How To Remove Grease From Wood Cabinets Without Damage

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Were your kitchen cabinets plagued by those greasy stains? Can you spot yellowish grimes in the cabinet doors? If you are nodding your head right now, your kitchen cabinets need some serious cleaning. 

Cabinet doors are literally dust magnets and if its a kitchen cabinet, one can expect food residue and sticky grease stains as well. When it comes to getting rid of these unwanted guests, you will need the correct supplies which are efficient and fuss-free. 

We have the correct recipes for mild cleaning with dish soap or deep cleaning with baking soda. You can also turn to commercial cleaners for the perfect sparkle and get that old shine back! 

Check out How To Remove Grease From Wood Cabinets Without Damage and get your facts right because we know how important clean cabinetry is in a workhorse space! 

Methods To Remove Grease From Wood Cabinets

1. Remove Grease using Mild Dishsoap and Water

Dish soap, a modified form of soap, contains a mixture of surfactants and the high foaming ones are chosen so that they are skin-friendly. This special mixture can be very effective in cutting oils and grease on dishes and pots, but can that be done on the wood surface? Indeed, yes!  

We know how greasy kitchen cabinets can get and it is not convenient to go for industrial cleaning methods every now and then. Let’s just make a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap for the sticky grease. 

  1. Mix the solution in a bowl until it is soapy.
  2. Use a sponge for better results as they don’t drip water and gently work on the grease. 
  3. Use clean water to wash lingering dish soap to get a spot-free surface. 
  4. Once the grim and grease are out, gently dry out the surface using microfiber rag. 

We know you believe in reusability, so you can use the remaining mixture to wash dishes if the water is clean enough! 

2. Remove Grease using Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda has earned its reputation as the most efficient abrasive cleaner and has always stood up to the expectation for centuries. The grit of baking soda can make clingy grease particles to dislodge from the surface with minimal efforts. 

A mild alkali like baking soda and water can do the trick of cutting the grease away from your kitchen cabinets without any damage to the wood. Make a mixture of baking soda and water and get to work. 

  1. Make a paste of baking soda by mixing it with water in a 1:1 ratio. 
  2. Use a microfiber cloth to apply the paste to the stains. You can also use a toothbrush for some nooks and crannies. 
  3. Swap out the surface with the cloth and keep going until you have a stain-free surface. 
  4. Once you are done with all the cabinet faces, use a fresh damp cloth to remove moisture from the surface and also, the excess remains of the powdery paste. 

The last step is important here because excess moisture can cause visible damage to the cabinet finish. Consider using this option if you have thick, caked-on food particles that have been dried up for a long time. 

3. Remove Grease using Goo Gone

An extremely reliable and efficient degreaser, industrial cleaner Goo Gone would be something that people swear by. Solving sticky situations since forever, Goo Gone is a brand itself and yes, it can clean absolutely anything! 

Unless your kitchen cabinet is made up of unfinished wood or stainless steel, you have got the green flag to use Goo Gone. You can also conduct spot testing for precautions and make sure you use it with adequate ventilation to prevent inhalation hazards. 

  1. Use rubber gloves before using the commercial cleaner.
  2. Apply an even layer of Goo Gone on the stains and let it sit for two minutes. 
  3. Microwave a damp micro cloth for about forty seconds and quickly wipe the grease layer with it. 
  4. Once done, use mild wood soap and water to clean the surface and dry it completely. 

Just like any other industrial cleaners, Goo Gone has several environmental and health hazards. The good news is that it can be dealt with some precautionary measures. Follow simple hacks like using paper towels instead of sponge for the soak up and set your cleaning quotient high! 

4. Deep Cleaning of Kitchen Cabinets using Murphy’s Oil Soap Wood Cleaner

Formulated as a safe cleaner for finished wood surfaces, Murphy’s oil soap wood cleaner can be used to deep clean those kitchen cabinets without damage. One of the pros of Murphy’s cleaner is the oil soap does not leave residue and you don’t have to rinse the surface post-cleaning. 

They can be applied on laminated surfaces and hence, this one is a failsafe method. Before applying Murphy’s cleaner on the grease, use fingernails to pick at the edges of the food debris. 

  1. Use a damp sponge or soft cloth to apply the cleaner on the stains. 
  2. Apply a dab of Murphy’s oil soap on the grease and wipe the soiled area after a few seconds. 
  3. Finally, wipe the area again with a dry cloth. 

If you want to go for deep cleaning of the entire cabinet, mix half a cup of oil soap into a gallon of warm water. Remove the dust from the cabinet surface using a fiber cloth. Use a lint-free cloth or a sponge to rinse and clean the cabinet with the soapy water. You must avoid using this option if you have a waxed wood or unfinished surface. 

5. Removing Pen Marks and Other Stubborn Food Stains using Magic Eraser

If you are having a hard time cleaning the toughest stuck-on-dirt and grease from your cabinet walls, the very own magic erasers are here to help! Get your home sparkling clean, without any fuss and elbow grease. 

Made from melamine foam, magic erasers work like sandpaper that can extremely effective at removing tough dirt. You must never apply it on a stainless steel surface and also use safety precautions like gloves and spot tests before using it. 

Magic erasers can work on pen marks and permanent marker stains without any hassle. You have to scrub it lightly on the marks and the stain would be invisible within seconds! 

By alternating between wet and dry magic erasers, you can clean stubborn food and sticky labels from your kitchen cabinet surface. 

A quick tip: Don’t scrub too hard as it can affect the finishing and damage the surface. 

Methods to avoid

Beware of these two products that do not really work at all and may even harm your cabinets:

Olive Oil and Baking Soda

We already talked about baking soda and water paste and concluded that it is a very tough abrasive cleaner and can work on dried up food stains. Here, we have baking soda and olive oil and some people do refer to this method for cleaning kitchen cabinets.

This method has proven ineffective in most of the studies and surveys and it has several cons. Olive oil is a non-drying oil and hence, you cannot expect it to go away from the wood surface once the cleaning is done. Instead, it will remain soft on your cabinets and attract dust particles that would spoil the finishing. 


If somebody asks me what is the ultimate cleaning agent, my answer would be vinegar. Since we are talking about wood surfaces, vinegar won’t be a good idea for cleaning purposes. 

You can use heavily dilute vinegar to clean your kitchen cabinets, but you must avoid pure, undiluted ones. It contains certain acids that could eat the finish and also leave visible watermarks. So, please be careful with this one! 

Polish after Cleaning

It is very important to conduct a routine cleanup for our kitchen cabinets because they go through so much. All the above methods are very effective and they do not damage the wood surface but with regular wear and tear, the finish might lose its shine. 

Restore the lustrous look of the cabinets by polishing once or twice a month. Choose a wax or furniture polish according to your preference and use a soft towel or microfiber cloth to avoid any scratch while polishing. 

For best results, apply the polish right after cleaning the grease and stick-on food as polishing over dust would be a bad mess. 

  1. Choose a high shine or high luster polish for your kitchen cabinets.
  2. With a soft towel, rub the polish in 4 to 5inch sections every time to get it even. 
  3. Work in a gentle circular motion and let it sit for a few minutes before you finish. 
  4. Use a clean cloth to buff the area to remove the excess polish. 

Work the entire cabinet, 5 inches at a time, and follow the steps to get a gleamy and shiny cabinet! 

Our kitchen cabinets do need some cleaning and attention once in a while and I think they deserve it. It is always advised to work on a regular cleanup routine so that nothing is neglected. So, are you up for a mild cleansing or some deep cleaning for those cabinets? 

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