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How to Clean and Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets (And Keep Them That Way)

How to Clean and Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets (And Keep Them That Way)

Words Apartment Therapy

Whether your cabinets are wood, painted, or laminate, here’s how to get the grease off and remove those sticky spots. Once they’re shining, keep everything organized with clear containers.

No matter how good you are about cleaning up splatters in the kitchen when they happen, you can’t avoid build-up on your kitchen cabinets over time. It’s inevitable with all those busy mornings, hardworking mealtimes, and the gradual accumulation of steam and dust from the sink and stove. Kitchen cabinets just need some attention every once in a while. Here’s an annual ritual to keep them looking their best. Follow the steps below, then spot-clean with a simple wipe-down when needed.

OXO How to: Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets

Step 1: Pull everything out.

Remove all the dishes, dry goods, oils and pantry items from your cabinet shelves. Every single one, whether or not you’ll keep it. Place it all on a clear surface, like a counter or table.

Step 2: Sweep and scrub.

Using a brush and dustpan, sweep the surface of the shelves. Before scrubbing, determine what type of cabinets you have. An all-purpose scrub brush tackles tough grime without damaging the finish. Use it with the appropriate cleaning agent:

  • Wood: Use oil soap wood cleaner. 
  • Painted or laminate: Use an all-purpose cleaner or warm water with dish soap.
  • Metal: Try a baking soda paste, or mix baking soda and coconut oil for sticky surfaces.

Step 3: Toss, sort and store.

Toss anything that’s expired or stale; donate what’s still good but you won’t use; then sort the remaining items by category. Group like items, like spices, together. Depending on how you cook, your system might sort things into broad categories, like baking items, cereals, and snacks. Use clear containers to store dry goods, so you can easily see everything. A rotating turntable makes the most of tight cabinet space.

Step 4: Label it all.

The secret to maintaining your new organization system? Removable labels. They let you quickly see what you have, helping you stock up on staples when needed and saving you money spent buying duplicates.

Step 5: Clean the cabinet fronts.

Dust, splatters, oil and water marks accumulate on cabinets over many months. Give yours a good scrub with a deep clean brush. Mix a solution of dishwashing detergent and warm water, then use the brush to clean the areas where grime builds up, including hardware, edges, and any grooves. Use a damp cloth for the final wipe-down.

Good Tip: Boxes and bags don’t use space efficiently and quickly make a cabinet feel cluttered. Clear POP Containers are game-changers. They’re stackable, which uses space more efficiently, and have an airtight seal, which keeps food fresh for longer. Pantry organizers may cost a bit upfront, but they’ll save you money by keeping you aware of which staples are in stock, so you don’t double up on groceries.

Need help figuring out a strategic pantry set-up? See our step-by-step guide to organizing your kitchen cabinets.

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