How to clean oak cupboards

Oak cupboards add charm and beauty to any kitchen. They are durable and long-lasting, if properly maintained. Part of maintaining your oak cupboards is cleaning them properly. Dirt, dust, grease and other grime accumulate on the cupboards over time. Dirty oak cupboards are unsightly and can make the entire room look unclean. Clean oak cupboards properly with common household products. Different products are used for lightly cleaning oak cupboards and more heavy-duty cleaning.

Fill the sink half full with warm water. Add a few drops of mild dish soap to the water and use your hands to mix it up.

Dip a soft rag into the soapy water. Wring it out well.

Wipe down the entire surface of the oak cupboards with the rag and soapy water. Rinse and wring out the rag often while cleaning.

Buff the cupboards with a soft, dry rag to remove excess moisture. Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the cabinets with a soft rag to rehydrate them from cleaning.

Fill a bucket with equal parts white vinegar and water.

Dip a soft sponge into the cleaning solution. Wring out the sponge well. Do not use an abrasive sponge as this will damage the finish on the oak cupboards.

Wash the cupboards with the vinegar cleaning solution. Rinse and wring out the sponge often.

Buff the cupboards with a soft rag to dry them. Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the cupboards to replenish moisture lost during cleaning.

Use a degreasing wood cleaner if the cabinets are really dirty and do not come clean with the vinegar. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning, as that will vary among products.


Do not use abrasive or scouring powders to clean your oak cupboards. Avoid using harsh cleaning products such as chlorine bleach when cleaning oak cupboards. Always test the product you are using on the inside of the cupboard before cleaning the outside.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft rags
  • Vegetable oil
  • Bucket
  • Vinegar
  • Soft sponge
  • Degreasing wood cleaner (optional)
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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.