How To Clean & Remove Grease From Wood Cabinets Without Damage

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Greasy wooden cabinets, or indeed, any kind of furniture that is greasy is a definitive eyesore. It sneaks up on you soundlessly. and before you know it, your wooden cabinets are oily and lackluster, in addition to retaining most of the dirt and grime that settles on them.

Kitchens, in particular, are no stranger to this phenomenon. Understandably susceptible to grease, kitchen cabinets require that extra bit of upkeep that other items in the home might not.

It took me a while to realize it myself. The kitchen used to be my least favorite place in the house—it was depressingly crowded at times, the cabinet handles had an unhealthy sheen. After months of not being able to put my finger on the exact malady, I decided to give it a deep clean.

And lo and behold, it worked wonders! The countertops shone, the air had a pleasing lemony fragrance, and best of all—the wooden cabinets were aglow, sans any grease.


Methods to Remove Grease From Wood Cabinets

1. Remove Grease Using Dish soap and water

Create a solution using dish soap and water. I would personally suggest using liquid soap, as this leads to a better consistency of the solution and does not require a long and tedious process of stirring to ensure the lumps are all gone.

Use a sponge or a washcloth, to lather the solution onto your wood cabinets. Scrub gently in a circular motion. Steel wool can be used for a particularly stubborn grease stain. Exercise caution, however. Steel wool is abrasive and often leaves behind indelible scratches.

Once the greasy top layer has been removed, give the cabinets a light swipe with plain water, and let the moisture dry.

Pro Tip: A mild brand of dish soap is recommended for use. Stronger varieties might lead to unwanted bleaching or peeling.

2. Remove Grease using Baking Soda and Water

Another homemade remedy to get grease stains out of furniture, a solution of baking soda and water that might be able to do the trick when soap fails.

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Baking soda is an alkaline substance, with a pH of 8.3. When mixed in a solution with water, it has the ability to both cleanse and bleach. When using this solution on wooden cabinets, care must be taken to ensure that the solution is not too saturated with the compound. 3 tablespoons in a cup of water should suffice.

Apply the solution onto the surface of the cabinet, taking care to spread it evenly. There are two alternatives—one can either let it evaporate (baking soda is effervescent), or wipe the remnants away with water and a clean washcloth.

In the eventuality of dirt or grime that is more stubbornly lodged in a corner or a crevice, scrubbing with a toothbrush has been proven to give results.

3. Remove Grease Using Goo Gone

Goo Gone Kitchen Degreaser is many things—an efficient invention, a carefully compiled foaming formula, an answer to a prayer. Mostly the latter.

Goo Gone contains petroleum distillates which are hydrocarbon solvents produced from crude oil. It has been designed especially to eliminate grease from various kinds of surfaces- metal, wood, glass.

It also makes the process of cleaning very quick—the foaming formula needs to be kept on the concerned surface for a mere two minutes at most before it can be wiped off. Once can use fabric, a sponge, or even a tissue or paper towel.

Keep in mind, however, that petroleum distillates should not be inhaled. If so, they will enter the lungs and might cause permanent damage and inflammation.

4. Deep Cleaning Using Murphy’s Oil Soap Wood Cleaner

In the eventuality that none of the previous methods have borne fruitful results, it is time to bust out the big guns. And by that, I mean the popular Murphy Oil Soap.

Safe and non-toxic (except when ingested), this particular compound is a heady mix of several components. The list includes citronella oil, sodium tallate, tetrasodium EDTA, and Lauramidopropylamine Oxide.

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The actual process is far simpler—a dab of the product is all you need. Apply on the affected area, and wipe away with a dry washcloth after a sufficient waiting period. In case of a larger surface area, mix one-quarter or even half a cup of the oil soap in a gallon of water. Use the solution to clean.

The oil ought to be allowed some time to be able to be properly soaked in by the wood. Using one’s fingers to rub the area to warm it up is a good idea. Finish by buffing with a soft cloth.

5. Use of a Magic Eraser to Remove Ink Stains and Indelible Food Stains

A Magic Eraser can be used on many different surfaces to remove many different kinds of marks—it is not exclusive to wood cabinets or grease stains only.

But avoid using it on wood paneling or finished wood surfaces. Magic Eraser is by nature an abrasive and compound and can cause the material to be stripped off.

As obvious from the sub-heading, a Magic Eraser can be used to deal with both ink (as well as crayon or paint) stains and food stains. Both categories require careful tending to—one must make sure that the stain does not expand.

Dab a little bit onto a cloth, and rub it against the grain of the wood for optimum results.

Do NOT use the eraser directly, as the direct application may prove too harsh for the surface.

Methods to Avoid:

The following techniques, although often recommended by friends and the internet, are not to be implemented when removing grease off of a wooden cabinet.

1. Olive Oil and Baking soda

Even though baking soda is a natural cleaner and disinfectant, in combination with olive oil it is quite the opposite.

Olive oil is a non-dry oil, which entails that the oil sticks to surfaces and congeals to form a sheen that does not dry. When applied to the surface of wood, the very same thing happens. This leads to the eventual settling of dust and dirt on the perpetually oily surface.

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2. Vinegar

Another natural disinfectant that unfortunately does not hold for wooden surfaces, vinegar is a bleaching agent that is acidic in nature. It is abrasive both as an undiluted compound as well as when mixed with water. although decidedly less so in the case of the latter.

Steer clear of it when cleaning and disinfecting wood cabinets—the liquid may ruin a finished surface or paneling.

Polish After Cleaning

The last step to keep in mind when cleaning the wood is polishing. This is a multifaceted aspect, with various options that one can choose from.

There is, of course, store-bought wood polish that can be easily applied to preserve the finish and induce a sheen. Alternatively, making use of a commercially prepared lemon oil works wonders too. The oil is a drying compound and soon evaporates from the surface—leaving behind a discernible shine but no grease.

Homemade polishes are not a bad idea, either. A coconut oil mix often is exactly what dull wood needs. Rub it on the surface with a cloth, taking care that you do not apply too much. Beeswax is another easily available, environment-friendly option. These natural products act as effective polishes without being toxic.

Once you are done polishing the cabinets, your job is done. Some handy products bought at the store or whipped up at home, and some elbow grease can help you keep your wooden cabinets in good shape.

Written by Pulkit D

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