How to Clean Wood Cabinets and Make Them Shine

Many of us use one type of cabinet or the other in our homes, offices, hospitals, etc. Cabinets come in different shapes with drawers or shelves for displaying or storing items. It can come in various designs and is used for all kinds of items.

Cabinets can be made from other materials such as coated steel and synthetic materials. But most of them are made of wood because of their classic appearance, durability, and availability.

However, wood cabinets have remained more expensive and overall best option for cabinets of high quality over the years. The availability or scarcity of wood directly affects the purchasing cost.

Types of Wood Used for Kitchen Wood Cabinets

Wood cabinets can be customized into different shapes and designs with different colors too. The following include the various kinds of woods used in manufacturing a wood cabinet

  • Pine: This is a softwood commonly used in cabinet manufacturing. When you compare pine with other hardwood types, it is softer and gets more dents.
  • Hickory: This wood is beautiful, dense, and durable with the grains well defined.  It is a good recommendation for lovers of cabinets that looks more unique.
  • Cherry: Cherry wood color becomes more beautiful even as it stays in your home. It is also durable and may or may not come with rustic knots.
  • Maple: Maple is a light wood, grainy and good for cabinets. You can stain or paint them with a solid color hence, even after it stains.
  • Oak: This is a slightly light-colored wood that comes with a well-defined grain even better than Maple. Aside from having natural knots, Oakwood has streaks, and applying a good polish finish makes it look better.

Basic Components of A Wood Cabinet

Irrespective of the shape, design, color, or the type of wood used, a wood cabinet contains but is not limited to the following basic components;

  • The cabinet frame
  • Doors and Drawer Fronts
  • Hinges
  • Drawer Glides
  • Drawer Box
  • Cabinet Shelves
  • Interior Finish material

How To Clean Wood Cabinets And Make Them Shine

Wood cabinets are often exposed to dust, sticky fingers, and all manner of dirt which pile up over time to reduce their glow and beauty. Hence constant cleaning of your wood cabinet is necessary and somewhat compulsory.  

To restore the original look of a wood cabinet, the product of a natural cleanser is the best option to avoid warping.

Then use a smooth polish at the end of a thorough cleaning exercise to make it glow again.

Below are the step-by-step tips on how to successfully restore the shiny look of a wood cabinet.

  • Make a cleaning solution of either white vinegar and water with the ratio of 1:1 or dish soap and water (a teaspoon to a cup). The use of all-purpose cleaners that are harsh is not advisable. They can either discolor the cabinet or lead to warping.
  • Empty the shelves to avoid skipping some portions, then use a clean towel and gently clean (scrub) the inside with the solution you have already prepared. Ensure that you clean all the edges.
  • With the same solution, clean the outside components of the cabinet including the knobs and handles.
  • Use another clean towel and only water to clean again to wipe off the solution from the portions you’ve cleaned before.
  • With another clean and dry towel, dry all the clean surfaces.
  • For thick substances that have caked, and other thick stains that soft scrubbing cannot easily remove, you can rely on a solution of baking soda and water. Apply the solution to the stain and either scrub it off gently or leave it for few minutes before scrubbing. More so, you can use a spatula also to scrap it off but with caution to avoid damaging the cabinet surface.
  • After giving the cabinet a gentle but thorough cleaning, the next important step is to polish or glow it. You can do this by rubbing the furniture polish or wax of your choice on the surface of the cabinet in a circular motion. Try covering a reasonable portion at a time before moving to others.
  • Ensure that all the surfaces of the cabinet are fairly polished then allow it to dry.
  • Wood cabinets that have been badly damaged or chipped can be re-fixed with the help of cabinet refacing or refinishing agents.

The Best or Most Recommended Furniture Polish

There are many polishes one can use to restore the good look of the furniture, but the few below are known for their best quality and shiny effect.

  • Pledge Restore and Shine: This is an oil-based polish used mainly on unfinished wood. It leaves zero greasy residues after cleaning.
  • Guardsman anytime Clean and Polish: It serves as a cleanser and polish hence saves time and leaves no streaks on the furniture surface.
  • Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish: It gives moisture-proofing and can last long. So, you can use it once yearly. It is also oil-based.
  • Weiman Furniture Wipes: This ideal wipe for small spots, has a good lemon scent and can protect the furniture from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Twinkle Dust and Shine: This is pre-treated dust and shines cloth used for dusting furniture without fear of scratch. It works without spray or aerosols and can be used like 50 times.
  • Weiman Repair Kit: The best kit to handle scratch on cabinets. It hides gouges and worn edges. A pack has four wax crayons and markers respectively. It has varying colors and is used to conceal minor scratches and nicks on the wood cabinet.


Wood cabinets especially, the frequently used ones like kitchen cabinets, require regular cleaning. Routine deep cleaning and polishing (say thrice yearly) protect them from wearing out easily.

This regular and routine cleaning will also aid in sustaining the cabinet hence, making it more durable.

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