The Best Way to Clean and Remove Grease from Kitchen Cabinets

Updated on September 28, 2023 by Joseph D. Nielson

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Your kitchen is the heart of the home, a place where culinary magic happens and cherished memories are created. Among the hustle and bustle of meal preparations and gastronomic adventures, your kitchen cabinets stand as steadfast sentinels, holding your culinary tools and memories and moments shared over countless meals. However, over time, these faithful cabinets can become marred by an all-too-familiar foe – grease.

The accumulation of grease on kitchen cabinets is a natural consequence of cooking, but it can transform your once-gleaming kitchen into a lackluster space. Along with looking physically unappealing, kitchen cabinets with grease buildup also pose fire hazards and can release unpleasant odors

The obvious solution to reducing the risks associated with grease buildup on kitchen cabinets is to clean them. But, cleaning and removing grease from kitchen cabinets might seem challenging. Use this guide to explore the best ways to tackle this challenge and restore your cabinets.

Understanding the Culprit: Grease

Before diving into the cleaning methods, let’s take a moment to understand our foe: grease. Grease is a common byproduct of cooking, formed when oils and fats are heated. It can splatter onto surfaces, settle on cabinets, and create a stubborn layer that attracts dirt and dust. This buildup affects the appearance of your cabinets and can become a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s essential to address this issue promptly to maintain a hygienic kitchen environment.

Collect Your Tools and Supplies

Gathering and organizing your tools and supplies is essential for effectively tackling grease buildup on your kitchen cabinets. Here are some of the items you will need.

Microfiber Cloths

These seemingly ordinary cloths make a big difference when it comes to cleaning. Microfiber cloths consist of tiny fibers skilled at capturing dirt, dust, and grease. They are gentle on surfaces and won’t leave behind lint or scratches. Opt for high-quality microfiber cloths that you can wash and reuse, reducing waste and saving money in the long run.

Dish Soap

Dish soap is a superhero when it comes to cutting through grease. Look for a mild dish soap that has grease-fighting properties. While many dish soaps come in appealing scents, prioritize effectiveness over fragrance. A small amount goes a long way in creating your cleaning solution. 

White Vinegar

This kitchen staple is more than just a condiment. The natural acidity of white vinegar assists in breaking down grease and dissolving mineral buildup, making it an excellent option for cleaning cabinets. It’s also safe and good for the environment. If you’re bothered by the smell of vinegar, no need to be concerned— the scent disappears as it dries.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a multi-purpose marvel. Its gentle abrasiveness works wonders on stubborn grease stains without damaging surfaces. Beyond cleaning, baking soda also helps eliminate odors, making it a valuable tool for keeping your cabinets fresh. Warm Water: Warm water is an unsung hero in the cleaning world. It aids in loosening grease and grime, making them easier to remove. Warm water enhances their effectiveness when combined with other cleaning agents like dish soap or vinegar. 

Vegetable Oil

This might seem counterintuitive, but a small amount of vegetable oil can help remove sticky grease. The principle is that “like dissolves like.” The oil can help break down the greasy residue, making it easier to wipe away. Remember to follow up with a thorough cleaning to ensure no oil residue remains.


A bucket is a practical tool for creating your cleaning solution. It allows you to mix the right amount of warm water, dish soap, and other cleaning agents you choose to use. Having your solution in a bucket makes it easy to dip your cloth into and ensures you have enough to cover all your cabinet surfaces.

Toothbrush or Soft Bristle Brush

Grease can hide in nooks and crannies that are hard to reach with a cloth. A toothbrush or a soft bristle brush is handy for getting into those tight spaces. The gentle bristles won’t damage the cabinet finish but will help you scrub away stubborn buildup.

Key Steps in Cleaning & Removing Grease from Kitchen Cabinets

Cleaning and removing grease from kitchen cabinets requires a systematic approach to ensure thorough and effective results.

Step 1: Preliminary Dusting 

Before you start applying any cleaning solutions, it’s essential to dust the space properly to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the cabinet surfaces. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down all visible areas of the cabinets gently. This initial dusting prevents the dirt from mixing with the cleaning solution, creating a messy, grimy paste. 

Step 2: Create Your Cleaning Solution 

Creating the right cleaning solution is crucial for cutting through grease effectively. In a bucket, mix warm water with a few drops of mild dish soap. The warm water helps break down grease, and the dish soap’s grease-cutting properties will aid in lifting it off the cabinet surfaces. Avoid overly harsh or abrasive chemicals, which could damage the cabinet finish. 

Step 3: Wipe Down the Cabinets 

Dip a microfiber cloth into the soapy water solution, ensuring it’s damp but not soaking wet. Wring out any excess water to prevent water from seeping into the cabinet joints or seams. Gently wipe down all the cabinet surfaces, starting from the top and working your way down. Pay special attention to areas with visible grease buildup, such as near the stove or handles. If you encounter stubborn grease spots, allow the damp cloth to sit on the area for a few minutes. The moisture will help soften the grease, making it easier to wipe away. 

Step 4: Tackle Stubborn Grease 

For particularly stubborn grease buildup that isn’t entirely removed by the soapy water solution, it’s time to bring out the white vinegar. Dampen a clean microfiber cloth with undiluted white vinegar and gently rub the greasy areas. The natural acidity of the vinegar will help break down the grease and cut through the residue. However, exercise caution: test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure the vinegar doesn’t affect the cabinet finish. 

Step 5: The Baking Soda Paste 

If lingering grease remnants remain on the cabinets, it’s time to create a baking soda paste. Combine a tablespoon of baking soda with a bit of water to create a slightly gritty paste. Put this paste on the tough grease stains and softly scrub with a brush with soft bristles or an old toothbrush. The baking soda’s slight abrasiveness will help lift the remaining grease without scratching the cabinet surface. Remember to work gently to avoid damaging the finish.

Step 6: Rinse and Dry 

Once you’re satisfied with the grease removal process, it’s time to rinse off any cleaning residue. Dampen a clean microfiber cloth with water and wipe down the cabinets to remove any traces of the cleaning solutions. Then, using a dry microfiber cloth, thoroughly dry the cabinet surfaces. Ensuring they’re completely dry prevents moisture from attracting more dirt, dust, or grease. 

Step 7: Preventive Measures 

With your kitchen cabinets now beautifully clean and grease-free, it’s essential to take preventive measures to minimize future buildup: 

  • Use Range Hoods: When cooking, turn on your range hood to capture airborne grease particles before settling on surfaces. 
  • Regular Cleaning Routine: Incorporate cabinet cleaning into your normal kitchen cleaning routine. For example, it could be one of the steps when you clean kitchen tile grout or the stove. Frequent, lighter cleaning sessions will prevent grease from accumulating to stubborn levels. 
  • Cover Pots and Pans: Use lids to cover pots and pans while cooking. This simple step helps prevent grease splatters from spreading around the kitchen. 
  • Line Cabinet Shelves: Consider lining your cabinet shelves with removable shelf liners. These liners catch minor spills and crumbs, making them easier to clean and preventing stains.

Maintaining the Beauty: Ongoing Care for Grease-Free Cabinets 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully cleaned and removed grease from your kitchen cabinets, revealing their beauty. But the journey doesn’t end here. To ensure your cabinets stay grease-free and look their best, it’s essential to implement ongoing maintenance strategies. Here’s how you can maintain the pristine appearance of your cabinets.

Regular Wiping Routine 

Incorporate a regular wiping routine into your kitchen cleaning regimen. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down cabinet surfaces every few days. This practice prevents minor grease and dust buildup from becoming major cleaning projects. Regular maintenance also makes cleaning much easier in the long run, as there will be less grime to contend with. 

Monthly Deep Clean 

While your regular wiping routine effectively keeps cabinets clean, performing a monthly deep clean is wise. Follow the steps you used to remove grease initially but focus on maintaining the already clean surfaces this time. The monthly deep clean helps prevent grease from accumulating over time and keeps your cabinets looking consistently fresh. 

Natural Odor Absorbers 

Lingering odors can sometimes accompany grease buildup. Combat these odors with natural odor absorbers that you can make at home. Place an open box of baking soda or a small dish of activated charcoal inside your cabinets. These natural substances will help absorb and neutralize unpleasant odors that might linger despite your cleaning efforts. 

Handle and Knob Cleaning 

Handles and knobs are high-touch areas that can accumulate grease and dirt quickly. To keep these parts looking as clean as the rest of your cabinets, wipe them down regularly with a damp microfiber cloth. If your handles or knobs are removable, take them off occasionally for a more thorough cleaning. 

Avoiding Harsh Cleaners 

While it’s tempting to reach for heavy-duty cleaners, especially for stubborn grease spots, avoiding overly harsh chemicals is crucial. Harsh cleaners can strip the finish from your cabinets, leaving them vulnerable to damage. Stick to the gentle cleaning solutions outlined earlier and opt for natural alternatives whenever possible. 

Seasonal Maintenance 

Different seasons can bring varying challenges to your kitchen. For example, cooking oils might become more liquid during summer due to higher temperatures, leading to increased splatters. During colder months, indoor heating can cause oils to solidify, creating different stains. Tailor your maintenance routine to your kitchen’s seasonal challenges to ensure year-round cleanliness. 

Addressing Spills Promptly 

Accidents happen, and spills are a common occurrence in the kitchen. When spills occur, especially those involving oil or grease, clean them up promptly, as this will help you achieve spotless kitchen surfaces in the future. Leaving spills to linger can lead to grease buildup and staining, requiring more intensive cleaning in the future. A quick wipe with a damp cloth can save you time and effort down the road. 

Regular Inspection 

Take a few moments now and then to inspect your cabinets closely. Look for any signs of grease buildup, discoloration, or damage. Catching these issues early allows you to address them before they become significant problems. It’s also a great opportunity to appreciate the beauty of your clean cabinets! 

The Final Shine 

Getting rid of grease and cleaning your kitchen cabinets might require physical effort, but the outcomes are valuable. Your kitchen will appear more vibrant, cleaner, and more welcoming. By adopting these ongoing care strategies, you’ll ensure that your hard work in removing grease from your kitchen cabinets continues to pay off. 

Your kitchen cabinets will continue to be a bright and attractive focal point in your kitchen, making it a warm and delightful place for you and your family to cook. Keep in mind that taking care of them a bit will help keep your kitchen cabinets beautiful for many years ahead. By keeping up with maintenance and using these successful cleaning methods, your cabinets will stay something you’re proud of for a long time.

Joseph and Family
About Joseph D. Nielson

Former journalist and editor for various press groups, I now dedicate my time to reviewing products for the home and family life. When I get time to myself, I enjoy rock climbing, taking my dirt bike for a rip, and most importantly providing my family with the best home possible!