How to clean thermofoil cabinets

Updated February 21, 2017

Thermofoil is a type of laminate made from 100 per cent vinyl that is moulded to fit precut fiberboard and other materials to make cabinetry and other items. Many people choose thermofoil cabinets as a less expensive alternative to natural wood or painted cabinets. Thermofoil cleaning and maintenance usually requires little beyond regular dusting, spill and splatter control and surface washing. Proper cleaning removes oily or sticky residue that can build up over time and result in vinyl wear, tearing or discolouration.

Wipe thermofoil cabinets weekly to remove dust, or as spills or splatters occur, with a clean, damp sponge or soft, lint-free microfiber cloth. Dry with a clean cloth.

Wash the cabinets with a sponge or cloth and non-abrasive surface cleaner approved for use on vinyl at least once a month or as needed to maintain the surface and remove dirt, oil, grease, sticky substances or stains. When washing the surface, rub dirty or stained areas using a circular motion to dislodge any material clinging to it.

Rinse thermofoil cabinetry to remove dirty residue with another clean, damp sponge or cloth.

Dry your cabinets with clean microfiber cloths.


If the vinyl on your cabinets has permanent discolouration caused by heat, staining or light exposure, contact your thermofoil cabinetry dealer for assistance.


High heat exposure such as using an oven's self-cleaning feature or leaving the oven door open during or after cooking cannot only discolour or crack the vinyl, but the adhesive used to attach the vinyl can break down causing the surface to peel or curl away from the fiberboard. Never use hot water when cleaning or rinsing thermofoil for the same reason. Never use polish or wax on thermofoil cabinets. Harsh or abrasive detergents and other cleaners can dull or severely damage thermofoil. Also, solvents or solvent-containing products such as ethyl alcohol, acetone and mineral oil can melt or pit thermofoil.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Lint-free microfiber cloths
  • Non-abrasive surface cleaner
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About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.