Your kitchen cabinets are the main elements in your kitchen. Other than they complete the cohesive design of your kitchen, they also function to provide you with ample storage space. With that, it is not a surprise that you use your kitchen cabinets on a daily basis. However, after such time, using it every day can begin to take a toll. So, the last thing you want is for your cabinets to lose their pleasant appearance and remarkable function, after all kitchen cabinets can be a pricey investment and you want to get the most out of them.
With that, in this article, we provide some tips on how to maintain your kitchen cabinets so that you get to use them for a longer time
- Proper cabinet care
Your kitchen cabinets will surely last longer if you know how to do proper care. Proper care involves intent cleaning, polishing and refraining the use of damaging household cleaners. It must be noted that the intricate appearance of wood is due to its variation in graining and hue. This inherent variation includes many natural characteristics which are a product of the tree growth patterns, as well as differences in wood color and grain due to differences in forest growing conditions. With that, for kitchen cabinets that are made of wood, proper stains are highly recommended so that not to lose and damage these natural variations.
- Wipe cabinets immediately after installation
Upon installation, it is important to wipe the cabinets clean with a soft, damp cloth and dry straightaway with another clean, soft cloth. It must be noted that wiping should always be done in the direction of the wood grain. In addition to that, immediately after installation, application of a thin coat of high-quality polish should also be done. A polish that does not contain silicone or wax should be utilized, and the manufacturer’s directions for application should also be followed. This high-quality polish is vital for it will help in protecting the kitchen cabinet from minor scratching, staining, and excessive moisture.
- Clean your cabinets
It is normal for the kitchen to have some grease and grime buildup after such time. These grease and grime can eventually damage your kitchen cabinets and destroy the appearance and feel of a new kitchen. With that, it is important to clean and remove these wastes.
In order to remove grease and grime buildup, you should use a soft cloth dampened with warm water to wipe your kitchen cabinets. You should do this at least once every two weeks or more frequently varying on the amount of activity that occurs in the kitchen. If water alone does not clean cabinets totally, you can mix a little mild dishwasher soap with the water. Wipe down wood cabinets in the direction of the grain. Use a soft cloth to remove any residual moisture that may be left on the cabinets. If routine cleaning does not eliminate stains or built-up grime, make a paste by combining baking soda with water. Put the paste on a sponge and scrub the stain until it fades. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth. Another option that you can do is mixing vinegar and water. You can use this to remove those sticky buildup or film from kitchen cabinets.
When cleaning your cabinets, it must be noted that there are certain products that can damage them, hence it is important to avoid them. These products and ingredients include Petroleum-based products, Solvents, Bleach, Strong detergents and soaps, Nail polish remover, Paint thinners, Plastic brushes, Steel wool, Scoring Pad, and Ammonia
- Wipe spills swiftly
Many substances found in the kitchen can become hard to remove and may stain or cause other damage upon prolonged contact with your kitchen cabinet. With that, if a spill happens, it is highly suggested that you wipe it quickly with a damp cloth or sponge and dry the surface straightaway. You must use a blotting action rather than a wiping action in order to remove the spill.
- Wipe cabinets immediately after installation
- Utilize a kitchen cabinet shelf liner
There are a number of various types of liners available in the market that can aid in protecting your kitchen cabinet and pantry shelves. These cabinet shelf liners prevent newly washed dishes from warping the shelf, and they are easier to wipe clean than wood. Kitchen cabinet shelf liners may be made up of self-adhesive laminate floor tiles, linoleum floor pieces, wallpaper pieces, plastic canvas, laminated paper, wax paper, and contact paper. Utilizing these cabinet shelf liners will help prolong the life of your kitchen cabinets.
- Keep cabinet doors closed
One of the simplest yet effective ways to keep the kitchen cabinets clean on the inside and to reduce the accumulation of dust and insects that may damage the cabinets is by never leaving the cabinet door open. While some dust and crumbs may still find their way inside, the amount should be much lower. Practicing the habit of closing the door always extends the life of your cabinet. So, if your cabinet doors or drawers do not close properly, it is highly suggested that you have the hinges or drawer glides fixed.
- Never slam your kitchen cabinet doors
In line with always closing your kitchen cabinet doors, another thing you should always remember is to never slam your kitchen cabinet doors. There are times when you slam the door and you think they do not cause any damage, but over time this causes unnecessary damage to accumulate. Slamming your door can in fact lead to dings and chips on the inside lip of your kitchen cabinet. By adding hardware, such as cabinet door handles, you can essentially deter people from opening and closing cabinets with such force. You can also add a soft-close mechanism in your kitchen cabinets in order to prevent the door slamming.
- Reduce direct sunlight exposure
There can be damaging effects on your kitchen cabinets after long term direct exposure to sunlight, especially those cabinets that are made from natural wood. Painted wood cabinets and laminate or Thermofoil surfaces also are predisposed to fading from extended exposure to direct sunlight. With that, it is highly suggested to utilize window coverings in order to aid in reducing or eliminating damage caused by exposure to direct sunlight.
- Avoid exposure to cheap self-polishing waxes
There are many self-polishing waxes available in the market that can possibly damage your finish. With that, it is important to only use high-quality cream furniture polishes available from high-end furniture or paint stores, for those that are sold in cheap stores may do more harm than good to your kitchen cabinets.
- Regulate moisture, humidity, and temperature
Proper care of your kitchen cabinets includes providing a suitable kitchen environment, especially for those cabinets that are made with wood and other natural materials. Several number of internal environmental issues that affect human comfort also contribute to a wood healthy environment. Particularly, daily fluctuations in temperature and humidity caused by seasonal and daily changes can significantly impact stability and longevity of your kitchen cabinetry.
Moisture is one of the things that can mostly damage the finish of your kitchen cabinets. In fact, the most susceptible kitchen cabinets are those that are placed near the sink and dishwasher. Repeated short-term exposure to excessive moisture such as splashing of surfaces from a sink or even a single longer-term event such as flooding will result in irreversible damage to wood cabinetry. With that, moisture should be wiped from surfaces immediately to minimize damage. If the wood has a chance to absorb excess moisture, efforts should be made to dry out the wood including substrates immediately. It is also important to prevent direct high heat and instead, utilize fans and dehumidifiers and moisture absorbing cloth and compounds. Lastly, you must also prevent draping dish towels or other wet items over doors or placing coffee makers where steam vents directly onto kitchen cabinet surfaces.
It must be noted that wood expands as humidity increases and shrinks as humidity decreases. Exposed or unfinished wood will exhibit the most dramatic changes. However, finished wood will still show some shifts with long-term changes in humidity. Finishes and other coatings such as laminate or foil temper humidity swings by slowing the transfer of moisture
It must be noted that as wood expands or swells and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack. This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints.Furthermore, when humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup or bow. Also, extremely dry conditions can result in wood parts splitting and/or cracking in addition to shrinkage. Most frequently, if the humidity level is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will eventually disappear.
Research shows that the optimal humidity level for kitchen cabinets is about 35% to 50% relative humidity. Extreme conditions or humidity lower than 20% or higher than 80% must be avoided to reduce the incidence of damaging your kitchen cabinetry.
Like humidity, temperature variation can cause some of the same problems. In fact, humidity and temperature are linked. Temperature increases cause materials to expand, while temperature decreases cause materials to contract or shrink. Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic material changes. This is more likely to lead to cracking, and splitting in solid wood. It can also cause warping, cupping and bowing in any wood components.