How to Clean Oak Wood Cabinets

Written by j. lang wood
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How to Clean Oak Wood Cabinets
Oak wood cabinets require careful cleaning and maintenance. (Modern elegant kitchen image by MAXFX from

Oak wood cabinets are an attractive addition to any home. They add a warm quality with clean good looks that reflect natural light. Oak comes in a variety of shades from yellow, reddish, gold and even greenish tints. Oak tones will mellow as they age when exposed to natural light. Keeping your oak cabinets looking good requires regular cleaning--particularly in the kitchen, where grease from cooking can settle on wood surfaces.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood cleaner
  • Lemon oil
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Cloth

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  1. 1

    Wipe the wood surfaces gently with a moist cloth. Do not allow the wood to be drenched with water as this can damage the wood. Wring out the cloth thoroughly and wipe surfaces both inside and out to remove surface dirt.

  2. 2

    Apply a good-quality wood-cleaning product to remove ground in dirt or grease. The company that manufactured your oak cabinets may have recommended products for cleaning and maintenance. If you are unsure what product to use, wood soap is a good product for cleaning oak cabinets. Lemon oil is often used to clean heavy dirt from oak cabinets, but this can damage the wood, according to and should not be used more frequently than every six months. Still others swear by a vinegar-and-water solution in equal parts, but this too must be removed quickly to avoid drying out the wood.

  3. 3

    Apply furniture polish to bring back the natural oak wood shine after cleaning. Use a high-quality polish made for polishing wood furniture, according to Avoid waxes or pastes that use silicone, as this can cause yellowing and can be difficult to remove. Buff oak cabinets lightly after polishing for a good finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Wipe up food or other spills immediately to prevent stains and reduce cleaning problems later on.
  • When using glass cleaner on glass doors, protect the wood surface from the ammonia in glass cleaner.
  • Do not allow cleaners to sit on wood surfaces as they can damage the surface. Rinse carefully and wipe dry.
  • Avoid using harsh detergents, soap pads or steel wood that can damage the wood.
  • Do not use ammonia products, solvents, white spirit or paint thinner on the wood.
  • Keep oak cabinets away from heat sources to prevent drying out the wood.

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