How to Polish Kitchen Cabinets For a Renewed Lustrous Shine

Person wearing pink glove cleaning kitchen cabinet with cloth.

So many of your family’s special moments take place in the kitchen. It’s where your family and friends gather together to share meals, enjoy each other’s company, and make memories. That’s why the kitchen is often one of the most used and abused rooms in the home. You spend so much time there that the wear and tear becomes noticeable after a while ? but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring back its beauty!

Take a moment and look around your kitchen. How do the cabinets look? They make up so much of the space but often become overlooked over time, making your kitchen appear drab and uninviting. Luckily, there’s an easy fix that doesn’t require you to completely renovate your kitchen with new cabinets. Instead, it may be time to consider polishing them to restore shine to your kitchen cabinets. Follow along as Kitchen Cabinet Kings shares all of the best tips and tricks for polishing wood cabinets. We’ll cover the best methods for polishing wood cabinets and adding a touch of freshness to your favorite space in your home.

1. Clean Your Cabinets

Person wearing pink glove cleaning kitchen cabinet with cloth.

Before we begin polishing, we always recommend starting with a blank, clean slate, which means you have a bit of prep work to do. The first step: clean them thoroughly. Dust, dirt, and grime can all accumulate on cabinets over time, especially if you’re constantly cooking, making it difficult for them to shine.

To clean wooden cabinets before polishing, use a mixture of warm water, vinegar, and baking soda solution. Carefully dip a microfiber cloth into the solution and gently scrub the fronts and backs of the cabinets. Don’t forget other elements of the cabinet, including the hinges, knobs, and handles. Once you’ve finished wiping down all the cabinets with the cleaning solution, wipe them dry the cabinets with another microfiber cloth.

2. Choose the Right Polish

Wood kitchen cabinets paired on hardwood floor.

After cleaning your kitchen cabinets, it’s time to polish them to give them that renewed lustrous shine that you’ve been missing. When searching for a wood polish for cabinets, we recommend choosing a polish that is marked as safe to use in food preparation areas ? the last thing you want is a toxic chemical where your family dinners are being prepared!

Not sure how to clean wooden cabinets naturally? Your local hardware store will be able to help you determine which type of polish makes the most sense for your home. One popular natural option for cabinet polish is beeswax, and another (which may come as a shock!) is a combination of olive oil and white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. This solution will nourish the wood and help remove scratches, making the cabinets appear brand new.

3. Apply the Cabinet Polish

Woman polishing kitchen cabinets with a microfiber cloth.

Before applying the polish, you should do a patch test on the side of the cabinet somewhere to make sure it gives the look and feel you’re looking for. Now that you’ve determined the polish you want to use, apply it to a microfiber cloth and begin rubbing it onto the cabinets using a circular motion to ensure even coverage. You won’t need much on the cloth! A little goes a long way. Take your time during this process to evenly spread the polish over all parts of the cabinet so there aren’t any spots remaining with a lackluster shine.

4. Avoid Using Abrasive Cleaners

Person wiping down kitchen cabinets with an abrasive sponge.

After polishing your cabinets, it’s important you take the necessary steps to keep them looking their best. We recommend giving them a wipe-down every once in a while, especially on the cabinets closest to the stove. Avoid using toxic or harsh chemicals on your newly polished wood.

These abrasive cleaners may seem quick and easy to remove dirt, grime, and stains, but they can irreparably damage the surface of your cabinets such as scratches or discoloration. Instead, choose a non-abrasive cleaner to preserve the natural wood grain and shine of your cabinetry.

5. Polish Regularly

Person wearing a green glove polishing a kitchen cabinet.

Now that you are an expert at polishing your kitchen cabinets, it’s important that you add this task to your to-do list every so often! With regular polishing, you can increase the longevity of the cabinets while keeping them looking sparkling new ? helping you postpone the cost of replacing them sooner rather than later. We suggest polishing your cabinets every 2-3 months to maintain their shine and protect them from aging signs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should my kitchen cabinets be polished?

When was the last time you polished your kitchen cabinets? This may come as a shock, but you should be polishing your kitchen cabinets every few months! If you are constantly cooking in the kitchen and know it faces a lot of wear and tear, you should be polishing every two months. If there is limited exposure to cooking residues, you can likely wait a bit longer. By polishing your cabinets regularly, you’ll add an extra layer of protection to your kitchen cabinets.

Do I need to remove my items from the cabinets before polishing them?

While you may technically be able to polish your cabinets around the items, we do not recommend it. Before polishing your cabinets, take a few extra minutes to remove all your kitchen items from the cabinets. This will allow you to polish your cabinets more effectively, efficiently, and thoroughly.

Do I need to sand my cabinets before polishing?

We know how daunting a do-it-yourself project can be. Luckily, polishing your kitchen cabinets isn’t too difficult to accomplish in a single day because it does not require you to sand or refinish your cabinets first! For traditional cabinet polishing, you can apply it directly to your freshly cleaned cabinets.

Do I need a specific polish for wood kitchen cabinets?

Yes, it is important that you understand what material your kitchen cabinets are made out of. What you need to polish wood cabinets will differ from the polish used on laminate cabinets. Knowing what your cabinets are made of will allow you to use the right type of polish and prevent unwanted damage.

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