We all spend the majority of our kitchen cleaning and maintaining time focusing on the big three; the sink, counters, and the floor. But your poor cabinets need attention too especially if they are made out of wood. The food splatter, moisture, and tiny cooking grease droplets tend to settle in there.
Most cabinets last only around 20-30 years if not taken care of properly but if maintained they can go upwards of 50 years! Yes, 50 years!.
Below we are exploring some ways on how we shall proceed to earn the bragging rights for maintaining original kitchen cabinets made of solid wood for 50 years or more. Although cabinets require the least maintenance, there are still some do’s and don’ts involved.
1. Basic Cleaning Of The Wood
The beauty of the wood lies in the inherent variation it brings to your kitchen. Every wood has a different character because of tree growth patterns and forest conditions as well as color and grain. Proper kitchen hygiene involves being attentive to cleaning, polishing, and being careful about the household cleaners used. We recommend using soap with water to clean stains off of solid wood cabinets. Using a soft cloth wipe out the cabinet in the direction of the grain. If the stains are stubborn and won’t come off, use baking soda and water solution. Scrub the life out of those dirty greasy stains. Products like petroleum jelly, bleaches, thinners, steel wool, ammonia, and plastic anything to scrub can and will scratch your cabinets. Ultimately killing their sheen.
2. Avoid Temperatures & Humidity
Caring properly for your solid wood cabinets include providing a wood friendly environment for your cabinets. Many of the things that affect human comfort also contribute to solid wood cabinets. Controlled temperature with little to no change in temperature and humidity on a day to day basis will ensure your wood stays like it was installed yesterday. While extreme dry conditions can lead to cracking in the wood. On the other hand, wood expands with humidity increases and shrinks vice versa. The optimal humidity level is 30-50% relative humidity. Avoid more than 80% and less than 20% at all costs. The expansion and shrinkage happen nevertheless but can be controlled and it’s nothing a coat of dark-colored paint can’t fix if it happens.
3. Light Damage
Direct exposure to sunlight has damaging effects on your solid wood cabinets. If the wood is laminated, thermofoil, or painted, it might reduce the damage but prolonged exposure will cause damage even then. Use window coverings to reduce direct sunlight exposure. Another modern solution includes darkening your windows with window films. Not only will it add that extra touch to your kitchen but will also protect your cabinets. Just like our sunblock creams, varnishes with first-class protection from sunlight keep the solid wood safe from UV rays, heat, water, and other wear and tear. Regular paint and varnish coatings help tremendously with wood protection as well.
Although the easiest to maintain kitchen cabinets are made out of solid wood. They still need some maintenance to keep up their luxurious looks according to their finishes. Take oil-finished cabinets e.g they can be easily refinished with hardware store oils at home, for an expensive option antique stores have good oils. Lemon oil is known to cure wood but isn’t advised to be mixed with lacquer or conversion finishes until they are at least six months old. There are other oils that can be used, only be careful with their precautions. Other common finishes include laminate or HPL. The only problem with them is the red stains and glue, which can be easily removed with nail polish remover, acetone, or lacquer thinner.
5. Water Is Your Enemy
Water is the biggest enemy when it comes to wooden cabinets. It can not only give way to mold but also cause other cracking problems if it seeps in. It would require taking them down and drying them to get the water out. Never and I repeat never soak your cabinets in soap or baking soda water in the hopes of cleaning them. Always use a soft cloth dipped in these solutions to clean. Pay extra attention to the corners where dust and grim are accumulated. Soak your cloth as much and as many times you want but never enough to let water drip from it.
6. Preventing Unnecessary Mistreatment
Cleaning, finishing, and polishing are some of the basic and necessary steps to keep your cabinets alive. If you want them to truly last long. Let no one I mean no one, not even children put them through unnecessary abuse. Hanging from the cabinet, let’s be honest we have all done it. Putting more weight in the cabinets than they can handle. All of this collectively adds to the wear and tear. If you are looking for a more kid-friendly option. Try going for oak cabinets.
If you don’t own wooden cabinets yet. We hope this piece of writing has given you some ease to go ahead and get those solid wood cabinets, you have always wanted. The round-up of these 6 basic maintenance tips will help you, love, nurture, and maintain your wood cabinets with all their sheen for years to come. Good luck !!