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Cleaning cupboards: How to disinfect kitchen cabinets and doors

Keeping a clean kitchen is an essential step in household hygiene but cabinets are often forgotten. Here’s how to clean kitchen cabinets and go from grimy to shiny, fast.

Updated By Wiki Tips English Team


Cleaning kitchen cabinets is one of those jobs that’s all too easy to neglect. Before you know it, the handles are sticky, tins and jars are at risk of toppling out every time you open the door, and there’s questionable-looking gunge lurking in the corners.

Luckily, cleaning kitchen cupboards isn’t as scary or time-consuming as you may think. Whether you want to know how to clean gloss kitchen units, tips on cleaning laminate kitchen cupboard doors, or just want a tidy up, this guide will help you to get them clean, decluttered and organised in no time.

It’s always a good idea to test any cleaning method on a less noticeable area first, just in case.

How to clean gloss kitchen units

Glossy kitchen cabinets look sleek and shiny, but sadly they can be easily dulled by fingerprints and other pesky marks. Luckily, cleaning kitchen cupboard doors and interiors with a gloss finish is quick and easy. Just follow these steps on how to clean gloss kitchen units.

  1. Clean the doors.

    Clean the doors, either using the washing up liquid and soap method above or just with a multi-purpose spray cleaner and cloth.

  2. Next, buff the shine back.

    Using a microfibre cloth will work best, but a general duster should do the job just fine (an old T-shirt works well).

  3. Admire the results!

    Step back and check your smile in your reflection.

Cleaning kitchen cabinets with glass panes

Depending on the size of the glass panes, you might want to separate the steps, first cleaning kitchen cupboard surrounds using the steps above, then cleaning the glass using one of the following options.

  1. A liquid glass cleaner with a clean cloth.

    Spray the cloth rather than the glass if you’re worried about the cleaner discolouring the surround. Finish by buffing with a clean cloth to minimise streaking.

  2. White vinegar.

    Vinegar is a handy cleaning method for anyone looking for alternatives to regular products (you can find more handy uses for vinegar). Spray the glass with a mixture of one-part water to one-part white vinegar, and then use one cloth to clean with and another to buff with.

  3. A glass cleaning cloth.

    These cloths work wonders with just water. Spritz the water onto the glass and (you guessed it) use the cloth to buff it off.

How to clean kitchen cabinet handles

As we have seen, cleaning kitchen cupboard doors and exteriors is simple when you know how – but handles can be trickier, as dirt gets stuck in the crevices.

  1. Have a toothbrush to hand!

    When it comes to cleaning kitchen cupboard door handles, an old toothbrush is your secret weapon. You’ll need some warm water with a splash of washing up liquid. Simply dip in the toothbrush and get scrubbing.

  2. Go gently.

    Take care not to scratch the handles. If you want to bring the shine back, finish by buffing with a clean cloth.

  3. Noticed while cleaning your cupboard doors that they’re a bit wonky?

    Discover the three steps to adjusting a kitchen cupboard door!

How to clean kitchen cupboards (inside)

So, you now know how to clean kitchen cupboards, how to clean gloss kitchen units, and the best ways for cleaning kitchen cupboard door handles. But the cleaning doesn’t stop there – now is time to learn how to disinfect inside kitchen cabinets to ensure all-round kitchen hygiene. Follow these simple steps.

  1. Empty the kitchen cupboard of its contents.

    Do this one cupboard at a time, otherwise, your kitchen will become too chaotic.

  2. Vacuum.

    Vacuum inside the cupboard to remove any stray bits.

  3. Use a damp cloth.

    Use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe away any dirt or dust lingering in corners.

  4. Wipe down all the surfaces.

    Wipe all the surfaces down with a damp cloth and a dollop of multipurpose cleaner like CifCream Lemon. Or use the washing up liquid and water method above.

  5. Treat stains quickly.

    Treat any tough stains or spills using our cleaning hacks below.

  6. Sort through items.

    Sort through the emptied contents and set aside any items to throw away or recycle (see our decluttering tips below).

  7. Give them a wipe.

    If the items you’re keeping have been in the cupboard for a while, you might want to give them a quick wipe down with a damp cloth.

  8. Be organised.

    Put everything back in an organised manner, with larger, lesser-used items at the back and smaller, commonly used items at the front.

How to clean kitchen cupboards: Tackling grease, mould and other kitchen nasties

The above steps will help you to clean kitchen cupboard doors and exteriors, as well as learn how to disinfect inside kitchen cabinets. But some grime needs some special treatment. From cleaning up condiments to getting rid of mould, here’s how to clean sticky grease off kitchen cabinets and more.

  1. How to clean sticky grease off kitchen cabinets

    Grease build-up is a common problem in kitchen cupboards, but the powerful grease-cutting qualities of undiluted white vinegar mean it’s easily removed. Dip a clean, dry, microfibre cloth into some white vinegar and wipe down the greasy patches. Rinse your cloth with warm water and give the cupboard another wipe down. Dry the surfaces with a paper towel or old, clean T-shirt.

  2. How to clean kitchen cabinets: Getting rid of brown sauce stains and other condiments

    Sticky spillages from condiment jars can be tricky to shift. Follow these steps to get rid of condiment stains easily. In a bowl, mix equal parts baking powder and water into a thick paste. Apply with a cloth to the sticky stain and leave to dry. Scrub with an old damp toothbrush and rinse away with a cloth and cold water.

  3. How to disinfect kitchen cabinets: Banishing mould

    Mould in kitchen cupboards can be a problem if left untreated. Luckily, a bleaching product like  will kill germs and remove any mould. Spray your bleaching product liberally onto the affected area. Leave it to work for a few minutes. Wipe away and rinse with a clean cloth. To avoid any mould returning, make sure your kitchen has plenty of ventilation, whether by using an extractor fan or opening windows.

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How to clean kitchen cupboards: Decluttering and organising

Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboards might have been bare, but the rest of us often end up with all sorts of stuff crammed in. If your kitchen cupboards house a glut of random kitchen items that make finding things difficult and cooking a faff, it’s time for a good old clear out. If you have a small kitchen, you’re going to need to be extra ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things you don’t need.

When it comes to cleaning kitchen cupboards, focus on getting rid of:

  • Out of date food. As well as checking the use-by date, also consider how long it’s been opened for. Many condiments last for months after opening, but some need binning after a few weeks.

  • Food you’re not going to eat. If you’ve had a tin of peas in your cupboard for several months, chances are you’re never going to use it. Donate unopened, in-date food to your local food bank.

  • Stuff you’re not going to use. No one ever benefited from keeping that 1970s whisk they didn’t get around to fixing. Honest.

  • Duplicates. Do you really need all those mugs, plates, saucepans etc etc etc?

Remember, just because you don’t have use for something, doesn’t mean you should throw it away:

  • Most packaging can be recycled if you empty the contents out and give it a quick rinse.

  • Chipped crockery might come in handy for planting or mosaic crafts.

  • Undamaged items that you just don’t use anymore can be donated to charity or offered on Freecycle or Facebook.

Decluttering should make space for the essentials, and the odd handy-to-haves (like onion goggles). Now you just need to figure out where to put everything. Which brings us on to…

How to clean kitchen cabinets: Organising everything You know how to clean kitchen cupboard doors and how to disinfect inside kitchen cabinets, now it’s time to get them organised. Say goodbye to old habits – instead of piling everything back in its old place, think convenience.

  • A place for everything. Sorting food into categories like snacks, canned, dried or packet, will make cooking a whole lot easier and avoid you having to fumble around for those nigella seeds. You might also want to check out our kitchen storage hacks.

  • Think of the kids. If you have children who make their own breakfast and set the table (lucky you!), make sure they can reach everything they need. Likewise, if you have toddlers, you’re going to want to keep breakables, sharps and poisons (eg dishwasher tablets) well out of reach.

  • Within arm’s reach. Move stuff to where you use it. If there’s a cupboard near your kettle, that’s where you should keep your cups, not the other side of the kitchen. Additionally, store saucepans close to your hob and plates near your serving area. And keep daily essentials like salt and pepper within easy reach (you shouldn’t have to stand on a chair every time you want to season your pasta).

Organising your kitchen cabinets is all about working out how you use your kitchen and reorganising crockery and kitchenware to match your culinary habits. If you have an awkward cupboard that’s too high to reach or so deep things get lost, try to reserve it for things you don’t use often, like cake tins, electric whisks or the bread maker.

Keeping your kitchen cupboards clean

Now your cabinets are sparkling, you’re going to want to keep them that way. So try to get in the habit of throwing away out-of-date products and wiping the cupboards down (inside and out) regularly.

Want to give the rest of the kitchen a once over? We’ve got some kitchen cleaning hacks that will prove indispensable and make the job that little bit easier. Or if you’re fired-up for freshness, why not take a look at our handy guide on how to give your kitchen a deep clean? Whatever your household or kitchen cleaning query, Wiki Tips English has you covered.

Originally published