How to clean sticky kitchen cabinet doors

Updated February 21, 2017

Over time, your kitchen cabinets doors may develop a greasy, sticky build-up composed of kitchen grease, dust, airborne food particles and skin oil. Kitchen cabinet doors may be made with a range of materials, but most have enough of a protective coating to be able to withstand a strong cleaning solution. The two main types of cabinets require different cleaning methods.


Put on rubber cleaning gloves. Mix the heavy-duty alkaline cleaning agent according to the directions on the container. Alkaline cleaners are available at specialist cleaning suppliers.

Apply the solution to the cabinet doors with a sponge. Allow the alkaline cleaning agent to sit on the cabinet doors for 1 to 2 minutes.

Scrub any areas with a large amount of build-up with the nylon-backed sponge, applying more cleaning solution when needed. Remove the grease and grime from the sponge by squeezing it into a sink before putting it back into the cleaning solution.

Use a damp cloth to remove the cleaning agent and rinse the cabinet doors. Dry with a terry cleaning cloth to remove any small traces of sticky residue left over.


Put on rubber cleaning gloves and clean around handles and other sticky build-up areas with a sponge and washing up liquid. Pay special attention to corners where dirt and grime can settle.

Wipe an oil soap solution over the larger areas of the cabinet doors with a clean sponge. Oil soap is safe for cleaning wood surfaces and should not harm the finish of the cabinets as long as it is applied gently.

Dry the cabinet door surface quickly with a terry cleaning cloth to avoid moisture damage. Always wipe dry with the grain of the wood, not against or across, to prevent scuffing or damage to the finish.

Apply a spray-on furniture polish once a year to fill in pores in the wood and make regular cleaning easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber cleaning gloves
  • Heavy-duty alkaline cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Nylon-backed sponge
  • Damp cloth
  • Terry cleaning cloth
  • Washing up liquid
  • Oil soap solution
  • Spray-on furniture polish
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About the Author

Chris Hoke is a freelance writer, blogger and musician living in the San Francisco bay area. He began writing professionally in 2005 and his articles regularly appear on and