Whether you have a newly designed kitchen and bath or just want to learn how to ensure your cabinets and countertops stay looking their best, you’ve landed in the right spot. Despite what many advertisements for cleaning products tell you, maintaining the ‘like new’ finish on your cabinetry and countertops isn’t complicated. In fact, as you’ll learn below, simple and straightforward mixed with a little common sense is the best approach for maintaining your cabinetry and countertops in mint condition.
Cabinet Care for Stained & Painted Cabinetry
With wood cabinetry, simplicity is best and anything that leaves a residue is a definite no-no. Here are some guidelines to maintaining your wood cabinetry:
Follow these simple steps to preserve the beauty of your cabinetry.
DO: Simply wipe cabinets with a damp soft cloth and then dry thoroughly with another soft cloth.
DO: If needed, you can mix 3 to 5 drops of Dawn dish soap with one-gallon warm water. Wipe in the direction of the wood grain to prevent possible scratching.
DO: Wipe up excess moisture that may occur due to spills.
DO NOT: Use any kind of abrasive cleaning cloth or cleaning product.
DO NOT: Wipe your cabinets with a dishcloth as it may contain food or grease remnants.
Major Cleaning & Polishing:
Up to twice a year, you may need to do a more thorough cleaning.
DO: Use a non-wax based and non-silicon based cleaner like Guardsman® Purifying Wood Cleaner or Weiman® Cabinet Polish.
DO: Remove grease using a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. After removing the grease, rinse well with a damp soft cloth and dry thoroughly with another soft cloth.
DO NOT: Do not use a cleaner or polish on a regular basis. All polishes will build up over time and overdone will impact you finish, especially in the case of cabinets with a flat varnish.
A Note About Humidity:
Excessive variations in humidity will cause noticeable changes to your cabinet.
DO: Monitor and maintain your home humidity levels at or around 45%. Most digital thermostats will allow you to maintain the desired humidity level. Or, you can purchase a digital thermometer-hygrometer unit at a local home improvement store.
DO: Know that manufacturers will not replace warped doors if the proper humidity level is not maintained. Some warping of doors can appear during the 1st year after the cabinetry has been installed in your home. This is due to the wood trying to acclimate itself to the humidity levels in your home.
DO NOT: Allow excess condensation which is a sign that humidity levels are too high in relation to cold outside temperature conditions.
For any kind of countertop material, you can follow the same regular cleaning guidelines as we outlined for cabinetry. Note that for many natural stone countertops, additional steps may be needed to properly maintain the stone. The type of stone and finish of your countertop will determine the care required. For example, a polished granite or quartzite countertop will require less maintenance (and be less likely to scratch or etch) than a honed marble countertop. Below are some general guidelines for all countertops as well as some specific guidelines for certain natural materials.
DO: Use cutting boards to prevent scratches, stains, and etching.
DO: Use trivets to prevent thermal shock which will cause any stone material to break or crack including granite or even Corian. Thermal shock happens when a material in a state colder than room temperature has a rapid change in temperature.
DO: Avoid allowing acidic foods or liquids such as tomatoes or citrus to sit on a countertop. If you do have a spill, immediately clean the surface with soap and water and if needed, with a specialty stone cleaner and re-seal it.
DO: Apply a water-based sealant as part of the regular maintenance of natural stone (with the exception of soapstone which we cover below). The frequency of application depends on the type and finish of the stone and how often you use your kitchen.
DO NOT: Use a silicone-based sealant in a kitchen. Silicone will be more efficient but turns the countertop into a toxic surface meaning no food can come into contact.
DO NOT: Use a water-based sealant on soapstone. Food grade mineral oil should be used to treat soapstone and prevent darkening in the areas that are used most. A good rule of thumb to follow for oiling soapstone is (after installation): every day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and then as needed for maintenance.
Additional Resources for Cabinet and Countertop Maintenance
Looking for more information? Below are additional cabinet and countertop care resources from some of our affiliated partners.
Care guidelines from Woodland Cabinetry
Care guidelines from Plato Woodwork
Natural Stone Countertop Information and Care
Get to Know Your Stone from the Natural Stone Institute
Looking for SOMETHING NEW?
Cabinets and countertops too far gone or outdated to be helped by cleaning? Or are you considering building a new home?
Come visit our showroom and be inspired. Located at International Market Square, our showroom features multiple kitchen displays, cabinet and countertop displays and, most importantly, a knowledgeable, approachable and creative team of kitchen designers.
Sawhill Custom Kitchens & Design, established in 1971, is a premier provider of kitchen and bath design, custom cabinetry & design/build services for clients in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. What does over 40 years in this business mean for our clients? It means our team brings a combined 100+ years of experience in the kitchen and bath design industry. We use this cumulative experience to design kitchen and bath spaces that not only look beautiful but function beautifully as well. Contact us or visit us to start a conversation about your kitchen.