How to Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen Cabinets: A Complete Guide

how to clean sticky wood kitchen cabinets

Wooden kitchen cabinets add warmth and elegance to any kitchen. However, over time, they can accumulate grease, grime, and sticky residue, detracting from their beauty. Cleaning sticky wood kitchen cabinets may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques and products, you can restore them to their original shine. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to clean sticky wood kitchen cabinets effectively.

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to assess the condition of your sticky wood kitchen cabinets. Determine the extent of the stickiness and identify any areas of heavy buildup or stubborn stains. An assessment will help you tailor your cleaning approach and select the appropriate cleaning products.

Gather Your Supplies

To clean sticky wood kitchen cabinets effectively, you’ll need the following supplies:

  1. Warm water
  2. Mild dish soap or wood cleaner
  3. Microfiber cloths or soft sponges
  4. White vinegar
  5. Baking soda
  6. Olive oil or wood polish (optional)
  7. Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush

DIY Cleaner for Wood Cabinets

If you prefer using natural ingredients or want to save some money, you can create your own DIY cleaner for wood cabinets. Here’s a simple recipe using household items:


  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of mild dish soap


  1. Mix the distilled white vinegar, warm water, and mild dish soap in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake the bottle well to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. Spray the DIY cleaner onto a microfiber cloth or soft sponge.
  4. Wipe down the surfaces of your wood cabinets, focusing on areas with sticky residue or grease.
  5. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

Cleaning Agents to Avoid with Wood Kitchen Cabinets

While it’s essential to know what cleaning solutions work well for wood cabinets, it’s equally crucial to understand which cleaning agents to avoid. Using the wrong products can damage the wood’s finish and compromise its appearance. Here are some cleaning agents you should steer clear of:

  1. Abrasive Cleaners: Avoid using abrasive cleaners, such as scouring powders or creams, as they can scratch the wood’s surface and remove the protective finish.
  2. Harsh Chemicals: Stay away from harsh chemicals. Cleaning using bleach, ammonia, or undiluted vinegar can strip the wood’s finish and cause discoloration.
  3. Furniture Polish: While furniture polish may seem like a quick fix for adding shine to wood cabinets, it often contains silicone and other additives that can leave behind a greasy residue and attract dust.
  4. Wax-Based Products: Wax-based cleaners and polishes can create a buildup on wood surfaces over time, making them sticky and difficult to clean.
  5. Steam Cleaners: Avoid using steam cleaners on wood cabinets, as excessive moisture can cause warping, swelling, and damage to the wood.

Step-by-Step Process on How to Clean Sticky Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Follow these steps on how to clean sticky wood kitchen cabinets effectively:

  1. Start by removing all items from the cabinets to access the surfaces easily.
  2. In a bowl, mix warm water with a small amount of mild dish soap or wood cleaner like Murphy Oil Soap Wood Cleaner. This solution will help break down grease and grime without damaging the wood.
  3. Dip a microfiber cloth instead of a cotton cloth, or you may use soft sponge into the cleaning solution and wring out any excess liquid. Gently wipe down the exterior and interior surfaces of the cabinets, focusing on areas with sticky residue. Use circular motions to lift dirt and grime effectively.
  4. For stubborn stains or sticky spots, create a paste using equal parts of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Grease buildup is common on kitchen cabinets, especially near cooking areas. To tackle grease effectively, dampen a microfiber cloth with undiluted white vinegar and wipe down the affected surfaces. The acidity of the vinegar will help cut through the grease, leaving your cabinets clean and shiny.
  6. Once you’ve cleaned all surfaces, rinse the cabinets with clean water to remove any remaining soap or cleaning solution. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the cabinets and remove excess moisture. Proper drying is essential to prevent water damage and warping of the wood.

Tips for Maintaining Cleanliness of Your Wood Kitchen Cabinets

To keep your wood kitchen cabinets looking their best, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Make it a habit to clean your cabinets regularly to prevent sticky buildup. Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth after cooking to remove grease and spills promptly.
  2. Consider using cabinet liners to protect the interior surfaces of your cabinets from spills and stains. Liners are easy to clean and can be replaced as needed.
  3. When cleaning wood cabinets, avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners that can damage the finish. Stick to mild dish soap, vinegar, or specially formulated wood cleaners.
  4. To restore shine to your wood cabinets, consider polishing them occasionally with olive oil or a commercial wood polish. Apply a small amount to a microfiber cloth and buff the cabinets in circular motions for a glossy finish.

Cleaning sticky wood kitchen cabinets doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and incorporating regular maintenance into your routine, you can keep your cabinets looking clean and beautiful for years to come. So roll up your sleeves, gather your supplies, and give your kitchen cabinets the TLC they deserve!

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Hellamaid is a top-rated cleaning company in Canada that’s changing the cleaning industry. Led by two engineers, Ahmed and Abdul,  Hellamaid is on a mission to make cleaning services a better experience for both ends of the market: homeowners and cleaners. We offer value to homeowners through easy online booking and impeccable customer service, while offering a flexible and well paid opportunity to our cleaning partners. We proudly serve the cities of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and more. Visit our service area pages or learn more about our story!

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