leaving water on them when cleaning the cabinets and watch the steam from pots that get on the cabinets.

Avoid exposure to harsh commercial cleaners.

Not every chemical is good for your cabinets. You would never want to use bleach on your kitchen cabinets because it will strip and change the colors. Even if the cabinet is really sticky with grease, use something else like Goo Gone to clean them.



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