The kitchen cabinets in your Long Island home are functional components that provide space for the more than 800 items stored in the average American kitchen. They’re the primary design features in the room as well, defining the room’s style and reflecting your good taste. With routine cleaning, your kitchen cabinets will work well and look great for many years to come. Use these five tips to keep them looking like new.

1. Understanding Kitchen Cleaners

Although supermarket store shelves are stocked with a dizzying array of kitchen cleaning products, virtually all of them contain three main elements:

  • Surfactants. Surfactants have both a water-repelling and a water-holding component. They alter the surface tension of the liquid so that the cleaning ingredients can remove soil without re-depositing it on the item being cleaned.
  • Solvents. Solvents are the cleaning agents responsible for removing dirt, oil and/or grease from the soiled item.
  • Buffering Agents. Buffering agents raise or lower the acidity of the cleaning products so that the solvent can attach to and remove different types of soils.

2. Anti-Bacterial Vs. Green Cleaning Products

Kitchen cleaners advertised as anti-bacterial may sound like a sensible solution in a room where germs can pose real health concerns, but the substances inside them that kill bacteria can be toxic to humans too. Anti-bacterial cleaners either contain bleach, which can discolor wood cabinets, or use surfactants derived from petroleum products. The latter needs to be left on the surface for up to two minutes to be effective.

Green cleaners use organic compounds instead of petroleum-based compounds as surfactants. Consumer tests show that they are just as effective, and in some case more efficient, at cleaning dirt from cabinets as their petroleum counterparts. Whatever cleaner you choose, it makes sense to test the product on an out-of-sight spot before applying it to the cabinets in your stylish Long Island kitchen.

3. Protect Your Wood Cabinets

Wood cabinets need special care to keep them looking fresh and fabulous. Cleaners with a high acidic content or bleach can strip the wood of its natural oils. Products designed specifically for use on wood, such as Murphy Oil Soap, are your best option. Apply a small amount of the cleaner to a damp cloth, and then gently wipe the surface clean, following the grain of the wood. Remove the soap with a clean, dry cloth. Avoid using cleaners with a strong fragrance, as wood is porous and will absorb the scent.

When it comes to removing stubborn grease build-up on wood cabinets, heat is your ally. After donning a pair of protective rubber gloves, heat a damp sponge in your microwave for around 20 seconds. Use the heated sponge to wipe away the oil soap. Dry the damp surface with a clean cloth.

4. How to Clean Painted Cabinets and Synthetic Surfaces

A diluted solution of grease-cutting dishwashing liquid and hot water works well on painted wood cabinets, provided that you rinse the soap off with a damp sponge and dry it with a clean, absorbent cloth. The same strategy works for synthetic surfaces like melamine and thermafoil too. Avoid using cleaners with alcohol, acetone or turpentine on synthetic cabinets as they can break down the bonds that hold the surface to the substrate material.

5. Pour an Ounce of Prevention

Cleaning up spills and splashes as soon as they occur is by far the most effective way to keep kitchen cabinets looking like new. A weekly wipe down with a sponge and soapy water followed by a pat down with a dry cloth prevents grease and grime from building up on the surface. Pay extra attention to cabinets around the stove and oven to keep grease at bay.

If a thorough cleaning isn’t enough to restore your cabinets to their original luster, the experts at NDA can help. Whether by refacing the cabinets for you, by installing exciting new designer cabinets by Studio d’Italia or by making over the space in an entirely new configuration, we’ll ensure that your kitchen cabinets deliver the functionality and style that you want for your Long Island home.